Disneyland resort Cast Members slid on their dancing shoes and combined team building and talent through Flashback, an annual production that brings together diverse groups of Cast Members to raise money for a local charity. This year’s recipient is the Santa Ana Zoo.
Held Feb. 25 and 26 at Hyperion Theatre in Disney’s California Adventure park, Flashback is composed of four mini musicals. This year’s international theme transported the audience to Asia, Africa, Europe and America.
“Flashback is one of many programs at the Resort that encourages Cast Members to get involved in the community, said Sandee Alsup, Flashback executive producer and an area manager in attractions. “In an effort to reach a broad spectrum of interests, the selected charity is different each year, which brings awareness to Cast Members about the various organizations to which they can donate their time. Often, Cast Members continue to support the selected charities through additional volunteer efforts.”
What began as an attempt to bring Cast together for a good cause has become a much-anticipated annual tradition. When the production began 11 years ago, 45 Cast Members participated – that number has grown to 275. (All Cast Members are eligible to participate.) The audience, which is typically made up of Cast, family and friends, also has grown significantly – from 300 to more than 3,000.
Cast Members are divided by work areas and placed into one of four teams that rotate annually to allow different colleagues to connect. Participants are involved in all areas of the production. They produce, perform and build sets. Leadership teams develop scripts, choreography and direct rehearsals. A panel of judges, made up of executive Cast Members, determines which team has the most impressive production in terms of theming, choreography, vocal performance and overall entertainment value. Rehearsals take place over several months and Flashback participants log a total of nearly 30,000 VoluntEAR hours to make this fundraising production a success.
Over the years, Flashback ticket sales have contributed more than $250,000 to local Orange County charities that support children. This year, $10,000 will benefit youth education programs and improvements at the Santa Ana Zoo.
“We are grateful that Disneyland Resort and the Flashback program have selected the Friends of Santa Ana Zoo this year. During these tough economic times, our education programs are affected more than ever. This donation will be of great help in providing continuing educational opportunities to the children and families who visit the zoo,” said Cathi Decker, executive director of Friends of Santa Ana Zoo.