Comedy show now a benefit concert

The 30 Cent Players have decided to turn their second anniversary show into a benefit for Okoa Community Poverty Alleviation, an non-governmental organization that helps orphaned children and street youths in Tanzania.

The idea came about after a chance meeting with a former actress / writer for Three Schooner Productions, the company which produces The 30 Cent Players, said company founders Kevin Robert Armstrong and Mike Vardy.

“Last year we celebrated our anniversary by showcasing our own achievements in our first year as a troupe,” Vardy said. “So we were searching for some other way to make our second anniversary show an event worth coming out for.”

“Fortunately, I ran into Karen,” Armstrong added, referring to Karen Grundlingh, who worked with Armstrong and Vardy in their first two productions for Three Schooner. “I hadn’t seen her for a long while, and we were catching up. I spent last summer in East Africa, and told her about it. I knew she’d be interested, because she’s spent a lot of time in Africa herself.”

Armstrong discovered they had more in common than even he had suspected. Grundlingh and her mother had previously climbed Mount Kilimanjaro for charity. This Armstrong already knew, as Grundlingh had taken the time out for this adventure during preparations for the second of the Three Schooner productions in which she was involved. But Armstrong only recently learned that their experience in Africa had led to involvement with an orphanage in Arusha, Tanzania. As coincidence would have it, Armstrong’s sister lives in Arusha, and this is where he had spent most of his summer.

“It was actually Mike who put two and two together, and suggested making our anniversary show a benefit,” Armstrong said. “Of course, Karen and I were immediately excited by the idea.”

The 30 Cent Players Sketch Comedy Experience will be joined in their anniversary show by local improv troupe Throw Us A Line. As well, audience members will have a chance to catch The Paper Cranes, a Victorian band whose national exposure is growing.

Both acts have offered to donate their talent to this cause. All proceeds, after venue costs, will be donated directly to Okoa Community Poverty Alleviation, the organization which helps fund the orphanage in Arusha.

“It’s karma, really,” Armstrong said. “The 30 Cent Players have had an amazingly successful year. So this is our way to celebrate that fact, and to give something back as well.”

Indicative of that success, The 30 Cent Players will be the opening act for Bruce McCulloch from The Kids In The Hall at The San Francisco Sketchfest Jam. 27, just over a week after the players’ anniversary show.

The 30 Cent Player 2nd Anniversary Benefit Show happens next Friday, Jan. 19 at 8 p.m. at the Metro Studio. Information on ticket purchases can be found at and

The 30 Cent Players’ website also provides information about the cast members and has samples of films and audio bites from past shows.

– report submitted

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