Comedy and magic benefit

April 18, 2002|BY KATE COLEMAN

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Child abuse is no laughing matter. But people will be laughing Saturday at the Capitol Theatre during the 15th Annual Comedy & Magic Spectacular being presented to help make child abuse disappear.

Proceeds from the shows - at 2:30 and 7 p.m. - presented by the Chambersburg Exchange Club, benefit The ESCAPE Parent-Child Center of Franklin County.

The center serves Franklin County families by offering parent education classes, support groups and the Parent Aide Program, an in-home mentoring program, says Hope Clever, executive director. The center also has started offering "Healthy Beginnings," a program for expectant mothers, she says.


Child abuse prevention has been the national project of Exchange Clubs since 1979, according to information on the organization's Web site at

Chambersburg businessman and Exchange Club member R.G. Smith has orchestrated the comedy and magic show since 1988. Organizers hoped to raise $5,000 that first year. Instead they brought in more than twice that amount, he says.

Within two weeks, the Frederick, Md., Exchange Club asked the Chambersburg group for help, and by the end of this year's run, this season's show will have been presented eight times in six locations. More than $300,000 has been raised over the years to help prevent child abuse in local communities, Smith says.

Smith, himself a magician, will emcee Saturday's shows and "keep things going" between the acts.

The lineup features Marty Putz, a "prop comic" who has performed his visual comedy with zany inventions on national television programs including "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" and Comedy Central's "Make Me Laugh."

"Yogician" Sean Bogunia will combine yo-yo artistry with magic.

Jay Mattioli will demonstrate what happens when modern technology collides with the future of magic.

Mattioli, 20, took first prize at the recent International Brotherhood of Magicians adult stage contest, Smith says. The young magician's show features a marshmallow fight, which inspires audience members to say, "Now wait a minute," Smith says.

Murray Hatfield and Teresa will present "grand illusions," the kinds of things not usually seen on a small-town stage, Smith says.

There's a lot of work involved in producing so spectacular a Spectacular. Why do Smith and his fellow Exchange Club members do it?

His answer comes faster than the blink of a magician's eye and without tricks. "We do it to prevent child abuse," he says.

If you go . . .

The Chambersburg Exchange Club presents The 15th Annual Comedy & Magic Spectacular

Saturday, April 20, 2:30 and 7:30 p.m.

Capitol Theatre

159 S. Main St.

Chambersburg, Pa.

Matinee performance tickets cost $10, $14 and $16

Evening performance tickets cost $12, $15 and $18

Proceeds benefit The ESCAPE Parent-Child Center of Franklin County

For tickets, call 1-717-263-0202.

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