Empowering an the older generation

-A A +A
By Kirsten Laskey

Starting Friday, the Lensic in Santa Fe will become a time capsule for past famous and treasured Broadway stars. Legends such as Ella Fitzgerald, George Burns and Ethel Merman will again grace the stage for a contemporary audience.

This is more than just a trip down memory lane; it is an opportunity to support the organization, Empower New Mexico.

The series of shows is titled “A Broadway Series.” Freda Payne will kick things off with “A Tribute to Ella Fitzgerald,” which will run at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and again at 2 p.m. Sunday.

Following this performance will be “Say Good Night Gracie, The Love, Laughter and Life of George Burns by Rupert Holms,” which will run at 7:30 p.m. June 4 and 5 as well as 2 p.m. June 6.

“Ethel Merman’s Broadway,” will conclude the series. The show will run at 7:30 p.m. June 25 and 26 as well as 2 p.m. June 27, and feature Rita McKenzie.

George Cappannelli of Empower New Mexico encourages people to attend the shows. “It will touch their hearts and lift their spirits,” he said.

Cappannelli added some of greatest individuals in entertainment history will be honored in the series.

There is another reason as well. Empower New Mexico and AgeNation, a Santa Fe based digital media and events company, are hosting “A Broadway Series” to raise awareness about Empower New Mexico.  

It is a new organization, which started its operations with “A Musical Celebration Across Generations,” in September 2009 at the Santa Fe Opera. The production featured Roberta Flack and Shawn Colvin.

The mission of Empower New Mexico is to inform, inspire and engage individuals in their golden years on the critical challenges and important opportunities they face.

There is a wide number of people Empower New Mexico is gearing its message to – soon 50 percent of the population in New Mexico will be older than age 50 for the first time in history.

Therefore, Cappannelli said, “Support Empower New Mexico. It just has a wonderful mission. Its mission is to inspire and inform New Mexicans on the opportunities that exist in this world.”

These opportunities do not come without obstacles.

Cappennelli said every seven seconds, someone joins the older than age 50 group, every 77 seconds, someone is diagnosed with an early onset of Alzheimers’ Disease and every day 7,000 baby boomers retire in America.

Yet, only one in six retirees have enough money to support themselves for the rest of their lives.

“One of things about Empower New Mexico is we believe as one of the wealthiest nations in the world, we can do a better job,” he said.

In addition to the tribute to Broadway, Empower New Mexico is hosting  “Navigating The Future Dialogues,” a series of open forums designed to inform and engage individuals on critical issues relating to eldership and aging; “Navigating The Future Conference,” a thought leader conference at the Albuquerque Convention Center in October; and Inspire New Mexico, a state-wide public service radio and television campaign designed to assist both older and younger New Mexican’s to redefine aging and better understand the opportunities available to them.

Funds raised from A Broadway Series will also support the work of other non-profit organizations that serve vulnerable segments of an aging constituency.

“Even though we are relatively new, we are doing some major things here in New Mexico,” Cappennelli said.

For tickets, visit www.ticketssantafe.org.