Boo Your Yard Raises Scary Funds For Young Theatregoers

November 9, 2021

It’s been a couple weeks since Broadway Utica’s Boo Crew enveloped homes in sticky spider webs, ghosts and goblins, and tricks-or-treats. Most of the frightful fun has been cleared away now, the cobwebs replaced by corn stalks wrapped in bright orange bows, and piles of leaves have overtaken the temporary improvised graveyards. Yet, the energy and excitement that surrounded this spooky fundraiser still hangs in the air.

Designed to awaken Broadway Utica’s Students on Broadway Program, which introduces area youth to the theatre world, “Boo Your Yard” took on a life of its own by creating turmoil, wreaking havoc, and staging controlled chaos, all in good fun as neighbors gathered for a close-up view of the decorations and theatrics. From Frankstein-authored scavenger hunts to drawstring witchcrafts, the Boo Crew served up a concoction brimming with creativity and holiday flair that celebrated Halloween in a unique and festive way. More importantly, “Boo Your Yard” showed the passion Broadway Utica has for bringing young people into the theatre-something that will linger long past Halloween.

“We heard the greatest stories from grandparents who waited to see their grandchildren’s faces when they saw their lawns decorated. Parents sent us photos of their kids running around in hopes of finding a golden ticket. That’s what it’s really about. It’s the smiles, the stories, and the memories that were created while giving back to a needed program, and Boo’ing yards helped us get there.” Executive Director for Broadway Utica, Daniele Padula, stated. “Some of the generous patrons that supported our event had children who went through our programs. They talked about the times they brought friends and family to the theatre and the wonderful experiences they had. We are excited to bring that same experience to the next generation of youth as we welcome them back into the theatre again at no charge– something we haven’t been able to do in years.”

Some of the most delightful experiences came from patrons who were Boo’d by surprise. Michelle McSweeney, a rather well-known barista at Utica Coffee, arrived home after a full day of work, errands, school pickup, and everyday movements that come with a family of six, and found her lawn covered in webs, ghosts, and monsters looming around her door.

“We got Boo’d! We were completely surprised. We’d been so busy we hadn’t had time to decorate. All we had were four uncarved pumpkins that I’d picked up from the grocery store,” McSweeney said. “Broadway Utica hung balloons in the tree and ghosts in bushes. It was amazing and everything was interactive, so my kids were busy, running around exploring and putting crafts together well into the night.”

It didn’t take long for McSweeney to discover that her lawn had been Boo’d by Angela DeCarlis, owner of Be. Life, Art, Magic.

“Broadway Utica brings a fundamental element to our community, and to the arts, that would be truly missed if it were no longer active. I’m a proud supporter of what they do, and would be remiss if I didn’t partake in something creative that involved my favorite holiday,” DeCarlis explained. “I wanted to support this endeavor, but I wanted to do it in a way that continued to bring others joy. Michelle McSweeney is a person in our community that is always giving. I wanted to Boo Her Yard to surprise her and her family so she knows how much she is cared about as well.”

So successful, it was frightening.

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