Broadway My Way

An Evening of Fosse, classic Hollywood, Broadway, and Hope

2013 Poster

Arriving with the only child in tow, I entered Saban Theatre with a smile from ear to ear. Auction tables set up from wall to wall, grinning faces – some familiar, some strangers but filled with sheer joy – a roar of a room now flooded with bodies happily here to celebrate true “performance” and support AIDS Project Los Angeles with an undertone of standing up for marriage equality. I brought my 6 year-old daughter as my date because quite honestly, she is the purest of heart and most open minded little person I know. (And my grandmother took me to see Carol Channing in “Hello Dolly” at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion when I was about the same age and it changed my life!) This evening was star studded with actors and actresses that are staples in American Television, Cinema, and Stage as well as Broadway performers that are known throughout the world. There was no shortage of applause or moments of loud gasping in happy awe. But before we go into the actual show, it was the first impression that began this wonderful evening.

 

As I held my daughter’s hand and we strolled through the main lobby, something about the wonder in her eyes, the tiny little fingers enveloping mine, and the smiles on every face we came across – there was love in the room. The detailed archways, the ascending dual staircases leading to the smell of popcorn we couldn’t help but be drawn to, the movie history that emanated from every gorgeous corner of this theatre – well, everything in me felt as if creativity was just oozing out. And as she saw tables and tables of curious art, memorabilia, and several auction items, she asked me the BIG question: “What is this all for?” I had to pause. How do I explain AIDS to a 6 year-old? I pause again and allow the thoughts just swirling around like a vortex to calm long enough to situate. I say, “Well, tonight is about raising money for AIDS which is this thing that makes a lot of people sick.” She isn’t satisfied. “What do you mean?” Digging deep I say, “It’s the kind of thing that doctors don’t know how to fix just yet but it’s one of those things that would be really great to cure. We need a great scientist and a lot of support to fix it.” She looks around and says, “So what’s all the stuff?” I say, “We are here to raise money to fight AIDS, to support marriage equality for our friends like CoCo’s mommy’s, and make sure that no one ever has to get sick again”. She smiles and starts dragging me to the tables. “Let’s buy something to help.” She sees the raffle tickets (which to a 6 year-old is like hitting the mother load of cool things). “Can we get tickets? It doesn’t cost much.” I can’t help but laugh because let’s be honest, there isn’t a whole lot of difference between a quarter or twenty dollars when you’re a kid. Money is money and it buys you “stuff” you want. So we buy a few raffle tickets and she is genuinely happy. “Now we can fight it”, she says proudly.

Art by Michael Chearney of www.chearney.com

 

That moment of sheer innocence is why I’m so incredibly grateful for organizations like S.T.A.G.E., APLA, and Saban Theatre. While tonight was nothing short of musical perfection, it was so much more than that.

 

An unprecedented $285,000 was raised. All of these beautiful strangers and renowned performers came together for one extremely essential cause. Guards were down, smiles were in plenty, and the real honor was being able to sit in an audience joined together by a common purpose, being entertained by some of those most influential performers of our time. The highlights are far too difficult to pinpoint because during every performance, my hands raised in amazement as they clapped incessantly against one another.

(Click on the images below to view the Gallery)

Growing up in Los Angeles, I’ve seen decades of progress until 2008 when our state made the deplorable decision to ban same sex marriage. I, along with my daughter who was barely 2 at the time, happily protested in a sea of yellow. Because of outspoken advocates like Harvey Liss and organizations like APLA, times are changing. Thankfully, there have been strides taken, movements made, and a grand voice sounded to repeal such a catastrophic piece of legislation. While the fight continues, I am honored to be among those in the audience to witness tonight’s performance of “Broadway My Way”. The performance is to benefit AIDS Project Los Angeles. As someone who has seen the direct impact of someone living with AIDS, I know the importance of having continual support for anyone affected. My cousin had lived at the Hagan House, a support home for anyone battling AIDS located in Laguna Beach for years. Eliseo, known as Cheyito, was active in the gay community and after losing his partner to AIDS, was himself living with it. However, it wasn’t AIDS that killed him but rather the unfortunate hate of someone who didn’t dare open their hearts or quiet their uncertainties. Cheyito was attacked outside of the Hagan House and while he fought through difficult injuries for almost a year, it took his life. I knew I couldn’t be silent. I had to be involved. Not only in raising money to help battle AIDS and offer the support needed but also to be an advocate for equality. Please support APLA. Volunteer your time, attend these truly mind-blowing performances, fight for equality, and don’t be idle. AIDS is a very real disease affecting millions. Children, men, women – it sees no boundaries and it has no clear target. It is simply a disease that deserves to have its ass kicked.

 

*I was delighted to meet Shirley Jones and Marty Ingels and was absolutely thrilled to see Terri White perform. I met Terri and her wife Donna last year when she performed at First & Hope. Her voice, her story – it’s one everyone should know and revel in. She is a fiercely talented, huge-hearted, wonderful human being. I also want to thank Artist Michael Chearney and his husband Brian for their abundant kindness, warmth, grace, and beauty. I can’t wait to write about you Mike!! Your art is truly moving and so full of love, life, and energy!

Thank you Scott Barton for inviting me and for allowing me to be a part of something so divinely inspiring and essential in the world!

 

Shirley

S.T.A.G.E. EVENT

One-Night-Only Performance Will Benefit AIDS Project Los Angeles

Two-time Tony® Award winner SUTTON FOSTER and Tony nominee and Grammy® Award winner ANDREW RANNELLS will perform for the first time in the 29th Annual Southland Theatre Artists Goodwill Event (S.T.A.G.E.) “Broadway, My Way,” being held on Saturday, April 6th at the historic Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills.

Foster is a Broadway veteran having received the Tony Award for “Anything Goes” and “Thoroughly Modern Millie.”  She also originated roles in “Little Women,” “The Drowsy Chaperone,” and “Young Frankenstein,” among others, and currently stars in the ABC Family series “Bunheads.”

Rannells received a Tony nomination for his starring role in “The Book of Mormon” for which he also received a Grammy Award for Best Broadway Cast Album.  Andrew also appeared on Broadway in “Hairspray” and “Jersey Boys,” among others.  He currently stars in the Golden Globe®-winning HBO comedy series “Girls” and in NBC’s hit comedy series “The New Normal.”

FOR AIDS PROJECT LOS ANGELES

The event, which features Grammy® and Tony® Award-winning cast, remains the world’s longest running musical theatre benefit to fight AIDS and key private source of HIV funding

 

Los Angeles, Calif (April 9, 2013) – A company of more than 25 stars of stage and screen entertained a packed house at the historic Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills on Saturday night (April 6) at the 29th Annual Southland Theatre Artists Goodwill Event (S.T.A.G.E.). The event, themed “Broadway, My Way,” raised more than $285,000 for HIV/AIDS direct care, education, and advocacy services offered by AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA).

 

A bevy of stars took to the stage in numbers that ranged from vocal powerhouse to comedic twists on long-time favorites (including comedy writer and six-time Emmy® winner Bruce Vilanch appearing in a ballet tutu for A Chorus Line’s “At the Ballet”) to touching moments – as when Madison Claire Parks, granddaughter of late S.T.A.G.E. performer and star Betty Garrett, offered a soaring rendition of The Phantom of the Opera’s “Think of Me.”  The show capped off with six-time Emmy® award winner and Tony® award winner Tyne Daly’s performance of “Rose’s Turn” (Gypsy), followed by an all-company finale. The show was directed, as it has been since its inception, by David Galligan, and John McDaniel returned as music director.

 

“Tonight’s performance was nothing short of ovation-inspiring,” says APLA Executive Director Craig E. Thompson. “We’re tremendously grateful to the S.T.A.G.E. Producers, Executive Committee, our generous sponsors, and of course the entire company of the show.”

 

S.T.A.G.E. marked its 29th production this year with a new theme: “Broadway, My Way,” which showcased this exciting cast performing popular Broadway musical numbers in their own contemporary styles. Since its first show in 1984, the event has featured more than 300 stars of Broadway, film, and television while raising millions of dollars for APLA and other Southern California AIDS service organizations.

This year, Wells Fargo served as the event’s Presenting Sponsor; the financial services company doubled its longtime support of the event this year, offering a $50,000 cash contribution to support the event and APLA’s direct services. Grand sponsors were Elgart Aster and Paul Swerdlove and HBO. The supporting sponsor was Ted Snowdon.

Other Broadway stars scheduled to appear in the concert that raises critical funds for AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA) include PATRICK CASSIDY, CAROLE COOK, KAREN CULLIVER, TYNE DALY, JOELY FISHER, DAVIS GAINES, KATHY GARRICK, MARSHA KRAMER, FLORENCE HENDERSON, SHIRLEY JONES, JANE LANIER, VICKI LEWIS, KIMBERLEY LOCKE, TOM LOWE, PAT MARSHALL, PATRICIA MORISON, JANIS PAIGE, MADISON CLAIRE PARKS, VALARIE PETTIFORD, ANDREW RANNELLS, BRUCE VILANCH, JOANNE WORLEY.

 

Funds raised through S.T.A.G.E. support APLA programs including its Vance North Necessities of Life Program food pantries; freestanding and mobile dental clinics; in-home health services; housing assistance; HIV prevention and testing efforts; and a range of other APLA services that thousands of Angelenos who are affected by HIV/AIDS depend on. S.T.A.G.E. is among the most enduring and valuable sources of private support for the agency’s HIV/AIDS care, prevention, and advocacy work.

 

About APLA

AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA), one of the largest non-profit AIDS service organizations in the United States, provides bilingual direct services, prevention education and leadership on HIV/AIDS-related policy and legislation. With 30 years of service, APLA is a community-based, volunteer-supported organization with local, national, and global reach. For more information, visit apla.org.

 

 

 

One-Night-Only Performance Will Benefit AIDS Project Los Angeles

Two-time Tony® Award winner SUTTON FOSTER and Tony nominee and Grammy® Award winner ANDREW RANNELLS will perform for the first time in the 29th Annual Southland Theatre Artists Goodwill Event (S.T.A.G.E.) “Broadway, My Way,” being held on Saturday, April 6th at the historic Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills.

 

Foster is a Broadway veteran having received the Tony Award for “Anything Goes” and “Thoroughly Modern Millie.”  She also originated roles in “Little Women,” “The Drowsy Chaperone,” and “Young Frankenstein,” among others, and currently stars in the ABC Family series “Bunheads.”

Rannells received a Tony nomination for his starring role in “The Book of Mormon” for which he also received a Grammy Award for Best Broadway Cast Album.  Andrew also appeared on Broadway in “Hairspray” and “Jersey Boys,” among others.  He currently stars in the Golden Globe®-winning HBO comedy series “Girls” and in NBC‘s hit comedy series “The New Normal.”

 

FOR AIDS PROJECT LOS ANGELES

 

The event, which features Grammy® and Tony® Award-winning cast, remains the world’s longest running musical theatre benefit to fight AIDS and key private source of HIV funding

 

Los Angeles, Calif (April 9, 2013) – A company of more than 25 stars of stage and screen entertained a packed house at the historic Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills on Saturday night (April 6) at the 29th Annual Southland Theatre Artists Goodwill Event (S.T.A.G.E.). The event, themed “Broadway, My Way,” raised more than $285,000 for HIV/AIDS direct care, education, and advocacy services offered by AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA).

 

A bevy of stars took to the stage in numbers that ranged from vocal powerhouse to comedic twists on long-time favorites (including comedy writer and six-time Emmy® winner Bruce Vilanch appearing in a ballet tutu for A Chorus Line’s “At the Ballet”) to touching moments – as when Madison Claire Parks, granddaughter of late S.T.A.G.E. performer and star Betty Garrett, offered a soaring rendition of The Phantom of the Opera’s “Think of Me.”  The show capped off with six-time Emmy® award winner and Tony® award winner Tyne Daly’s performance of “Rose’s Turn” (Gypsy), followed by an all-company finale. The show was directed, as it has been since its inception, by David Galligan, and John McDaniel returned as music director.

 

“Tonight’s performance was nothing short of ovation-inspiring,” says APLA Executive Director Craig E. Thompson. “We’re tremendously grateful to the S.T.A.G.E. Producers, Executive Committee, our generous sponsors, and of course the entire company of the show.”

 

S.T.A.G.E. marked its 29th production this year with a new theme: “Broadway, My Way,” which showcased this exciting cast performing popular Broadway musical numbers in their own contemporary styles. Since its first show in 1984, the event has featured more than 300 stars of Broadway, film, and television while raising millions of dollars for APLA and other Southern California AIDS service organizations.

This year, Wells Fargo served as the event’s Presenting Sponsor; the financial services company doubled its longtime support of the event this year, offering a $50,000 cash contribution to support the event and APLA’s direct services. Grand sponsors were Elgart Aster and Paul Swerdlove and HBO. The supporting sponsor was Ted Snowdon.

Other Broadway stars scheduled to appear in the concert that raises critical funds for AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA) include PATRICK CASSIDY, CAROLE COOK, KAREN CULLIVER, TYNE DALY, JOELY FISHER, DAVIS GAINES, KATHY GARRICK, MARSHA KRAMER, FLORENCE HENDERSON, SHIRLEY JONES, JANE LANIER, VICKI LEWIS, KIMBERLEY LOCKE, TOM LOWE, PAT MARSHALL, PATRICIA MORISON, JANIS PAIGE, MADISON CLAIRE PARKS, VALARIE PETTIFORD, ANDREW RANNELLS, BRUCE VILANCH, JOANNE WORLEY.

 

Funds raised through S.T.A.G.E. support APLA programs including its Vance North Necessities of Life Program food pantries; freestanding and mobile dental clinics; in-home health services; housing assistance; HIV prevention and testing efforts; and a range of other APLA services that thousands of Angelenos who are affected by HIV/AIDS depend on. S.T.A.G.E. is among the most enduring and valuable sources of private support for the agency’s HIV/AIDS care, prevention, and advocacy work.

 

About APLA:

AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA), one of the largest non-profit AIDS service organizations in the United States, provides bilingual direct services, prevention education and leadership on HIV/AIDS-related policy and legislation. With 30 years of service, APLA is a community-based, volunteer-supported organization with local, national, and global reach. For more information, visit apla.org.