Gracing the Roxy screen
The venerable Roxy Theatre hosted a March 3 afternoon charity premiere of “Getting Grace,” a comedy/drama about a teenage girl losing her battle with cancer.
This was part of a full-day event where the film was shown consecutively at three Lehigh Valley venues. Starting in the morning at Frank Banko Alehouse Cinemas at ArtsQuest, the day’s celebration finished up that evening at Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts’ theater.
Produced, co-written and directed by Bethlehem-born Daniel Roebuck, the indie movie was filmed entirely in the Lehigh Valley. Roebuck also stars as the socially awkward and depressed funeral director, Bill Jankowski, who learns how to finally live from spunky Grace, as she seeks to find out what happens after death. The film introduces Bethlehem native Madelyn Dundon as the title character.
At $22 per ticket, movie-goers enjoyed full red-carpet treatment. The stars and producers arrived by tour bus and gathered inside the theater lobby for autographs and photos. All proceeds from ticket sales benefited Pediatric Cancer Foundation of the Lehigh Valley, Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts, Pennsylvania Playhouse, Civic Theatre and MunOpCo Music Theatre.
Roebuck praised the nonprofits for providing the input and support that has made this project a success. He was also grateful for the assistance he received from Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce.
“They have embraced our foundation and have just done an amazing job of raising money for us and helping us in spreading awareness about pediatric cancer,” PCFLV Executive Director Michelle Zenie said after receiving a $7,500 donation from Roebuck at the event.
Singer-songwriter Heidi Ott, backed by guitarist Joel Zingone, performed onstage before the screening. The “Getting Grace” soundtrack features “Linger” and “Sunrise to Sunset,” both songs composed by Ott.
In tribute to Roebuck’s mentor Andy Griffith, Zingone strummed the prototype for the Martin flat top Andy Griffith Signature Model D-18. He was allowed to borrow it from the Martin Guitar museum in Nazareth for the gig. Roebuck later referred to the gesture “as an homage to my buddy, who took such good care of me.”
After seeing a preview of the film at a recent press conference, Roxy owner Richard Wolfe offered the use of his venue gratis.
“I was so impressed with the film, the fact that it was a fundraiser and all the money from the ticket sales are going to charity,” he said.
The sold-out performance filled all 400 seats. Wolfe has restored and managed the circa-1920s movie and playhouse since 1970.
The Roebucks experienced a little local drama themselves during Friday’s nor’easter while delivering the event’s slideshow DVD to the Roxy.
According to Tammy Roebuck, “We almost ran directly into a giant pine tree that had fallen and covered almost both lanes of the roadway. [Daniel] quickly jumped out of the car, called for emergency services and warned oncoming drivers with a flashlight until the police/fire rescue arrived. We believe we prevented five drivers from plowing directly into it.”
Roebuck announced March 23 will be opening weekend for “Getting Grace.”