Ella Beckstead’s got a bit of rough start ahead of her. Not yet born, she’s already been diagnosed with a rare congenital heart defect that will require surgery just days after birth—and again in the months and years following. Fortunately, the little one’s already got a huge support network of friends, family, and strangers who want to see her thrive. Parents Brady and Melissa Beckstead and proud grandma Jenny Shaheen—all of them active in the local theater community—have rallied their singing, dancing, and acting friends to organize a benefit in her honor. “Under Our UmbrElla: A Benefit for Baby Ella Beckstead” will take place at the Pismo Beach Vet’s Hall on Friday, July 8, at 7 p.m.
- PHOTO BY DANIELLE DUTRO PHOTOGRAPHY
The entertainment lineup features the best of South County talent: Arroyo Grande’s Sorcerer Productions will deliver performances culled from Little Shop of Horrors and Forever Plaid, Kelrik Productions will preview their upcoming musical Seussical, and dancers from the A.G.-based Studio of Performing Arts will lend their moves to the cause.
“We want to keep it upbeat,” explained Shaheen, who is organizing the soiree. Despite the event’s somber cause, she says, “I want it to be a celebration.”
The evening will open, fittingly, with a performance of Rihanna’s “Umbrella.” The event will also feature casino tables, a no-host bar, and a not-to-be-missed silent auction. A Cessna ride for three over the Central Coast is up for grabs, as are two nights at the Cliffs resort, wine tours, meals at gourmet restaurants, and naturally, theater tickets galore.
Proceeds will help fund Ella’s medical expenses—and her parents’ temporary relocation to Los Angeles.
“We’re just trying to give her the same start that you would want for any new life,” Shaheen said.
Tickets cost $30 and can be purchased at the door—if they don’t sell out—or in advance by contacting Shaheen at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Pismo Beach Vet’s Hall is at 680 Bello St. (Donations to Ella’s cause can also be made directly to the Ella Beckstead Benefit at any Rabobank location). Come out and give Ella the start she deserves!