A musical about a German immigrant making his life in America is one of many events fundraising for the Elmwood Torndao Relief, specifically for the Save the Palace Theatre efforts.

A musical about a German immigrant making his life in America is one of many events fundraising for the Elmwood Torndao Relief, specifically for the Save the Palace Theatre efforts.

Nick Myers, a Dunlap High School and Bradley University graduate, has been turning the play “The American Way” into his own musical for six years, and he is finally ready to present it to the public with the help of Bradley University senior and co-creator Landon Zumwalt.

The musical concert will be showing at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Dunlap High School.

Full of American history, such as World War I, the stock market crash and women suffragettes, the play follows the immigrant through his entire life.

After casting and work began, Elmwood was devastated by the June 5 tornado, and the historic Palace Theatre, along with much of the downtown area, was hit the worst.

Carmen McCarthy, who is in the cast of “The American Way,” is from Elmwood, and shared the story of the theater’s destruction with her cast members.

Proceeds from the show were going to be donated, so Myers decided to donate to the Palace Theatre.

“Once I heard that this happened to the theater, originally we couldn’t keep the money from the show, so we decided to give the money to the theater,” Myers, composer and one of two lyricists, said.

Micki McCarthy, Carmen’s mother and committee member of the Save the Palace Theatre Committee, knew immediately the theater needed to be restored. Her three sons all worked at the theater and Carmen is involved in theater through Bradley University.

“When the tornado happened my son, Nathan, who has theater in his blood, said, ‘Mom, we need to do something to save the Palace,’” she said.

Once a Facebook page was started, checks came in going straight to Reynolds Theatres, which owns the Palace Theatre.

McCarthy knew people may be confused to where the money was going, so a committee was started and joined forces with the creator of the Facebook page, Bill Seipel.

“I know how important accountability is and I thought we need to join forces so it is not associated with Mr. Reynolds and the Reynolds Theatre,” McCarthy said. “Any money generated from our fundraising efforts is for the theater.”

Checks are now being accepted at the Elmwood Commuity Bank.

If the theater does not get restored for any number of reasons, the money donated will go toward a tornado restoration fund through the Elmwood Community Foundation.

McCarthy explained the committee does not have underlying reasons to restore the theater.

“This isn’t about targeting a business, it’s about targeting a historical site. It really was a core of our community, and if we can help this business thrive and get re-established then the economic climate within Elmwood will help the other businesses succeed,” said McCarthy.

“There’s such rich historical value, it’s not about saving a building it’s about preserving something so much richer.

“There’s such a rich historical building, that’s why I think people are passionate about wanting to save it.”

With 35 cast members and an orchestra of about 18, the musical needed an auditorium big enough to hold everyone, which is how Dunlap High School fits into the picture.

With two showings, Myers said he is hoping to raise a substantial amount of money.

“I know we are one of the bigger fundraisers,” he said, noting they were not the first. “I’m hoping that other people will follow suit because I know we aren’t going to be able to pay for everything that happened, but we will help as much as we can.”

Tickets are on sale at www.americanwaymusical.com, or by calling 244-5613. Tickets are $10 for adults and  $7 for seniors or students in high school or below.

For more information on donating to the Palace Theatre, visit the website at savethepalace.com.