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The Heart Show

A Musical Production with a Ton of Heart!

Article by Ashley Elvis

Photography by Jennifer Parrott and Aiken Heart Show

Originally published in Aiken City Lifestyle

This year marks 44 years of the Heart Show - a five-night, six-show original musical production benefitting the American Heart Association. This huge undertaking all began with Jim Moore and his love of theater paired with his respect for and friendship with Eleanor Bookstaver, the founder and advisor of the Aiken Women’s Heart Board. Each year, the Heart Show raises about $120,000 for the American Heart Association, which brings the total through the years to over $2.6 million. This incredible fundraiser helps fight against heart disease, the number one cause of death in the US. And it all begins each year with the idea of a storyline. 

Each spring, Moore gathers together a small group of Heart Show veterans which consists of son, Jimmy Moore and daughter, Julie Moore Whitesell, along with Carter Hopkins, Sallye Rich, Jack Benjamin and Paul Crook to work on writing the next year’s play. They meet a couple of times a month to brainstorm, write, choose music and decide on the cast. It’s truly a labor of love put on by a team dedicated to supporting a great cause. Along with the 45 women on the Aiken Women’s Heart Board who are the hardworking, behind-the-scenes “crew” of the production, the cast, backstage hands and technicians put on an amazing show-new and unique each year. The plot is always entertaining, the cast is full of talented and familiar faces and there’s plenty of music to enjoy. When asked about the Heart Show, Julie Whitesell said, “Part of the magic…is that the cast is like family with members remaining mostly year after year. And on occasion, new members join such as recent additions Patrick Boylan, Cara Doolittle and Casey Young. Robbie Purvis is an original cast member having been in the fashion show prior to it being an original musical.” 

The 2024 Heart Show is called Heart Revival. It’s set during the Depression and asks the question, “Does good prevail over evil?” It’s definitely going to be one to catch! The show runs February 21-25 with matinees available on the 24th and 25th. Be sure to contact one of the “ticket ladies” to purchase! The Aiken Women’s Heart Board website has ticket information: awhb.org

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