If you could magically get another body part, what would you choose? Another couple of arms, more hands? Melody Zeidan might need another head or two because she wears so many hats.
Already a mother of three young children and an attorney, Zeidan will be on her way to medical school before long. Add in her forays into fashion design and roles in musical theater and you’ve got a busy gal.
Now she’s donned another chapeau as chair of Mobile Arts Council’s biggest annual fundraiser, the Art Throwdown set for Sept. 15. The urge overtook her during a MAC board meeting when the previous chair couldn’t return to the role.
“I thought to myself, ‘You know, I’ll be done with school by then. I’ll have taken the MCAT by then. I will have submitted my medical school applications by then. I work at night so my days are free, so why don’t I do it?’” Zeidan confessed.
It will also be one week after her role in Joe Jefferson Playhouse’s current production of “Annie” concludes. She has previous stints on Mobile stages, in “Aida,” as Gary Coleman in “Avenue Q” — both at JJP — and in Mobile Theatre Guild’s “The Colored Museum.”
Zeidan’s love for musical theater was fostered early, “in choirs and stuff like that.” When as a teen she left her Camden, Alabama, hometown and enrolled at the Alabama School of Math and Science, she found a “pretty cool drama department.”
After law school at Vanderbilt, Zeidan practiced in Birmingham for a decade. Fate next returned her to a familiar place when her husband accepted his “dream job” at the AM/NS Calvert plant north of Mobile.
Melody took the opportunity to chase an early yen for medical school. She currently works nights as a medical scribe at Mobile Infirmary.
“I’ve applied to UAB, Vanderbilt, Northwestern, Loyola, Tulane, Baylor, Wake Forest, South Florida, all kinds of places. We went down the list and picked places where my husband could either transfer within his company or at least work in his field,” Zeidan said.
Her daughter was the source of a 2012 endeavor, GlitzyGab Designs. That’s “gab” as in Gabrielle, not chattiness.
“My daughter wanted to be in beauty pageants and those little Toddlers in Tiaras dresses can be super expensive, so I pulled out my old, dusty sewing machine and found out I kind of loved that stuff. I started doing it for other people, too — mostly Mardi Gras gowns since I love making formal gowns,” Zeidan said.
Zeidan donated one of those gowns for the 2016 Throwdown’s silent auction. It was her first year for board participation or Throwdown attendance.
Though no longer a complete rookie, Zeidan’s initial turn at the Throwdown helm has been helped by those around her. Prior chair Debbie Stevens has assisted, as has longtime MAC volunteer Sally Trufant.
“Lucy [Gafford] and Angela [Montgomery] at the office are amazing. I really haven’t had to do anything. They’re fantastic,” Zeidan said.
The sixth incarnation of the event is subtitled “Retribution,” thanks to a twist on the usual arrangement. Customarily, contestants from Mobile’s creative realm square off in something akin to TV shows such as “Iron Chef” or “Chopped,” with the previous year’s champion defending their title. Each gets items from a mystery box, a few tools, an assistant and 90 minutes to make art.
This time around the entrants are from all the previous years. Nancy Raia (2012), Amanda Youngblood (2013), Ameri’ca Tickle (2014), Rando Dixon (2015) and Devlin Wilson (2016) will face off in an event that runs 6-9 p.m.
“I’m super excited we’re at The Temple [corner of Claiborne and St. Francis] this year. The artists will be in the middle of the floor, right under that big, beautiful chandelier,” Zeidan said.
DJ Ron Anthony will provide music. The Royal Scam will supply food and a wealth of adult libations — especially MAC’s notorious “Red Roosters” — will be on hand.
Aside from the competition decided by open auction at the evening’s end, the silent auction will be just as alluring. The cavalcade of items includes work by artists including Kathleen Kirk Stoves, Melissa Diegan and Fred Marchman; passes to Mobile Museum of Art, Mobile Opera, Mobile Symphony Orchestra, JJP and Theatre 98 events; memberships to a jazz society; a stay at the Battle House Hotel and Spa; swag from Mobile Carnival Museum and much more.
Tickets to what is always one of the hallmark events on the Mobile cultural calendar are available online at mobilearts.org. They cost $30 in advance, $35 day of the event.
Call 251-432-9796 for more information.