Chanhassen Dinner Theatres Hosts Benefit Evening for Carl Lee Family

The family of a Minnesota theatre luminary receives a helping hand from the Chanhassen community.
Carl Lee, of the Hennepin Theatre Trust, is the subject of a benefit on July 29.

The bonds between performers are strong, but the bonds between theatre communities offstage can be even stronger. That tight-knit group is coming together to help Carl Lee, the director of marketing & theatrical programming at the Hennepin Theatre Trust, who has been seriously ill for weeks. The Chanhassen Dinner Theatres will host a special benefit program, “Voices for Hope: A Musical Benefit for the Carl Lee Family,” on Monday, July 29, on the Fireside Stage. The evening features more than 20 performers from around the Minnesota theatre community, and all proceeds from the event go directly to Lee’s family. “I think what’s really cool about it is that there aren’t that many opportunities when the theatre community can get together behind something,” says Tamara Kangas Erickson, vice president and resident choreographer of the Chanhassen Dinner Theatres. “I think it’s going to be a really special event for people who are attending, whether they know the family or not.” Lee’s doctors predict an extended hospitalization. His wife, Linda Talcott-Lee, is a Broadway dancer who was appeared on the Chanhassen stage numerous times. “She’s really a part of our theatre family, and we thought that maybe we could do a little bit more for them,” Kangas Erickson says. “Hospitalization can be extremely expensive, especially when they go on for some time,” says Kangas Erickson. “We just thought we would do whatever we could to help those guys.” Tony Vierling, a local musical theatre performer who currently appears in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at Chanhassen Dinner Theatres, has compiled the program in just a few weeks. “Sometimes you can plan a show forever,”Kangas Erickson says, but the cast took a faster approach: “Let’s try and get this thing up and running as soon as possible.” Vierling’s two-act program includes more than 20 performers and emcees Tod Petersen and Erin Schwab. “It’s going to a cabaret-style revue show with just incredible performers,” Kangas Erickson says.   In addition to the musical revue on the Fireside Stage, attendees are encouraged to bid on items in the silent auction, which Kangas Erickson says has been collecting donations non-stop. She says the theater is trying to find a way to stream a webcast of the show for donors around the country to watch the action unfold. VOICES FOR HOPE: A Musical Benefit for the Carl Lee Family Monday, July 29 6 p.m. silent auction and gathering; 7:30 p.m. concert Chanhassen Dinner Theatres, Fireside Stage Minimum suggested ticket donation is $25 per person. The box office is taking reservations now. To purchase tickets or to make a donation, contact Chanhassen Dinner Theatres’ box office at 952-934-1525.