A theater benefit for the AIDS Services Foundation--featuring "Falcon Crest" television star Susan Sullivan as "guest celebrity"--will be held Thursday evening at the Forum Theatre of the Festival of Arts complex in Laguna Beach.
Thursday's 8 p.m. performance of Christopher Durang's comedy, "Beyond Therapy," now playing at the 225-seat Forum, has been reserved for the fund-raiser by two Orange County residents, Jim McBroom and John Weston.
"It's now well-established that AIDS is both a medical and a societal crisis," said Weston, a novelist and Cal State Los Angeles professor. "The foundation has been formed to serve families and friends, as well as those with AIDS. It seeks to confront the full range of a devastating situation."
(AIDS, or acquired immune deficiency syndrome, destroys the immune system and leaves the body defenseless. It is usually fatal.)
Thursday's event evolved from Weston's membership in the "Beyond Therapy" cast. He plays a psychiatrist in the Stop-Gap production of the comedy about sexual identities and the psychotherapy field.
(Weston has also starred in plays in Orange County with the Newport Harbor Actors Theatre and Laguna Moulton Playhouse and in Tucson with the Arizona Civic Theatre. Among his several published novels is "Hail, Hero," which was made into a 1969 movie with Michael Douglas and Arthur Kennedy.)
"John and I were looking for a personal way to raise funds for the foundation," said McBroom, a real estate broker. "Buying out the house for an evening and reselling it as a benefit seemed a good idea. It's a way of getting others involved as well; volunteers are absolutely crucial to the operations of this foundation."
Formed last summer, the AIDS Services Foundation is an Orange County organization directed by Steve Peskind and Randy Pesqueira. It offers support programs for those with AIDS or AIDS-related conditions and for relatives and friends. The programs include extensive use of volunteer aides, along with professional counseling, community workshops and other services.
Last September, the first benefit for the foundation--a reception hosted by businessmen in Laguna Beach--raised $35,000, according to Peskind. The foundation is presently looking for a headquarters facility. (For information on the foundation, call (714) 751-AIDS).
Actress Sullivan is a member of the board of trustees for the National Foundation of Hospice and Homecare. She stars as "Maggie" in CBS-TV's "Falcon Crest" series. She has won acclaim for her stage performances, including "Fifth of July" at the Mark Taper Forum and "Last Summer at Bluefish Cove" at the San Francisco Theatre-on-the-Square.
At the Thursday benefit, Sullivan will be present at a cast party after the performance at the Ivy House in Laguna Beach for holders of $150 tickets.
Other tickets for the benefit are priced at $75, $35 and $17.50. A reception for all ticket holders before the show will be held at 6 p.m. at the Little Shrimp in Laguna Beach. Tickets will go on sale Thursday at the Forum box office beginning at 7 p.m. For additional benefit information, call (714) 854-9097.
("Beyond Therapy" is being given its Orange County premiere by Stop-Gap, a nonprofit theater company. Directed by Don Laffoon, the production is also being presented at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Forum Theatre, 650 Laguna Canyon Road.)