WEST WARWICK — With an eye on the exciting future awaiting The Arctic Playhouse, Ida Zecco at the end of the month will bring her one-woman show “Thanks for the Mammaries” to the theater for a couple of benefit performances.
“I grew up in West Warwick,” said Zecco, a stand-up comic and cabaret artist who currently lives in Warwick. “We need this theater — it is a theater of the community. It belongs to the community.”
The playhouse, Zecco continued, “needs a real mainstage.”
Having opened the cabaret club in its new building at 1249 Main Street at the end of April, The Arctic Playhouse is still working on raising the funds to finish up the adjacent mainstage theater. Once complete, the theater is expected to have capacity for up to 200 audience members, compared to just 80 at the Washington Avenue location.
Zecco said she anticipates the mainstage will match the consistently high quality of the productions presented these days at the playhouse.
“It’s really a wonderful place,” said Zecco, whose monthly cabaret series at the new location has sold out every month since it began in April. “But there’s a lot of money that needs to go into building the mainstage.”
And the new theater is well worth the investment, Zecco added, noting that towns like West Warwick can only benefit from having venues like The Arctic Playhouse in them.
“More restaurants open up, more shops open up,” she said. “It becomes a more thriving community because of the art. And that’s important.”
It’s with all that in mind that Zecco will hold two fundraiser performances of “Thanks for the Mammaries,” an uplifting tale of “a life well loved — the good, the bad and the beautiful.”
Zecco described the show as “a combination of music, theater and stand-up comedy.” Sure to sprinkle into it plenty of inappropriate banter, Zecco wrote the show as a celebration of being female.
“It’s not for kids,” she said of the show, which opened at Ocean State Theatre in 2016.
Throughout the performance, Zecco uses bras to represent the various stages of her life.
“It’s the one garment that women wear everywhere,” Zecco said of her decision to use bras for continuity. “It follows you throughout your whole life and changes dramatically, just like you do.”
For Zecco, who’s a breast cancer survivor, performing and telling jokes were significant means of dealing with her diagnosis and all that came with it.
“I think finding humor in all of life’s crises is what gets you through it,” she said. “I’ve always felt that way.”
Women, in particular, have an impressive ability to cope with tragedy, Zecco added.
“We know we have to push on,” she said. “Whether it’s for our family or for people around us, our own crises need to be coped with so we can push on to do the other things in life that need to be done.”
And considering her own experience using theater to cope, it makes sense that Zecco would return the favor by contributing all proceeds from her upcoming performance to The Arctic Playhouse building fund.
“I can’t thank the theater enough,” she said, “and I’m very happy that the community is so supportive.”
“Thanks for the Mammaries” will run Saturday, Sept. 28 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Sept. 29 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $35 in advance or $38 at the door, and tickets for Zecco’s performances tend to sell out quickly, she warned. They can be purchased online at thearcticplayhouse.com.