Vivienne Muhling Scrabbles with the Stars


We chat with the event chair about the popular event that attracts dozens of stars.


By: ILAN MESTER  
Published: April 3rd 2011
in Culture » Art


Vivivenne Muhling
Pic: DW Communications
Jeanne Beker and Vivivenne Muhling
Pic: DW Communications

As Canadian celebrities gear up for the 7th edition of Scrabble with the Stars, we chat with event chair Vivienne Muhling, who’s worked for a number of art and theatre-related institutions, including the AGO and Factory Theatre. The event -- which takes place April 4 at the Arcadian Court and includes celebrity guests such as Jeanne Beker and Colin Mochrie -- will benefit PAL Toronto, an organization that helps aging performing arts professionals. A PAL resident herself, Muhling tells us what’s new with this year's event. 

 

How did the event come about?

 

Scrabble with The Stars was once a fundraiser for an organization called Performers For Literacy, for which I was a volunteer. It no longer exists. When I was first elected to the PAL Board, eight years ago, I suggested that might be a fitting theme for a Performing Arts Lodge fundraiser. At first we held it in the Green Room in our own building . It was immediately so popular, both with our wonderful Canadian celebrities and our sponsors that we soon had to move to a bigger location.

 

Have there been any changes this year, compared to last year's event?

 

Oh yes, indeed. For this, our 7th year, one of our long time celebrities, David Warwick, will perform a Scrabble With The Stars anthem that he  has composed  for the occasion. Our new location has a beautiful space for our new Celebrity Art and Craft exhibition which another of our enthusiastic celebrities, Jayne Eastwood suggested as a silent auction benefit. Not just paintings by the likes of Gordon Pinsent and Marilyn Lightstone, but also jewelry, and beautiful fishing flies created by C.David Johnson who will miss the event for the first time this year because he is on Broadway in Priscilla Queen of the Desert  -- plus a signed basketball donated to us by the Harlem Globetrotters, the first time we have received support from non-Canadian celebrities. They have also donated one of our many exciting Scrabble Winner prizes -- tickets for four to the Harlem Globetrotters Toronto game.

 

What's it been like working with hosts Jeanne Beker and Barry Flatman?

 

They are a real joy to work with. They are both so generous of their time, their ideas, their happy, talented personalities -- they give meaning to the saying, "If you want something done ask a busy person."

 

Do you know which star is the best Scrabble player?

 

I don't -- and if I did, I wouldn't tell. Ours is just a fun game, and if anyone has trouble finding words on their racks, there are experts from The Toronto Scrabble Club wandering around to help any player in need.

 

How would you describe PAL for those who have never heard of the organization?

 

PAL Toronto is the flagship chapter of PAL Canada, whose mandate is to care for ailing and aging  performing arts professionals in the realm of health and affordable housing. In Toronto, we own the delightful PAL Place, a 220 room apartment building with a library, an art room, a ballet room, a Green Room, a rood garden, where show biz folk enjoy living among their own. It has a wonderful volunteer support group called The Supporting Cast who are there to help in many ways from lifts to the doctor to loaning a wheel chair or support equipment some of us might need from time to time.

 

Are you working on any other projects with PAL?

 

Yes. I also look after The Celebrity Club, which is a relaxing 50-seater bar where we provide various kinds of entertainment for PAL Residents and members. Sometimes music by either our own residents, or generous Toronto musicians who enjoy performing for a receptive mature audience. On Monday nights we offer games -- bridge, chess and Scrabble (guess who teaches newcomers to play scrabble?).

 

Oh, yes, we also have a daily Coffee Klatsch and on Saturday morning I take my turn to make and serve my fellow residents. I love living at PAL, and I love being able to help raise the funds we need to continue "caring for our own".

 

 

 

For more information, visit www.scrabblewiththestars.ca.  



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