by Lindsey Rushen, Director of Marketing at Casa Mañana
As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, Casa Mañana is governed by a board of directors. Requirements to serve are simple: one must be passionate in supporting Casa Mañana’s mission. Currently consisting of 34 members, these pillars of the Fort Worth community work tirelessly to raise awareness of the need for local, professional live theatre in Fort Worth. I sat down with vice-chair of development, Josh Roehm, to talk a little about being involved.
Originally from Erie, Pennsylvania, Josh graduated from Penn State with a Bachelor of Science degree in architectural engineering. He met and married his wife, Stephanie, in Akron, Ohio, and in 2013 moved his family to Fort Worth via Columbus, Ohio. Eager to find live theatre once they settled, Josh and his family discovered Casa Mañana and subscribed to the Children’s Theatre season with their two children, Scarlett (12) and Catcher (8). Soon after, he and his wife subscribed to the Broadway series. Lifelong fans and patrons of theatre, Josh jokes that “Stephanie and I learned very early that, despite our wishes and desires, we were not destined to be on the stage side of productions. Luckily that did not affect our passion for live theatre.” Once he experienced the quality of the productions and understood the outreach role Casa Mañana plays in the community, Josh says he knew it was an organization where he really wanted to be involved. He reached out to Wally Jones, president & executive producer, to inquire about serving on the board and joined in 2015.
A package deal when they get involved with a cause, in 2017 the Roehms volunteered to co-chair the 2018 Annual Gala. Casa Mañana’s largest single fundraising event of the year, the Annual Gala raises funds and awareness to support arts education and outreach, including programs in Title 1 schools, scholarships and reduced ticket prices for school matinee performances. The themed night consists of a catered dinner, live and silent auctions and an after party. Leading a committee of 22, the Roehms spent a year planning; soliciting table and ticket sales, collecting donated auction items and turning the clock back 50 years with decor. The Mamma Mia inspired gala encouraged 70s attire with dinner provided by Reata and entertainment by Poo Live Crew. Auction items included walk-on roles, trips to the Tony® Awards, dinner with the mayor and even a chance to sing with the band.
One would think that after planning the party of the year, the Roehms would take a moment to rest. Instead, they asked to co-chair the 2019 Annual Gala, diving right back into the frenzy. When asked what got them excited to co-chair again, Josh replied, “When Stephanie and I first decided to chair the 2018 Gala, we had two goals: 1. Make it a very fun experience, and 2. Raise a lot of money for Casa’s mission.” As school art programs continue to be squeezed and eliminated, Josh feels that Casa Mañana fills that gap and introduces musical theatre to those who do not have the opportunity otherwise. The Annual Gala ensures that our mission continues.
The Roehms only get involved in organizations and causes they are truly passionate about. While Casa Mañana is at the top of the list, their commitment to the Fort Worth community doesn’t stop here. They are also involved in A Wish with Wings, Tarrant County Homeless Coalition, American Heart Association Building with Heart, Trinity River Vision Oktoberfest Fort Worth and Foodie Philanthropy. Amongst all this, Josh and his family, which includes two dogs, Vivien and Oreo, are very into food and entertaining – whether cooking something interesting at home or searching out new flavors at restaurants. “We feel that food brings family and friends closer to one another.”
I asked Josh if he had anything he’d like to add to our interview. He said, “Yes, two things: I would encourage anyone who has never been to Casa Mañana or who has not been there in a long time to come out and see a Broadway Series show. You will be blown away by the production and talent. All shows are locally produced with top tier actors and all the show proceeds stay here within our Fort Worth community. Stephanie and I would also like to thank the hardworking Casa Mañana staff that ensure the guest experience is second to none and that our organization’s mission is achieved!” But it is we who are indebted to their tireless dedication to our mission.
The 2019 Annual Gala was held on Saturday, April 6. The theme was “Night of New York Lights” with food provided by Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse and entertainment by Inversion Band.
Interested in joining the board of directors? Contact Jessica Walsh, Director of Development, at 817.321.5042, for more information.