After fondly remininscing about her own youthful summers taking part in Upper Darby Summer Stage, Fey says, "Theater programs like Facetime are not only so great for the kids that are participating in them, they're a gift to the community at large, because they're wholesome family entertainment at a reasonable price that everyone . . . can enjoy."
She jokes about her motivation: "I'm told that if I did this video that my nephew can have a lead part. He wants to play Mame in Auntie Mame. This video is not useable unless I'm guaranteed that he can play Mame. No, I was kidding."
There really is a nephew, sixth-grader Alex Fey, who played a role in the actress' making the promotion.
Phoenixville tax attorney Lisa Starczewski explains:
Facetime Community Theatre grew from a passion for acting that began as a child and led to her marriage - she and her husband met taking part in a high school production - and teaching stagecraft to children. She directed plays at Phoenixville High for eight years, and in 2008 began teaching at Facetime Performing Arts Studio, a separate business.
Alex - son of Tina's brother, Peter, and wife Dee - has been a Studio student for four years and was part of the ensemble for Oliver!
After seeing a tape of one of Alex's performances, and getting some nudging from her brother and sister-in-law, Tina decided to film the pitch.
No scripting was necessary, said Starczewski. "She's very creative, and she didn't need any direction."
The timing was serendipitous, with Facetime's annual fund-raising concert scheduled for Friday night at Franklin Commons in Phoenixville. (No, there won't be an appearance by the former Saturday Night Live writer/newsbabe, Sarah Palin impersonator, and Baby Mama and Date Night star.)
How much money is raised will determine how many of Facetime's dreams can be fulfilled.
Eventually, Starczewski hopes, Facetime will have its own permanent performing space, with shows year-round for grown-ups, as well as programs for kids.
Because schools keep cutting arts funding, programs like Facetime are becoming more important, Tina Fey says on the tape, half-kidding that gifts aren't limited to Pennsylvanians. "If you're coming from Delaware, they'll take your money, too. Jersey money, that's good, too," she says. ". . . We'll take it as far north as Connecticut."
For more, go to www.facetimecommunitytheatre.org.
Contact staff writer Peter Mucha at 215-854-4342 or firstname.lastname@example.org.