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Phil-a-Thon to benefit ill actor Phil Kilbourne

Phil Kilbourne as the senior Hamlet in the Jungle's new production.

Phil Kilbourne as the senior Hamlet in the Jungle's new production.

​Serious illness is a scary prospect for anyone, so it's no exaggeration to say that Phil Kilbourne's life took a dark turn this past spring while rehearsing for Penumbra Theatre's I Wish You Love. He went to the doctor complaining of headaches.

Kilbourne had a brain tumor and metastatic melanoma, a form of skin cancer. As he recovered, the actor rejoined the company as an understudy and was able to tour with the production to the Kennedy Center and the Hartford Stage.

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The veteran performer continued on with the Jungle Theater's recently opened production of Hamlet, where he plays the specter of the Dane's kingly father. But the side effects of his treatment has sent the actor back to the hospital (understudy Martin Ruben has taken on the role in the interim). Kilbourne hopes to rejoin the company once his health is better.

Still, there will be expenses and lost wages for the actor, which brought several of his friends and colleagues together to organize a fundraiser, Phil-A-Thon, for Monday, September 12 at the Illusion Theatre in downtown Minneapolis. 

"The benefit organizers--Michael Tezla, Jim Craven, Walton Stanley, and I--came together in June to talk about putting a benefit together for Phil," says organizer Leslie Rapp. "We are all longtime friends of Phil and his wife, Marysue Moses. The benefit is an attempt to raise money to help with insurance going forward, and the lost wages that will no doubt follow, but it's mostly to raise the spirits and hopes in Phil and Marysue so they can weather this storm."

Performers for the event include Jevetta Steele, Alen Hamilton, Steve Yoakum, Regina Williams, Nora Montanez, and others.

A silent auction will also be held as part of the party. This will include theater and restaurant gift certificates, art, hand-blown glass, signed star photographs, and wine from Sonoma Vineyard.

Patrons can also bring unwanted and broken gold jewelry, which will be scrapped to raise additional funds.

Admission will be $20. You can call 612.399.4944 for more information, or visit the benefit site for Kilbourne.