BWW Feature: BRINGING HAPPY BACK EXPERIENCE at Myron's Cabaret At The Smith Center For The Performing Arts
Tonya Farrens has been part of the entertainment industry for years, but when she experienced a devastating event, after her grief, she decided to help others using a different voice. The Bringing Happy Back Experience will raise awareness of suicide and prevention by uplifting the mood with its inaugural live and streaming show. The benefit production featuring several Vegas entertainers will be held at the Myron's Cabaret at The Smith Center For The Performing Arts on Jan. 31.
Entertainers scheduled to perform include Brandon Nix (Baz and Rock of Ages), Douglas Crawford (Jersey Boys), Shaun Degraff, Jaclyn McSpadden (Vegas The Show), Ofi, The Soul Juice Band, Xico Peligroso, , Anne Martinez (Baz and Alice Steampunk), Ashley Fuller, Paul Johnson, and Tom Yankton (former member of the Rascal Flatts) and James Simpson. The event will utilize art, dance, music, and video to promote suicide awareness, mental wellness and inspiration to fight to live.
Event founder and producer Farrens lost her father (who was a veteran) to suicide in 2015 and chose the date to commemorate his 73rd birthday. The inspiring show will be streamed globally to military bases, wellness facilities and over 300 college campuses, including the University of Nevada, Las Vegas; San Francisco State; Princeton University and the University of California Los Angeles. Visit bringinghappyback.org/live/ to stream the show.
The one-of-a-kind event will begin with a cocktail reception with an informative expo including live music and vendor stations. The 90-minute show (with food and drink available for purchase) will entertain and inspire with speakers including Farrens' brother with a tribute piece to their father. A portion of the evening's ticket proceeds will benefit Mental Health America. Along with having fun, another goal is to take away the stigma of suicide and let people know that it's okay not to be okay.
"We are here to have fun while addressing a very serious subject," says Farrens. "My father always showed signs of depression and I have always been an optimistic person. I would leave him affirmations." However, when her father retired, he felt a lack of purpose as well as declining health and mental acuity. The family did realize he needed help and was very supportive but as Farrens explains, "One day I got the call we feared."
Farrens then committed to getting involved in the mental health arena and not personally carry the burden of her father's passing. After getting therapy, she discovered she had a gift to reach people who are experiencing similar difficulties. Farrens decided to create a one-of-a-kind event to begin in Las Vegas, take it to Nashville, and expand on it in the coming year.
The community will be invited to share personal stories, experiences, and talents to help others find their way back from tragedy, depression or adversity.
The Bringing Happy Back Experience will be held at Myron's Cabaret located at The Smith Center For The Performing Arts located at 361 Symphony Park Ave beginning at 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 31. For more information, visit www.bringinghappyback.org or call 702-426-2488. To purchase tickets, visit www.thesmithcenter.com.