The CNY Arts Center in Fulton is marking 20 years since the terrorist attacks of 9/11 with a special play.
September Bears was written by Jeff Barker. The 90-minute production shares a true story and features an all-local cast.
“It’s really a lovely play about an individual, one individual, who made a difference in in among her children, her schoolchildren” says Nancy Fox, Director of September Bears and the Founder & Executive Director of CNY Arts Center. “The play really tells the story of this teacher who felt, who needed to comfort her children, who were traumatized by what happened. Their school was in the shadows of the towers, and it’s a school specifically for children with learning disabilities. So, there’s a lot of terror, a lot of confusion, and so she had some teddy bears that she used to comfort her children and it sort of grew from there as she helped to spread the teddy bears throughout the entire school system in New York City.”
That teacher – Sue Lucarelli – is played by actress Jessie Essig.
“She was already dealing with her own grief and struggle with 9/11, but she had to put that aside and take care of her kids” says Essig. “And isn’t that what we do? We take care of our kids. We do what we have to do. So, I relate to that being a teacher myself. I feel completely honored to be Sue Lucarelli, who has really made a difference in the world and comforting these children during this really scary time. It’s a beautiful story.”
Through Lucarelli’s efforts and her now national Hugs Across America program, more than 50,000 teddy bears were distributed to the children in crisis.
Attendees of September Bears are encouraged to bring new or gently loved teddy bears to the theater, to be donated to local first responders and agencies that help children in crisis.
September Bears will be staged at the CNY Arts Center at 121 Cayuga Street in Fulton.
Shows are scheduled for:
- Thursday, September 9 and Friday September 10 at 8 p.m.
- Saturday, September 11 at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.
- Sunday, September 12 at 3 p.m.
The September 9 performance is a “Pay What You Can” preview. Tickets for the other shows are $12 for adults and $10 for seniors and students 10 & up.