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Sir Ian McKellen, Alan Cumming, and more to Celebrate 20 Years of Only Make Believe

Sir Ian McKellen, Alan Cumming, and more to Celebrate 20 Years of Only Make Believe

 Only Make Believe (OMB), the non-profit children’s theatre company, today announced its highly‐anticipated 20th Anniversary Gala on November 4th at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre. The organization is celebrating two decades of bringing the magic of theatre into the lives of chronically ill and disabled children throughout the New York and Washington D.C. metropolitan areas, free of charge to every partner site, family, and child.

The star-studded Broadway-filled show, directed by Tony Award winner Joe DiPietro, will include performances from Emmy Award nominee Seth Rudetsky; Tony Award nominee Euan Morton (of the Tony Award-winning musical Hamilton); Tony Award nominees Andy Karl & Orfeh; the Tony Award-winning revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!; the Tony Award-winning musical Book of Mormon; Tony Award nominee Brad Oscar and a special performance by Dupla Mao Na Roda’s Alan Pagnota & Rafael Ferreira from the Big Apple Circus.  

The gala will also feature appearances by Sir Ian McKellen, Alan Cumming, Hayley Mills, and Sade Baderinwafollowed by a dazzling after-party at the legendary Sony Hall.

Only Make Believe will be presenting several awards during the event with recipients including:

–          The Founder’s Award: David G. Leitch

–          The Sir Ian McKellen Award: Ambassador Theatre Group

–          The OMB Star Award: Kings County Hospital Center

“All of us at OMB are thrilled to be celebrating our two decades of bringing fun and laughter and the magic of theatre, to children in need.” says Dena Hammerstein, Founder of Only Make Believe. “We are deeply grateful to our supporters, sponsors, friends, and families for helping us reach this historic milestone. We look forward to the future and expanding to more and more new horizons.” 

Only Make Believe debuted in October 1999 at Rusk Institute’s Pediatric Unit, NYU Langone Medical Center, as a project of The James and Dena Hammerstein Foundation. Dena Hammerstein established Only Make Believe in memory of her husband James, the son of theatre legend Oscar Hammerstein, for his dedication to the theatre and her own passionate love for children in need.

The concept of Only Make Believe developed out of Dena’s desire to introduce children living with chronic illnesses and disabilities to the magical world of theatre. Since trips to the theatre proved to be too overwhelming for many of the children, Dena decided to bring the theatre to them, helping to create a unique version of live theatre in which each child plays an integral part in the production. Now, 20 years and 5,000 performances later, Only Make Believe visits over 60 hospitals along the East Coast. 

For more information on Only Make Believe’s 20th Anniversary Gala, please visit https://www.onlymakebelieve.org/gala2019

Only Make Believe (OMB) is a non-profit organization that creates and performs interactive theatre for children in hospitals, care facilities and special education programs throughout the New York and Washington DC metropolitan areas, free of charge to every site, family, and child. OMB is dedicated to the principle that engaging a child’s imagination is a valuable part of healing and learning. Therefore every child in our audience takes an active part in creating a world of fantasy and fun in order to transcend the boundaries of hospital walls.

Our mission is very simple, to give joy and inspiration to as many chronically ill and disabled children as possible. Our unique way of doing this is to bring professional actors into the hospital wards to entertain the children with specially created plays designed for their needs and to encourage their participation. We send teams of actors for six consecutive weeks with six different shows so the kids can get to know our actors and our actors get to know and love the kids. The plays are performed against a simple backdrop with a trunk filled with costumes and props used by both actors and children. The trunks, all different and and painted by our wonderful volunteers, stay in the hospitals as a permanent gift to be enjoyed long after the actors have finished their performances. For more information, please visit: https://www.onlymakebelieve.org/.

Events

Suzanna, co-owns and publishes the newspaper Times Square Chronicles or T2C. At one point a working actress, she has performed in numerous productions in film, TV, cabaret, opera and theatre. She has performed at The New Orleans Jazz festival, The United Nations and Carnegie Hall. She has a screenplay and a TV show in the works, which she developed with her mentor and friend the late Arthur Herzog. She is a proud member of the Drama Desk and the Outer Critics Circle and was a nominator. Email: suzanna@t2conline.com

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