C heryl Putorti can vouch for the Whitehall Drama Club’s flair for the dramatic.
About this time every year, Putorti begins to question whether she’ll have enough baskets for the club’s annual basket party and every year the baskets arrive, even if it’s only a few days before the event.
Last week at this time, Putorti had a little more than a dozen baskets by Sunday, she expects she’ll have anywhere from 120 to 130 baskets.
“I try not to get nervous because the kids always come through in the end,” Putorti said.
The tenth annual Drama Club basket party will be held on Sunday, March 3, inside the Whitehall High School gymnasium. Patrons will have an opportunity to view the multitude of baskets when the doors open at noon and will have a chance to win one when the drawings begin at 2 p.m.
Admission remains unchanged since last year and costs $5, including the first sheet of tickets. Additional sheets of tickets will be available for $2.
“The event helps offset the various costs of putting the production together,” Putorti said.
After you take into consideration the cost of purchasing the rights to the show, renting costumes, building a set, and paying for the musical score, the production can cost upwards of a few thousand dollars.
With the exception of a helping hand here and there, the fundraiser is completely run by members of the drama club.
“All of the kids participate. Their families provide the baskets and they do a lot of the work,” Putorti said. “They help set everything up and then clean it up at the end.”
Sometimes they even dream up the basket themes and the variety is what you would expect from a group of young, inspiring thespians.
There are baskets full of candy, fishing gear, dog treats, and even hand-crocheted Afghans made by the co-director Chris Palmer’s mother.
“There’s a little of everything,” Putorti explained. “The lottery tickets are always a big seller.”
Besides the baskets, there are door prizes, a 50/50 raffle, which has netted winners up to a couple hundred dollars, and refreshments will be served.
Putorti said the basket party typically attracts as many as 350 people each year.
This year’s production, which will be Palmer’s twelfth, is “Thoroughly Modern Millie” and will be staged on March 22 and 23 in the Whitehall High School auditorium.
The musical, which is based on a 1967 film of the same name, tells the story of Millie Dillmount, a small town girl who goes to New York City during the Roaring Twenties looking to marry a man, not for love, but for money.
The production appeared on Broadway in 2002 and subsequently won six Tony Awards, including Best Musical.
There are about 35 students involved in this year’s production and Putorti said it is sure to be an entertaining evening.
Tickets for the show will be available for purchase at Sunday’s basket party.
Anyone who would like to donate a basket for Sunday’s event is encouraged to contact Putorti at 499-0788.