Jan Hundley Goes Hollywood Glam for Saints & Sinners

It’s always been fashionable in Hollywood to adapt stage plays for the screen. Annie. Chicago. 12 Angry Men. Evita. Les Miserables. All enjoyed success on Broadway and in movie theaters.

It’s only natural, then, that Arkansas’ largest nonprofit professional theatre follows suit. This year, The Rep takes its signature event Saints & Sinners to the silver screen on Saturday, Feb. 2, complete with plenty of old Hollywood glamour and Oscar-style swag bags for guests.

Jan Hundley, chief operating officer of Arkansas Otolaryngology, chairs this year’s event with husband Randal, and she just can’t wait to walk the red carpet. “I was so fortunate to grow up in a family that understood the magic and importance of the theatre. I have memories of attending the Community Theatre and other productions in Greenville, Miss., when I was around 8 or 9. I actually auditioned for the Sound of Music but did not get the part. Unfortunately, I can’t sing!”

While Jan lends her support and energy to many local organizations, it’s her love of live theatre — and The Rep in particular — that inspired her to say “yes” when she and Randal were asked to chair Saints & Sinners. “I have attended productions at The Rep since it opened in the old church near MacArthur Park. Randal and I have had season tickets [to The Rep] for years, and he is a current board member. We both know how important it is for our community to have such a strong regional theatre. The Rep’s continued success impacts the city’s economic development and business recruitment, plus it enriches the arts education of children who may not otherwise have the opportunity to see a top-notch stage production.”

Audiences in Little Rock are quite familiar with the quality productions staged every year by The Rep. What they may not know is that ticket sales only account for half of the cost of creating a Main Stage production. That’s why the organization and it’s dedicated volunteers pull out all the stops year after year to throw one amazing black-tie gala. The evening includes cocktails and a silent auction, followed by an elegant dinner and live entertainment like only the The Rep can provide.

“Saints & Sinners is part of a $1.5 million fundraising budget required to keep our ticket prices affordable and our doors open each season, in addition to supporting our educational programming,” explains Artistic Director Bob Hupp. “The Rep generates more income from Saints & Sinners than from any production in the theatre’s season. It is the single biggest source of support for the theatre’s operations.”

And just what does The Rep do with the funds raised? “Saints and Sinners supports the ongoing education and artistic programs at the theatre,” says Hupp. “The success of the event helps keep ticket prices affordable and allows us to provide a living wage for the Arkansas artists, craftsmen and administrators who are the backbone of the theatre. The event also allows us to attract the best actors from across the country to Little Rock.”

Anyone who’s seen a production at The Rep can attest to the quality of the acting, set design and costume design. The talent — both in-house and recruited from out-of-state — is what keeps audiences coming back season after season. Of everything she’s seen over the years, Jan has a fondness for the musicals. “I loved seeing The King and I in 2006. The Rep did Les Miserables in 2008, which we’ve seen three times on Broadway. [The Rep] did the most wonderful production. At the end I did not want it to be over. I would go see that again tomorrow. I can’t wait to see Avenue Q in May. I also love to laugh!”

The Rep’s Best-Kept Secrets

1. The Rep maintains ticket and subscription pricing that generates around $1.5 million in ticket sales. The rest of a nearly $3.5 million budget comes from community support.
2. Community support maintains The Rep’s Student Matinee Program, allowing thousands of students across the state to see performances for as little as $8 per seat.
3. The Rep brings more than 70,000 people to downtown Little Rock each year, with arts patrons spending on average nearly $25 per event over the price of admission.
4. The Rep reaches audiences more than 100 miles from Little Rock, creating tourism activity for surrounding hotels, restaurants and attractions.
5. The Rep creates its productions from scratch —  that means costumes, sets and staging — especially for Little Rock audiences.

Saints & Sinners on the Silver Screen
When: Saturday, Feb. 2   |   Where: Statehouse Convention Center
Tickets: $350 individual, $1000 preferred patron couple  |  Info: 378-0445, ext. 204 or BHilkert@TheRep.org

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