Matney vs. Cancer – FIGHT!

Theatre community rallies around Robert Matney, hosts benefit events

Ready to kick the Big C's ass a second time: the unsinkable Robert Matney
Ready to kick the Big C's ass a second time: the unsinkable Robert Matney

Austin show folk do not take kindly to a medical assault on one of their own. Just look at how companies and indviduals from across the theatre community have swarmed to the aid of Robert Matney, the longtime local actor and tech visionary, upon the news last month that a malignant melanoma had been discovered in his system. In just two weeks, they've mounted an online campaign that's raised more than $15,000 and organized two fundraising events for the next few weeks, and more different companies have sent out separate calls for support to their email lists than I can recall seing for a single cause. The entire effort, dubbed Matney vs. Cancer – Fight!, has even spawned a video – an irreverent and hilarious one – from Rude Mechs company member Lowell Bartholomee, starring Matney as both himself and his leechy, obnoxious, freeloading Cancer. (One look at the video – will give you a decent idea why the Austin Critics Table chose to reward Matney's performance in the Hidden Room Theatre's Rose Rage with an award earlier this month.)

Of course, this impassioned rally is a sign of the universal esteem and affection in which the gentlemanly Matney and his wife, actor-director Liz Fisher, are held and how many different parts of the theatre community they've touched and aided through the years. It also means these drama types won't take this threat to their colleague and friend lying down. The fight is on! And if you want to do your part to deal a knockout punch to the Big C, make an online donation (, and mark your calendar for the following:

Sunday, June 30: The Hidden Room Reunion Staged Reading of The Taming of the Shrew – Original Practices

This cocktail-attire event reassembles in the York Rite Masonic Hall the all-male company of the award-winning 2010 production. Reception at 6pm, reading at 7pm, at 311 W. Seventh. Tickets are $50. To purchase them: The password is "Matney."

Wednesday, July 17: The Matney vs. Cancer Tent Revival!

Rev. Lowell Bartholomee hosts this old-school, raise-the-roof revival with live music and theatre from Steven Tomlinson, Kirk Lynn, Manateeman, guest deejay Graham Reynolds, and more, plus an elaborate silent auction. Doors open at 8pm, show at 8:30pm, at the Off Center, 2211 Hidalgo. Tickets are $25.

For more information, contact Beth Burns, For fundraising event sponsorships and donations, contact A. Skola Summers, For auction item donations, contact Jeremy Brown,

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Matney vs. Cancer – Fight!, Austin theatre, Robert Matney, Liz Fisher, Hidden Room Theatre, Rose Rage, The Taming of the Shrew, Lowell Bartholomee, Steven Tomlinson, Kirk Lynn, Manateeman, Graham Reynolds

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