Back in the 1930s, a series of movies starring Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland popularized the notion that you could solve big problems… by putting on a show. The orphanage is in trouble? No problem! Let’s fix up this old barn, kids! We can build a stage and start singing and dancing! People will flock in, money will magically appear, and the orphanage will survive!
It was a good formula for a successful movie franchise, and the plays in the barn were always magnificent productions. (It helped when two of the kids in the neighborhood always happened to be Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland.) But even in 1930s Hollywood, where fantasy ruled, the writers had the good sense to structure these kid-run performances as what we in the nonprofit world would now call special events, raising funds for an established charity. Mickey and Judy were putting on a play to benefit the orphanage. They didn’t have the temerity to think they could start an orphanage of their own.
Today there seem to be a lot of folks who think otherwise. Continue reading