Upper Darby native and A-list celebrity – Tina Fey – hosted successful benefit for UDPAC and received award

Press Release • For Immediate Release • August 21, 2014
Contact: Lauren Stevenson Yacina • 610.506.1355 • lauren.stevenson@verizon.net

Tina Fey hosted an event to support Upper Darby Performing Arts Center, the venue where she first took to the stage years before “Saturday Night Live,” “Mean Girls,” and “30 Rock.” 

Tina Fey, center, joins Upper Darby Summer Stage participants singing "To Fill the World with Love."
Tina Fey, center, joins Upper Darby Summer Stage participants singing “To Fill the World with Love” at benefi for UDPAC August 16

August 21, 2014 – Drexel Hill, PA. Tina Fey – Upper Darby Summer Stage and Upper Darby High School alumna – returned to Upper Darby Performing Arts Center on August 16 to host a benefit for a new sound system for the venue. She received the “Fill the World with Love” award for her support of young people and the arts.

When Tina Fey was growing up in Upper Darby Township she participated in the Upper Darby Summer Stage program and attended Upper Darby High School where she appeared on stage at the Upper Darby Performing Arts Center, years before her success as an award-winning writer, producer and actress.

Upper Darby Summer Stage is one of the nation’s most successful youth theater programs and recently recognized by Backstage.com as one of the eight best-known summer theater programs for young performers in the nation. Ms. Fey paid tribute to Summer Stage in her NY Times best-selling book, “Bossypants” saying, “It’s a fantastic program that continues to this day and I can’t recommend it highly enough.”

Executive Director of the Upper Darby Performing Arts Center and Upper Darby Summer Stage Harry Dietzler reached out to Tina Fey and she developed the idea for the benefit to help raise an estimated $300,000 for the new sound system. Dietzler founded Upper Darby Summer Stage in 1976 and remembers Tina as, “…a nerdy kid – she will tell you that – really intelligent and smart.” Summer Stage “was a way for her to get with other creative people like herself,” Dietzler said.

Summer Stagers2The proceeds from the ticket sales for the August 16th event will be used for the new sound system. The event began at 6:30 pm with a meet-and-greet social with Ms. Fey, attended by 100 guests in the boardroom of Upper Darby High School. Pica’s pizza was served. The local favorite pizza recently made headlines when it was delivered to Tina while she was a guest on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.

Ms. Fey appeared on stage at 7:30 pm and welcomed over 1,200 guests to the Performing Arts Center. She was presented with the “Fill the World with Love Award” for her ongoing support of the arts and young people. Several dozen Upper Darby Summer Stage participants and alumni joined Tina on stage to sing “Fill the World with Love,” the Summer Stage theme song directed by Harry Dietzler. The song “Fill the World with Love” was written by Leslie Bricusse and was featured in the movie “Goodbye Mr. Chips.” The lyrics exemplify the theme of Upper Darby Summer Stage where each participant asks oneself, “Was I brave and strong and true? Did I fill the world with love my whole life through?”

Tina and Harry
Tina Fey receives the “Fill the World with Love Award” from Harry Dietzler

The audience enjoyed the 10th anniversary screening of “Mean Girls,” the movie written by Ms. Fey and loosely based on her experience while attending Upper Darby High School. The movie was projected onto three large screens strategically positioned for maximum viewing from all 1,200 seats in the venue.

During the screening Tina went back stage to talk with the Summer Stagers, reminiscing about her time in the program as a participant and on staff at the box office and as a children’s theater director. After the movie screening, Tina came on stage and talked with TV Guide Magazine Senior Writer Damian Holbrook, also an alumnus of Upper Darby Summer Stage who participated in the program with Tina. The character ‘Damian’ in “Mean Girls” is named after Holbrook. Audience members had the opportunity to ask questions during a Q&A session moderated by Damian.

“We are extremely grateful to Tina who took her time to come back for this exciting and monumental event for Upper Darby Performing Arts Center, the high school and Summer Stage,” said Harry Dietzler. “She was gracious, delightful and of course, funny. She went out of her way to spend time with the young Summer Stage participants back stage. We are extremely appreciative to those who purchased tickets and attended the event to support the benefit,” added Dietzler.

Summer StagersTina Fey grew up in Upper Darby Township and attended Upper Darby High School. She made her movie debut as a writer and co-star in 2004 in “Mean Girls.” She has won multiple awards including a Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild, and Emmy Award for Best Actress in a Comedy Series for her work in 30 Rock.

The Upper Darby Performing Arts Center is jointly sponsored by Upper Darby Township Mayor and Council and the Upper Darby School District Board of School Directors through the Department of Recreation and Leisure Services.

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3 Responses to “Upper Darby native and A-list celebrity – Tina Fey – hosted successful benefit for UDPAC and received award”

  1. Rudy Cavolina

    Although I’m a grad of UDSHS ’72, the theater bug didn’t get me until I went to West Chester State College and was a principle in four productions there. I can say however, that some of the productions pre-Upper Darby Performance Arts Center, were fine performances with some of my friends in principle roles. I live in Arizona now but will be in Upper Darby in 3 weeks and plan to stop by. Its great to see alumni, such as Tina Fey, giving their support to the center.

    Reply
  2. Stacey Hawley

    It was a great evening…Thank you Harry & Co for 40 years of creating happy memories and opportunities for our youth.

    Reply
  3. Maureen Ingelsby

    My daughter, Meghan and I had a wonderful night ! The pizza party and meet and greet was a blast. Poor Tina had a cold that night. It was so funny to see her come out on stage for the one on one with Damian with her microphone and her box of tissues! You would never know, though, that she was sick, as she fully participated in the venue all evening. We had great seats for the movie. It was such fun watching Tina, her friends and the Summer Stagers singing enthusiastically on stage, directed by Harry.She never missed a word, as she watched him the whole time. A good time was had by all!

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