Curtain Call: The 20th Anniversary Dreamgirls Benefit Concert
It’s been ten years since the unforgettable one-night-only 20th Anniversary performance of Dreamgirls, the Tony Award–winning musical by librettist Tom Eyen and composer Henry Krieger. The event, which was a benefit for The Actors Fund, took place September 24, 2001, at The Ford Center (now The Foxwoods Theatre) — not long after the 9/11 attacks. Actors Fund President Brian Stokes Mitchell, who had a cameo in the show, began the evening with a pre-show speech to remind everyone that, in the face of the horrible events everyone in New York City had just witnessed, it was more important than ever to remind ourselves that the show must go on.
Under the Musical and Artistic Direction of Seth Rudetsky, the evening starred the incredible trio of Audra McDonald, Heather Headley and Lillas White, and also featured appearances by Malcom Gets, Darius de Haas, Norm Lewis, Alice Ripley, Brad Oscar, Billy Porter, Emily Skinner, James Stovall, Tamara Tunie and Patrick Wilson. Danny Herman and Brenda Braxton co-directed and co-choreographed the evening. Nonesuch Records released a recording of the event, which is still available.
The event raised over a million dollars for The Fund, and just a few of the supporters who came out for the show included Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker, Betty Buckley, Celeste Holm and Patti LuPone.
Check out this preview performance by Audra, Heather, and Lillas on The Rosie O’Donnell Show: