Eileen Mitchard is out to eradicate breast cancer in her lifetime. It’s a big goal, but she’s got big plans—and the theatrical production to go with them.
“Breast cancer has personally always been one of my causes,” said Mitchard, executive producer of “Breast in Show,” a musical about breast cancer. “I have not had it but it’s the thing I’ve always been most afraid of because it hits women at the crux of their being.”
When her youngest child was settled at college three years ago, Mitchard realized it was the perfect time for her to devote her energies and theater background to a project that could unite people in the drive to eradicate breast cancer.
“I remember Kennedy calling for us to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade,” Mitchard said. “If we could do that, why not find a cure for breast cancer?”
The first step for Mitchard was to assemble a team to shape her vision into a unique experience. She wanted the type of show that would “have legs” and result in performances around the country, she said. Originally a musical revue, the project became a musical that tells the story of people dealing with the reality of breast cancer.
“It’s a musical and it’s funny,” said director Kathryn Chase Bryer. “It’s not depressing. It comes from a place of hope because that’s what keeps us going.”
With music and lyrics by Joan Cushing and a script by Lisa Hayes, “Breast in Show” debuts at 8 p.m. at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington's Kreeger Auditorium in Rockville on Friday and Saturday.
“We chose to debut at the JCC because it is a good size with plenty of free parking,” said Mitchard, who is funding the opening production with money from a home equity line. "We went with two nights because it was relatively affordable and would generate the materials we need to market the piece across the country.”
There’s already some interest from a Broadway producer, Mitchard said.
Mitchard’s plans call for staging “Breast in Show” using professional talent that is local to venues around the country. A portion of the profits will go to nonprofits in each city that provide services for those battling breast cancer.
“I believe 'Breast in Show' is an awesome show that will really touch people in a way no other medium can,” Mitchard said.
“It’s going to be a useful tool to do what Eileen wants to do, which is to eradicate breast cancer in our lifetime," Bryer said. “If we raise enough voices, that will happen.”