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Staging a plea: Cardboard Theatre holds telethon to ‘help the theater survive’

Cardboard Playhouse Theatre and The Box will host a telethon this weekend.

Last December, I had the good fortune to see “Matilda” at Musical Theatre Southwest. The show was co-directed by Kristin Berg and Doug Montoya, artistic directors at Cardboard Playhouse Theatre Company.

Cardboard Playhouse Theatre Company is a nonprofit children’s theatre, one of only a few in Albuquerque, and it prides itself on its mission to help children grow through creative engagement with theater. Cardboard has done over 50 shows since forming in 2004.

Besides the children’s shows, Cardboard produces improvisational comedy at The Box in Downtown Albuquerque. Although The Box Performance Space was originally opened in 2007 by the company to produce children’s plays, due to the company’s success, Cardboard Playhouse moved to larger venues in 2010, while The Box was used for improvisational performance and classes.

The Box has since grown into an Albuquerque institution in its own right, much loved by Albuquerque theater lovers for its improv classes, late-night entertainment, and weekly live improv performances.

Its biggest hit is “The Show,” which until the pandemic could be seen every Friday and Saturday night since its inception on Aug. 26, 2011. It’s the longest-running improv show in Albuquerque.

Montoya recently said that after the theaters closed it was decided to try a livestreamed version of “The Show.”

“The cast has been doing a free online show from their homes for the last month, but not being able to sell tickets and fill seats has drained the theater’s savings,” Montoya said.

That being the case, Montoya and Berg came up with an ingenious idea to raise money, sustain the company, and entertain Albuquerque at the same time, a Labor Day telethon – which Montoya cleverly suggested was an instance of “thinking inside The Box.”

“On Sunday. Sept. 6, we are asking everyone in Albuquerque to ‘Think Inside The Box’ as Cardboard Playhouse and The Box host a Labor Day telethon to raise money for the theater,” Montoya said. “The telethon will feature eight hours of music, stand-up, and improv performances. Organizers are hopeful that our community, including supporters of improv and children’s theatre, will pitch in to help the theater survive.”

The telethon is scheduled for 1 to 9 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 6. To watch and donate, go to cardboardplayhouse.org or theboxabq.com.

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