MariJoy Dempsey, of Egg Harbor Township, listens to Allyson Pace sing for her during an Ocean City Theatre Company virtual performance. (Photo courtesy the Dempsey family) By MADDY VITALEWith a pandemic, the Ocean City Theatre Company is at a standstill. There are no rehearsals. No shows. No camp signups. No ticket sales.But that does not mean the show won’t go on — virtually that is.An email blast went out to the theater company community explaining that the Katherine Alexandra Foundation, through the support of OCTC fans Mike and Lis Kalogris, of Stone Harbor, will present a $2,500 matching grant for every dollar raised through the email campaign.“So here we are, launching a grassroots donor campaign that will be matched and doubled by the generosity of the Katherine Alexandra Foundation and our friends Mike and Lis Kalogris,” read the email that went out to the members.For a donation of $75 or more, the donor will receive a “Broadway Singing Telegram” — albeit on an electronic device, by his or her favorite OCTC performer.“We wanted to come up with something unique,” said Michael Hartman, founder and volunteer of the OCTC.In a time when social distancing, face masks and gloves are the unfortunate norm, the singing telegram is a way to provide something positive, enjoyable and exciting for the recipient, while sitting in the comfort of their home. The donors have a wide range of more than 200 Broadway hits to choose from. Whether classic songs from “Oklahoma” are your speed, or something a bit more contemporary from the musical “Chicago,” there is something for everyone.Hundreds of kids participate in one of OCTC’s Summer Camps, Classes or Youth productions each year. (Photo courtesy O.C.T.C.)Hartman noted that if there is something someone would like to hear that is not on the list he or she can simply email the request to OCTC.After selecting the song and emailing it to OCTC, the donor will receive the performance via email.MariJoy Dempsey, of Egg Harbor Township, was delighted to receive her special Broadway Singing Telegram by Allyson Pace.Her mother, Kim Dempsey, said it was an “awesome” experience.“We had huge smiles on our faces as we were watching it,” Kim said in an email. “Our family gladly supports OCTC, either through donations or by attending a show.”She explained why OCTC is a great activity for families. OCTC shows are held at the Ocean City Music Pier and the Hughes Performing Arts Center at the Ocean City High School.“OCTC offers opportunities for individuals and families to experience professional theater without having to travel far from home. We love OCTC,” Kim said. Hartman said especially in the current climate, where fear of COVID-19 encompasses people’s lives, donations for the theater community reflect the positivity people can still show in a time of crises.“Traditionally, the month of April is really a go-time for the theatre company. Camps fill up,” he pointed out. “Sometimes we have 500 kids in our classes. And thousands of dollars usually come in for tickets.”But with loss of jobs and the uncertainty about when the coronavirus restrictions will be lifted on social gatherings, he understands that the theatre company ultimately had to be put on hold. The annual Children’s Theatre Series, such as this one from 2019, is still scheduled for this summer at the Music Pier. (Photo courtesy City of Ocean City)While the Children’s Theatre Series, which features five shows beginning in June and running through July, may still be on as scheduled, people are just purchasing tickets at this time.The children’s theater series tickets go for $10 a show.“We make it affordable for families to be able to attend. But people don’t want to commit,” Hartman said. “The reality is, expenses are going out. This is our steady stream of revenue. It shows how barebones we are.”Hartman is hopeful donations will continue to come in and by the time the world returns to normal the shows will all be rescheduled.That is all the more reason why support from those who love the arts and theater and appreciate the years of performances by members of OCTC is needed more than ever, Hartman said.“The theatre company has pushed all acts until the first weekend in June. Hope we are rocking and rolling by then,” he said.A portion of the letter that went out via email to OCTC supporters and members highlighted some of the reasons the theater company is eager to get back on track.“We are craving the sense of community that comes from enjoying a live performance or the magic that happens when kids collaborate as a team on a theatre project,” the letter reads.It continues, “We are hopeful that we will return to normal real soon, but in this time of uncertainty, it is understandable that ticket sales have come to a complete standstill, camp/educational program registration has stopped, and financial support has been halted.”As of Friday afternoon, Hartman said the email blast had raised $1,700. He is certain that $2,500 will be raised for a matching grant by the Katherine Alexandra Foundation. “The generosity we are seeing shows me that people can rise to the occasion,” Hartman added.To make a tax deductible donation visit http://oceancitytheatrecompany.com/get-inv…/online-donation/ or mail a check made payable to OCTC to 1501 West Avenue, Ocean City, N.J. 08226 If you mail your donation, be sure to include your email address to be contacted to schedule a Virtual Broadway Singing Telegram.Good times are apparent as members of the OCTC and founder Michael Hartman pose for a selfie in 2018 at the annual brunch.