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What to Watch: July 4

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7:30pm: Philip Glass’s Akhnaten This mesmerizing masterpiece of ancient Egypt—in an ingenious production by Phelim McDermott that incorporates a virtuosic troupe of jugglers and acrobats—is unlike anything else ever seen on the Met stage and proved a sold-out sensation in its company premiere in 2019. A portrait of the revolutionary title pharaoh, whose attempt to convert his society to the monotheistic worship of the sun leads to his overthrow, Glass’s opera takes a ritualistic approach to depicting the events, hypnotizing the listener with its repetitive yet immersive music.

Renee Elise Goldsberry
Renee Elise Goldsberry

8pm: Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular  NBC Tony winner Renée Elise Goldsberry hosts the annual live TV event in honor of the national holiday. Blake Shelton and Jonas Brothers perform alongside the acclaimed firework spectular as well as a brand new drone light show.

Cynthia Erivo
Cynthia Erivo

8pm: A Capitol Fourth Cynthia Erivo, Ali Stroker, Laura Osnes, Renée Fleming, Jimmy Buffett, Jennifer Nettles, Auli’i Cravalho and more perform on PBS’ annual concert event. Vanessa Williams hosts.

Marys Seacole through July 4Quincy Tyler Bernstine stars in Jackie Sibblies Drury’s play about an ambitious Jamaican woman determined to live a grand life, whose adventures take her across oceans and eras. Directed by Lileana Blain-Cruz, the production was filmed Off-Broadway at the Claire Tow Theater in 2019.

Becoming Dr. Ruth Tovah Feldshuh stars as the legendary Dr. Ruth Westheimer in Mark St. Germain’s play through California’s North Coast Repertory Theatre. David Ellenstein directs the production that tells the extraordinary true story of the real-life radio and television sex therapist and her rise to fame. Available through July 4.

Juliet and Romeo Romeo and Juliet is reinvented as a musical comedy when the UC Davis Department of Theatre and Dance, Southern Utah University’s (SUU) Department of Theatre, Dance and Arts Administration and Catalyst: A Theatre Think Tank premiere Juliet and Romeo.

Co-written by Paul Gordon, a Tony Award nominee for Jane Eyre, and Curtis Moore, an Emmy Award nominee for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, the production will be accessible through midnight Pacific on June 5. 

GenSpeak: an evening of intergenerational plays and songs! From the Rattlestick.

Myths and Hymns: Faith Jennifer Holliday, Mykal Kilgore and Anthony Roth Costanzo star in the final installment of Adam Guettel’s song cycle.

The Zip Code Plays: Los Angeles Antaeus Theatre Company highlights the culture and history of six additional Los Angeles neighborhoods with Season 2 of its popular The Zip Code Plays: Los Angeles podcast series.

The latest installments will introduce audiences to the geographically, historically and culturally diverse locales of Echo Park (90026), West Hollywood (90069), Inglewood (90303), Pacoima (91331), North Hollywood (91601) and Monterey Park (91754). 

Herding Cats Starring Jassa Ahluwalia, Greg Germann, and Drama Desk nominee Sophie Melville, Herding Cats by Lucinda Coxon is a chillingly funny play about a generation negotiating intimacy and independence in the 21st century.

Meeting the demands of modern life is as impossible as herding cats for Justine, Michael and Saddo. To deal with work, Justine talks—a little too much—to her roommate Michael who earns a living by chatting with strangers like Saddo. But all three will soon find that in a cold, disconnected world, words may not be enough.

Directed by Anthony Banks, this revival of Coxon’s play uses the technical feats that adventurous theatre artists have discovered during the pandemic and combines them with the raw intimacy of in-person performance. This first-of-its-kind, transcontinental event features Ahluwalia and Melville performing for an in-person audience on Soho Theatre’s London stage with Germann performing live via video from the United States.

This production contains distressing themes of sexual abuse. If needed, you may seek help from the RAINN National Sexual Assault Hotline. (Click here to access their website.)

Animal Wisdom Heather Christian’s Animal Wisdom will unfold on screen rather than on stage. The writer-performer’s show originally debuted at The Bushwick Starr in 2017 but now gets a film adaptation. 

In Animal Wisdom, singer-songwriter-soothsayer Christian lays to rest the souls that haunt her, shape-shifting between rock star, folklorist, and high priestess, as she conjures a constellation of souls in an effort to confront her family’s mythologies.

Amber McGinnis directs the film, with stage direction by Emilyn Kowaleski. The cast also includes Sasha Brown, Eric Farber, B.E. Farrow, and Maya Sharpe.

The film is presented by Woolly Mammoth Theater Company and American Conservatory Theater. 

The Destruction of Jane Edgar Rice Burroughs will be spinning in his grave this spring. A new seven-part miniseries, inspired by the infamous film Tarzan the Ape Man, debuts this month.

The Destruction of Jane is an unauthorized parody of the King of the Jungle is told from the point of view of Miss Jane Parker. 

Weekly installments premiere on Thursdays.  

The miniseries stars stars Paul Pecorino and Rob Eco as Jane and Tarzan, respectively, and features special cameo appearances by Mario Cantone and Randy Rainbow. The show is written by Paul Pecorino and directed by Drue Pennella.

Set in the current COVID-19 pandemic, this comedy follows Jane to the African jungle where she meets and falls in love with the spectacular specimen we all know as the legendary Tarzan. The 1981 Tarzan film became a massive financial hit due to its dizzyingly unintentional bad taste, and screenwriter Paul Pecorino has set out to push these offensively vulgar boundaries even further.

The creative team includes director of photography Erik Paulsen, composers Drew Fornarola and David Nehls, musical arranger Paul Doust; costumes & wigs designer David Mitsch; makeup & wig styling designer Vera Stromsted and Donanyely Mejia and Marty Thomas; and specialty costumes designer Gail Baldoni. The Destruction of Jane is presented by Pure Motion Pictures.

Back to the Future: From Screen to Stage Ahead of the Back to the Future musical opening in the Adelphi Theatre on August 20, BFI at Home presents an online discussion with members of the cast and crew about how the hit film became a full-fledged stage musical.

The Woman’s Party Clubbed Thumb presents the world premiere of The Woman’s Party. Originally slated to premiere as part of the 2020 Summerworks Festival, the piece will now premiere virtually.

Written by Rinne B. Groff and directed by Tara Ahmadinejad, The Woman’s Party has been divided into three 30-minute episodes.

1947 is the year that the savvy politicos of the National Woman’s Party will finally get the ERA passed once they quash that insurgency—or oust the old guard. The Woman’s Party takes place 27 years after the ratification of women’s suffrage, when the Equal Rights Amendment was poised for passage. 

The cast includes Rosalyn Coleman, Alma Cuervo, Laura Esterman, Marga Gomez, Marceline Hugot, Emily Kuroda, Lizan Mitchell, Socorro Santiago, Rebecca Schull, and Connie Winston.

Shadow/Land Michelle Wilson, Te’Era Coleman, Lizan Mitchell, Lance E. Nichols, Lori Elizabeth Parquet and Sunni Patterson star in the world premiere of Erika Dickerson-Despenza’s audio play. The drama is set amidst the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and is part of the Public Theater’s digital stage.

The Thanksgiving Play Spotlight on Plays returns with Larissa FastHorse’s The Thanksgiving Play, directed by Leigh Silverman. The cast features Tony nominees Heidi Schreck and Bobby Cannavale, along with Keanu Reeves and Alia Shawkat.

Romeo y Julieta Lupita Nyong’o and Juan Castano star in this free bilingual audioplay of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, presented by the Public Theater and WNYC Studios.

La Femme Theatre Productions: The Night of the Iguana The show will feature Golden Globe winner and Emmy nominee Dylan McDermott (Netflix’s “Hollywood”) as Reverend Shannon, Emmy nominee and Tony Award winner Phylicia Rashad  (Broadway’s Cat on a Hot Tin Roof) as Maxine, Roberta Maxwell (Broadway’s Summer and Smoke) as Judith Fellowes, Tony nominee, Obie and Drama Desk Award winner Austin Pendleton (Broadway’s Choir Boy) as Nonno, and Jean Lichty (Off-Broadway’s A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur, The Traveling Lady) as Hannah, with Keith Randolph Smith (Broadway’s Jitney, American Psycho) as Jake, Carmen Berkeley (Off-Broadway’s Our Dear Dead Drug Lord) as Charlotte, Eliud Kauffman (Roundabout Theatre’s 72 Miles to Go) as Hank, Julio Macias (Netflix’s “On My Block”) as Pancho, Stephanie Schmiderer (No Exit, The Human Voice) as Frau Fahrenkopf, Bradley James Tejeda (Broadway’s The Inheritance) as Pedro, and John Hans Tester (Amazon’s ”Hunters” ) as Herr Fahrenkopf.

Waiting for Godot Directed by Scott Elliott, the classic features Tony nominee Ethan Hawke as Vladimir, Tony recipient John Leguizamo as Estragon, Wallace Shawn as Lucky, rapper Tarik Trotter as Pozzo, and Drake Bradshaw as Boy.

In Waiting for Godot two wanderers wait by a lonely tree, to meet up with Mr. Godot, who they hope will change their lives for the better. Instead, another couple of eccentric travelers arrive, one man on the end of the other’s rope.

The creative team also includes production designer Derek McLane, costume designer Qween Jean, sound designer Justin Ellington, director of photography Kramer Morgenthau, editor Yonatan Weinstein, and associate director Monet.

The New York Pops Up Festival a thousand in-person performances throughout the state from now through June. Most events associated with NY PopsUp will be unannounced (and unticketed) and will be designed so that New Yorkers happen upon them in their everyday lives. (Since we can’t have large gatherings right now, we want to bring a lot of small things to the public where they are) NY PopsUp is a surprise that you happen upon, rather than an event or concert you are alerted to via a notification or a schedule.

Julius Caesar, Starring Patrick Page By Shakespeare@ Tony nominee Patrick Page (Hadestown) stars in the title role with Jordan Barbour (The Inheritance) as Brutus and Keith Hamilton Cobb (American Moor) as Cassius. West End Harry Potter and the Cursed Child performers Jamie Ballard and James Howard co-star as Mark Antony and Metellus Cimber, respectively. 

The production is also be available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Soundcloud, and Stitcher.

Produced by Jersey City’s Shakespeare@, this audio production is the third installment of the season, produced and adapted by Artistic Director Sean Hagerty.

Hagerty has crafted the production into four weekly parts and partnered with the Emmy-winning team at Sonic Designs to capture the lost art and thrill of radio drama all without leaving the confines of quarantine.

Julius Caesar features original music composed by Joan Melton with sound design by the Emmy-winning team of Dan Gerhard and Ellen Fitton of Sonic Designs. Justin Goldner is the music producer and supervisor, and casting is by Robin Carus. Sydney Steele serves as the associate producer. 

Assassins Reunion: Original Off-Broadway Cast The original cast and creative team of the 1991 Off-Broadway debut of Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman’s Tony-winning Assassins will reunite virtually to celebrate the musical’s 30th anniversary.

The free online event is part of the Studio Tenn Talks: Conversations with Patrick Cassidy series and will feature Studio Tenn Artistic Director Cassidy as well as other original cast members Victor Garber, Greg Germann, Annie Golden, Lyn Greene, Jonathan Hadary, Eddie Korbich, Terrence Mann, Debra Monk, William Parry, and Lee Wilkof plus Sondheim and Weidman, director Jerry Zaks, musical director Paul Gemignani, and orchestrator Michael Starobin.

The Things Are Against Us Susan Soon He Stanton’s The Things Are Against Us will be the next production in MCC’s LiveLab one-act digital reading series. Ellie Heyman directs the cast, which includes Juan Castano, Emily Davis, Susannah Flood, Babak Tafti, and Danny Wolohan, in tthe play set in a mysterious house with a mind of its own. 

SoHo Playhouse Presents Typical Soho Theatre and Nouveau Riche present the world premiere of Typical, the film version of the stage play, released exclusively on Soho Theatre On Demand 

Written by Ryan Calais Cameron and directed by Anastasia Osei-Kuffour, Typical uncovers the man and the humanity behind the tragic true-life events of Black British ex-serviceman Christopher Alder and the injustice that still remains twenty years since his story emerged. 

The Manic Monologues Current Slave Play Tony nominee Ato Blankson-Wood, Rent Tony winner Wilson Jermaine Heredia, Accidentally Brave playwright Maddie Corman, and more stage favorites will explore mental health this winter in a new digital production from the McCarter Theatre Center.

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

Broadway

Theatre News: The Drama League, Once Upon A Mattress , Swept Away, Chita Rivera Awards and Moulin Rouge!

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The Drama League announced the winners of the 2024 Drama League Awards. The event hosted by NY1 reporter Frank DiLella, was held at The Ziegfeld Ballroom (141 W 54th St, New York, NY). Sarah Paulson wins Distinguished Performance Award. Hell’s Kitchen wins Outstanding Production of a Musical. Stereophonic wins Outstanding Production of a Play. Merrily We Roll Along wins Outstanding Revival of a Musical. Appropriate wins Outstanding Revival of a Play. In the directing categories, Daniel Aukin took home the Outstanding Direction of a Play award for Stereophonic and Maria Friedman took home Outstanding Direction of a Musical for Merrily We Roll Along.

The competitive awards were presented by Lear DeBessonet, Alfred Molina, Bebe Neuwirth and Ben Platt.  LaTanya Richardson Jackson presented The Gratitude Award to Kandi Burress; Thomas Schumacher presented The Founders Award for Excellence in Directing to Schele Williams; Daniel Radcliffe and Lindsay Mendez presented The Distinguished Achievement in Musical Theater Award to Jonathan Groff; and Jim Parsons presented the Contribution to Theatre Award to Jessica Lange.

Tony Award-winning producers Seaview and Creative Partners Productions have announced that, on the heels of its record-breaking, sold-out run at New York City Center’s Encores! earlier this year, Once Upon A Mattress will open on Broadway this summer at The Hudson Theatre (141 W 44th St). Tony Award winner Sutton Foster (Anything Goes, The Music Man) will lead the Broadway cast, reprising her acclaimed performance as Winnifred the Woebegone, hailed by The New York Times as “perfectly goofy, and imprinted with an ebullient, joyful relish in the very act of performance.” The beloved musical returns to Broadway in a new adaptation by Emmy Award winner Amy Sherman-Palladino (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”, “Gilmore Girls”), directed by Tony Award nominee and Drama League Award winner Lear deBessonet (Into The Woods). Previews begin Wednesday, July 31, 2024, with an Opening Night set for Monday, August 12, 2024, for the limited engagement through November 30, 2024.

Following its Broadway engagement, Foster will headline the production in Los Angeles for a four-week engagement at Center Theatre Group’s Ahmanson Theatre from December 10, 2024 – January 5, 2025.

An uproarious update of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Princess and the Pea,” Once Upon A Mattress sets an unapologetic free spirit loose in a repressed kingdom, reveling in Winnifred’s ability to charm and transform with willpower, honesty, and a little bit of help from her friends.  Full of gloriously catchy melodies like “Shy” and “In a Little While,” the musical first premiered in 1959, with music by Mary Rodgers, lyrics by Marshall Barer, and book by Jay Thompson, Dean Fuller, and Marshall Barer.

The Broadway production will feature Choreography by Drama Desk Award nominee Lorin Latarro (The Who’s Tommy), Scenic Design by Tony Award winner David Zinn (Fun Home, SpongeBob SquarePants), Lighting Design by Tony Award winner Justin Townsend (Moulin Rouge! The Musical), Costume Design by Andrea Hood (Into the Woods), Sound Design by Tony Award winner Kai Harada (Days of Wine and RosesMerrily We Roll Along), and Hair and Wig Design by J. Jared Janas (Sweeney Todd, &Juliet). General Management is by Wagner Johnson Productions. Casting is by The Telsey Office (Bernard Telsey, CSA; Craig Burns, CSA). Orchestrations are by Tony Award winner Bruce Coughlin (The Light in the Piazza), and Drama Desk Award winner Mary-Mitchell Campbell (Company) will serve as Music Supervisor, Annbritt duChateau as Music Director, and Cody Renard Richard as Production Stage Manager.

A special fan pre-sale will begin on Tuesday, May 28, at 10:00AM ET – sign up atOnceUponAMattress.com for early access to tickets. Tickets will go on sale to the general public on Wednesday, May 29 at 10:00AM ET.

Further casting and creative team will be announced at a later date.

The Avett Brothers announced that their new musical Swept Away will begin previews on Broadway this fall at a Shubert theater to-be-announced. An odyssey of “mythic proportions” (San Francisco Chronicle), Swept Away features a book by Tony Award winner John Logan (Red, Moulin Rouge! The Musical), direction by Tony Award winner Michael Mayer (Spring Awakening, American Idiot) and choreography by Tony Award nominee David Neumann (Hadestown).

After sold out runs from coast to coast, Swept Away storms Broadway this fall.

The Swept Away creative team includes music arranger & orchestrator Chris Miller, music arranger & orchestrator/music supervisor Brian Usifer, music director Will Van Dyke, Tony Award-winning set designer Rachel Hauck, Tony Award-winning costume designer Susan Hilferty, four-time Tony Award-winning lighting designer Kevin Adams and Tony Award-winning sound designer John Shivers.For ticketing updates and more information, visit SweptAwayMusical.com.

Jared Grimes (Funny Girl) will host the Chita Rivera Awards, it was announced today. The 2024 Chita Rivera Awards will be presented on May 20 at 7:30pm at the NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts (566 LaGuardia Place off Washington Square Park), and are produced by Joe Lanteri, Founder and Executive Director of the New York City Dance Alliance Foundation, Inc. in conjunction with Patricia Watt.

Presenters include: Debbie Allen (Fame), Shoshana Bean (Hell’s Kitchen), Corbin Bleu (High School Musical, Little Shop…), Anthony Crivello (Kiss of the Spider Woman), Joel Grey(Cabaret), Huey Lewis (The Heart of Rock and Roll), and Joe Morton (Scandal, ART), Bebe Neuwirth (Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club, Chicago), Kenny Ortega (High School Musical), David Hyde Pierce (Here We Are, Spamalot), Brooke Shields (Suddenly Susan; The Adams Family), Ben Vereen (Pippin), and more.

The evening will feature performances by: Wayne Brady (The Wiz), Kristin Chenoweth (Wicked), Norm Lewis (Phantom of the Opera; Porgy and Bess), and Lea Salonga (Miss Saigon; Old Friends).

There will also be performances from the casts of Suffs, The Heart of Rock and Roll, and The Who’s Tommy.

At the May 20 Awards, Bernadette Peters will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award, Phil LaDuca will receive the Vanguard Award, for his outstanding contribution to the international dance community, and Mayte Natalio (Suffs; How to Dance in Ohio) will receive the Douglas and Ethel Watt Critics’ Choice Award.

The Douglas and Ethel Watt Critics’ Choice Award is bestowed by the journalists of the Chita Rivera Awards’ Broadway judging committee, to recognize outstanding work that falls outside the framework of the original categories. It is named for the longtime Daily News theater critic Douglas Watt and his wife Ethel, an original cast member of Carousel and Kiss Me, Kate who later became a producer.

Tickets to the Chita Rivera Awards are available to the general public atwww.ChitaRiveraAwards.com.

Pop the champagne! The Museum of Broadway will celebrate its newest special exhibit celebrating the 10-time Tony Award®-winning Best Musical Moulin Rouge! The Musical, presented in partnership with Chase Freedom and created exclusively for The Museum of Broadway. The exhibit, Moulin Rouge! The Musical: Spectacular, Spectacular, invites fans to step into the world of Belle Époque Paris and experience the splendor, eye-popping excess, and glittering extravagance of the hit show.

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TDF partnership sends 1400 service members to Broadway and Off Broadway during Fleet Week

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For the second year in a row, TDF, the not-for-profit service organization for the performing arts, has partnered with the Community Foundation of New Jersey to help obtain and distribute 1400 tickets to 11 Broadway and two Off-Broadway shows. These tickets will be given at no cost to members of the United States Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and Blue Star Families, who will be in New York City during this year’s Fleet Week, May 22 to May 28, 2024.

The 13 shows that service members will see for free are Back to the Future: The Musical, The Book of Mormon, The Great Gatsby, Hamilton, Hell’s Kitchen, The Lion King, MJ, Moulin Rouge! The Musical, The Outsiders, The Play That Goes Wrong, SIX, Titanique, and Water for Elephants.

“This is the second year of our partnership with the Community Foundation of New Jersey, and we are honored once again to facilitate tickets to Broadway and Off Broadway for our service members during Fleet Week,” said TDF Executive Director Deeksha Gaur. “We know from our companion program for veterans that attending the theatre can support healing and help build community.  But most of all, we are thrilled that service members will get to experience the magic and joy of New York theatre at no cost to them.”

The Community Foundation of New Jersey serves approximately 1,160 fundholders—individuals, families, and businesses with philanthropic funds, which they use to recommend grants to worthy causes and communities.

“Funds at the Community Foundation of New Jersey may be used to directly improve people’s lives beyond the usual grantmaking, and this is a great example of that,” said Madeline Rivera, Program Officer at the Community Foundation. “Unique philanthropic ideas like these enable us to have broad impact in areas important to our fundholders.”

Those wishing to donate so that service members can attend future performances should contact Madeline Rivera at the Community Foundation of New Jersey atmrivera@cfnj.org or (973) 267-5533.

The Community Foundation of New Jersey creates and scales custom solutions for purpose-driven individuals, families, and businesses. From creative projects that tackle critical societal or policy issues, to scholarship funds, corporate philanthropy, legacy funds, and donor-advised funds, CFNJ manages nearly every kind of giving vehicle and tailors solutions to meet critical needs. CFNJ’s specialists understand the unique contours of communities and manage the scope of CFNJ investment and grantmaking capabilities with precision. With $790 million in assets, the CFNJ grants tens of millions of dollars each year through its more than 1,100 funds. In 2023, CFNJ granted more than $70 million to nonprofits in New Jersey and beyond.

Founded in 1968, TDF (formerly known as Theatre Development Fund) is a not-for-profit service organization dedicated to bringing the power of the performing arts to everyone. TDF’s mission is to sustain live theatre and dance by engaging a broad and diverse audience and eliminating barriers to attendance. We fulfill our mission with a variety of programs that expand access, cultivate communities, and support the makers of the performing arts.

We are known for our theatregoing programs, including the TKTS by TDF Discount Booths (which celebrated 50 years in Times Square in 2023) and the TDF Membership Program; TDF Accessibility Programs (including open captioning, audio description, Autism Friendly Performances and the Veterans Theatregoing Program); Education programs (serving more than 10,000 NYC public school students annually), and Community programs (serving 18,000 people in the tristate area); as well as the TDF Costume Collection Rental and Research Programs. TDF envisions a world where the transformative experience of attending live theatre and dance is essential, relevant, accessible, and inspirational. To learn more about TDF, go to tdf.org; Facebook/Instagram/Threads: @tdfnyc.

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Career Bridges Opera Gala: Vibrations on the Air

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Front/sitting: Jane Pontarelli, Jessy Moya
L to R: Cristina Fontanelli, Flora Pllumaj, Cherie Corso, Marcia Minassian, Sara Johnson Kaplan, behind, Jennifer Harrison, Lorraine Silvetz, Chen Wang, Liza Pllumaj and Ella Farro

Written by Lorraine Silvetz

New York’s glitterati and legendary figures in opera and Broadway assembled in force to celebrate the next generation of opera stars, recipients of awards, for the Schuyler Foundation for Career Bridges at the beautiful and renowned, Metropolitan Club. It was a night of great elegance, beauty and music marking the 20th anniversary Opera Gala. The Black Tie attired crowd entered the majestic Metropolitan Club and slipped into its palatial marble interior where drinks and hors d’oeuvres were flowing for all to enjoy.

David Schuyler Bender and Barbara Meister Bender

The foundation has been performing a vital service for 20 years now. Career Bridges founded by David Schuyler Bender and Barbara Meister Bender with the mission of providing vital assistance to young opera singers as they transition from training to stage. Attendees receive three years of mentoring, financial support and performance opportunities based on the recommendations of 20-25 member Panel of Experts, comprised of internationally recognized experts in repertory and vocal coaching, conductors, stage directors, artist managers/agents, opera company impresarios, et al. A combination of of expert selection and this assistance has had a remarkable rate of success. Every year, barring the pandemic, Career Bridges spearheads a competition where they award career grants to young artists. Those winners have the opportunity to perform and receive expert critique from a panel of professionals in the business, directors, voice teachers, performers, etc. The singers are then granted a conference with David and Barbara where the critiques are discussed and further helpful suggestions are given. The grant winners have the opportunity to return for 3 more years to “check in” to see if the hard work they have done has been realized for the panel. What incredible mentorship for these fortunate young singers.

CB Award Winners 2024
First Row: Esther Tonea, Shu Li, Michelle Geffner, Lindsey Polcyn
Second Row: Yichen Xue, Trevor Haumschilt-Rocha, Wonjin Choi, Scott Ruben La Marca

This year’s award winners include Wonjin Choi, a Korean tenor, Michelle Geffner, a soprano and graduate of Julliard, Trevor Haumschilt-Rocha, a Mexican-American baritone, Scott Ruben La Marca, tenor, Shu Li, soprano, Lindsey Polcyn, mezzo-soprano, Esther Tonea, a Romanian-American soprano, and Vichen Xue, a baritone. They were all outstanding.

Guiseppe Signorrini, Jane Thorngren, Lifetime Achievement Award winner, Randy Edelman

The sumptuous food and drinks poured through the gorgeous marble room as the many attendees milled about to view the extensive auction items, meeting one another, in some cases, for the first time.

Abe Shainberg, Chen Wang, Lorraine Silvetz, and Nicota Hawkeye

When it was time for the dinner and performance to begin the guests moved to the breathtaking dining room. The Benders, a beautiful and talented couple, opening remarks set the tone for the elegant evening. The Gala was hosted by President of the Rodgers and Hammerstein organization, Theodore S. Chapin who led many Broadway productions including over 20 award-winning Broadway and London revivals. He was also the co-founder of City Center’s “Encores.”

Huguens Noel, David Sexta, Jude Elie (candidate for President of Haiti 2024) and Nicota Hawkeye

There were several honorees including Jason Kwintner, who received the Distinguished Achievement Award for coordinating their events first at the Essex House and then at the Metropolitan Club for the last 18 years. He brings a spirit of warmth, dedication and commitment to bring each event to life.

Lifetime Achievement Winner, Jane Bergere with CB Founders, David Schuyler Bender and Barbara Meister Bender

Another Distinguished Achievement Award was given to Jane Bergere, an Olivier and multi-Tony Award winning producer. Prior to producing on and off Broadway, Jane was the Artistic Director of Connecticut’s Broadway Theatre in Darien, CT, where she produced over 50 musicals. She was recognized by the New York Timies for having brought Broadway to Connecticut and launching the careers of many actors, directors, choreographers, and other industry professionals working on Broadway. She is currently represented on Broadway with “Water for Elephants.” Past productions include Metamorphosis, The Shark is Broken, Funny Girl, Beetlejuice, Kinky Boots, Angels in America and War Horse to name a few.

Cherie Corso, Jennifer Harrison, Sara Johnson Kaplan and Lorraine Silvetz

The Lifetime Humanitarian Award was given to Dr. Joan Taub Ades who is a prominent member of premiere philanthropic circles in New York and throughout the country. Mrs. Ades, along with her late husband, Alan M. Ades, made significant contributions to the arts and education that hav etouched the lives of countless people. She and her husband created and funded the Alan M and Joan Taub Ades Performance Space at Manhattan School of Music, a versatile performance and event space that is outfitted for music, theater, dance, and multimedia events. The Ades Family Foundation established and continues to fund MSM’s prestigious Alan M. and Joan Taub Ades Vocal Competition, an annual event that is judged by an esteemed panel of opera professionals and awards significant cash prizes to winning students. She is the creator of Joan’s Closet which his a program exclusive to MSM’s female students which provides them with clothing for auditions and recitals at no charge.

Composer Randy Edelman received the Lifetime Achievement Award for his extraordinary contribution to music. He was introduced by Tribeca Record owner John “Soho Johnny” Pasquale. Edelman is one of Tribeca’s signed artists. Randy is prolific having composed over 100 film and TV soundtracks including: My Cousin Vinny, Billy Madison, While You Were Sleeping, Dragonheart, Gettysburg, Shanghai Noon, Ghostbusters II, The Mask, Twins, Beethoven, The Bruce Lee Story, and the Last of the Mohicans which earned him a Golden Globe nomination. He created the music forDare Mighty Things” for NASA, the series MacGyver, among so many more. His pop songs have been covered by renowned artists including Barry Manilow, Patti LaBelle, Olivia Newton-John, Nelly, Dionne Warwick among many others. The multi-award winning serialist has received some of the most prestigious awards including BMI’s highest honor, the Richard Kirk Award for Outstanding Achievement Award, an Emmy for the close of the NBC Olympic Broadcast, and an Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts from the University of Cincinnati.

Before receiving his award, Randy performed his famous song, “A Weekend in New England” recorded by Barry Manilow. The audience was visibly moved recognizing the famous song. After receiving his award he did an encore performing the last song Bing Crosby performed before his death, “The Woman On My Arm.”

For the finale, the entire ensemble joined in the highly appropriate “The Impossible Dream” from Man of La Mancha. For many a career in Opera might seem an impossible dream but Career Bridges co-Artistic Directors, Barbara and David Bender and their team make the dream all the more possible.

In the words of Ludwig van Beethoven: The vibrations on the air are the breath of God speaking to man’s soul. Music is the language of God. We musicians are as close to God as man can be. We hear his voice, we read his lips, we give birth to the children of God, who sing his praises.

Photo credit: Max Flores

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The 10th Annual Waxman Luncheon

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The 10th Annual Waxman Luncheon, benefiting the Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation (SWCRF), took place in New York City at a new venue, Riverpark. The fundraising event featured a live, thrilling fashion show by legendary designer, Josie Natori, showcasing the Spring 2024 collection. This year’s honoree was Barney Cohen, Managing Director and Wealth Partner at J.P. Morgan Wealth Management, was recognized for his commitment to supporting collaborative cancer research.

Waxman Luncheon Chairs included: Chairs Marion N. Waxman, Jani Gerard, and Erica Linden-Fineberg; Co-Chairs Dina Koutroumanis, Nancy Litman, Lauren Silvers, and Helen Vaysman. The Committee included Karen Giberson, Leena Gurevich, Orital Karelic, Regina Kravitz, Norah Lawlor, Lorri Scott, Jean Shafiroff, and Bettina Waxman.

Notable Attendees included: Barney Cohen, Rachelle Cohen , Josie Natori, Dr. Samuel Waxman, Marion Waxman, Jani Gerard, Kobi Halperin, Helen Vaysman, Ruth Rozenholcabend, Alyssa Klein, Nancy Litman, Lauren Silvers, Brooke Herman Zarkowsky, Jean Shafiroff, Maria Fishel, Mariebel Lieberman, and Ann Liguori.

More than 150 guests attended the affair and helped raise nearly $175,000 to support crucial SWCRF initiatives such as the International Network on Aging and Cancer and the Women’s Cancer Research Program.

Josie Natori, Samuel Waxman

In addition to the fashion presentation, guests were treated to an exciting live auction and had the opportunity to win a Mikimoto Akoya Cultured Pearl and Diamond Pendant valued at $16,000, donated by Mikimoto.

J.P. Morgan was the Luncheon sponson and in-kind donors included Mikimoto, Natori, Palm Bay International, Neuhaus Chocolates, Kobi Halperin, Arlotta Cashmere, Fendi, Movdo Group, Inc., Sachin & Babi, Jimmy Choo, Jil Sander, Chloé, Carlos Falchi, Maximilian, and many more. Flowers provided courtesy of ByRobin Event Design and Management Group.

Since 1976, SWCRF has invested more than $120 million towards collaborative, cross-institutional research, supporting more than 200 investigators around the world.

The SWCRF philosophy of collaboration has led to breakthrough discoveries such as a treatment for acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL), developed in collaboration with researchers at the Shanghai Institute of Hematology that improved the survival rate to 95% (APL had an 80% fatality rate). Most recently, research funded by SWCRF led to an FDA approved medication shown to reduce lung cancer tumors by up to 50% by targeting the KRAS protein, helped develop an innovative two-drug therapy to better treat brain tumors which are often difficult to target, and studies exploring how aging impacts the spread of ovarian cancer in older patients. Several other studies are in clinical trials.

Photos by BFA / Rupert Ramsay

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Luisa Diaz Foundation Hosts Dazzling 10th Anniversary Black Tie Mag Gala

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Everything about the night sparkled with blissful joy. On May 15, the Luisa Diaz Foundation celebrated a milestone 10th anniversary black tie MAG gala at The Plaza Hotel.

Notable Attendees included: Luisa Diaz Brown, Alan Brown, Peter Thomas Roth, Beatriz Gasca, Noreen Donovan, Candace Bushnell, Julia Haart, Lynda Lopez, Tracey Turco, Fernando Allende, Trish Steele, Anne Fontaine, Nicole Miller, Jane Shafiroff, Consuelo Vanderbilt, DJ Chloe Jane, and Pamela Morgan.

Nicole Miller

It was a grand “Celebration of Kindness” attended by important international changemakers from across the globe and underpins the organization’s motto that “kindness is cool.”

Candace Bushnell

The night started with an introduction from special host Consuelo Vanderbilt, the Runway of Hope show featured the survivors as the focal point of the evening.  Pamela Morgan, star of her one-woman Broadway show sang and after dinner the celebrations were put into high gear by singer and DJ Chloe Jane. Eyewitness News Kristin N. Thorne introduced the charities that were beneficiaries of this year’s Gala.

Consuelo Vanderbilt

The night started with an introduction from special host Consuelo Vanderbilt, the Runway of Hope show featured the survivors as the focal point of the evening.  Pamela Morgan, star of her one-woman Broadway show sang and after dinner the celebrations were put into high gear by singer and DJ Chloe Jane. Eyewitness News Kristin N. Thorne introduced the charities that were beneficiaries of this year’s Gala.

Peter Thomas Roth

Three Kindness is Cool Awards were given to honorees at the Gala –  Peter Thomas Roth Presented by Candace Bushnell, Beatriz Gasca presented by Lynda Lopez and Jovani Fashions presented by Juliia Faist.

The survivors surprised Luisa with a proclamation from the New York State Senate recognizing the work she is doing with survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking as well as living up to her overarching theme of “Kindness is Cool”  by proclaiming May 15th,  “Luisa Diaz Day.”

Luisa Diaz and Guests

The annual event this year honored a decade of changing lives in communities across America with 2024 focusing on two organizations – Safe Passage Heals and Sanctuary for Families.

The survivors surprised Luisa with a proclamation from the New York State Senate recognizing the work she is doing with survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking as well as living up to her overarching theme of “Kindness is Cool”  by proclaiming May 15th,  “Luisa Diaz Day.”

An all-star lineup of presenters and performers dedicated the night to honorees and the organizations that are collectively shinning a light on the dangers of human trafficking and sharing support for the fight to help domestic violence survivors. The subjects are often not focused on, and this event hopes to spread much-needed awareness.

 

Photo Credit: Shutterstock / Greg Pace

 

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