Archive for November, 2011

Marking World AIDS Day 2011

November 30, 2011 Comments off

World AIDS Day 2011 poster design by

World AIDS Day 2011 marks the 30th year of the fight against HIV/AIDS, the tragic pandemic that continues to affect the lives of millions of people around the world. To commemorate those we’ve lost and to support the many living and coping with the disease, The Actors Fund HIV/AIDS Initiative commissioned this special poster by graphic designer Craig Russell. A client of the Initiative who generously volunteered his services, the empty chair encourages us to take a moment to remember the many people in the entertainment community we’ve lost to AIDS, from performers to patrons.

Throughout his graphic design career, Craig has worked with a numerous organizations, spending the bulk of his time with Channel 13/WNET Television. He has served on the National Board of Directors of The Graphic Artists Guild, done projects with Mary Corliss at MOMA’s Film Stills Archive, and did a series of five large pastel promo portraits of Katharine Hepburn for the Quad Cinema’s renovation, about which Hepburn wrote in a letter that he made her look “G** damned whiiZZingly fascinating!”

Additionally, the staff of The Actors Fund’s HIV/AIDS Initiative took some time out for this special World AIDS Day 2011 video message, embedded below.

The Actors Fund HIV/AIDS Initiative works with men and women in the entertainment industry to create confidential, holistic plans and support systems that will meet each person’s emotional, medical and financial needs over the long term. Our experienced Social Workers provide case management, advocacy, crisis intervention, individual and group counseling, financial assistance, financial management skills development, and referrals to community resources. For more information, visit


The Visit Sneak Peek!

November 23, 2011 Comments off

Tony winners Chita Rivera & John Cullum

On Monday morning, a few of us were fortunate enough to get a first look at rehearsals for the highly-anticipated one-night-only production of The Visit, a benefit performance for The Actors Fund and Vineyard Theatre at the Ambassador Theatre on November 30, 2011. The cast and creative team took time out from their jam-packed rehearsal schedule to perform three numbers from the show, which featured Tony winners Chita Rivera and John Cullum, as well as appearances by some the incredible talent behind the production: book writer Terrence McNally, composer John Kander, choreographer Ann Reinking, and concert director Carl Andress (lyricist Fred Ebb was, of course, there in spirit).

We shot a little video of the event, so be sure to check out the sneak peek below, and if you’d like to purchase tickets, head on over to The Actors Fund’s website. It’s also not too late to participate in our Facebook ticket giveaway, which is running until November 28, 2011. And don’t miss the event’s coverage in the Broadway press, including Playbill and Broadway World (photos and video).

Many thanks to the incredibly talented cast, crew and musicians, all of whom are donating their time for the benefit. In addition to Ms. Rivera and Mr. Cullum, The Visit features Lina Balgord, D.B. Bonds, Matthew Deming, Alan H. Green, James Harms, Michael Hayward-Jones, Joy Hermalym, Howard Kaye, Doug Kreeger, Mary Ann Lamb, Jerry Lanning, Ryan Lowe, Brianne Moore, Karen Murphy, Brian O’Brien, Kevin Reed, Hal Robinson, Dana Steingold, Rebegga Strimaitis, Jeremy Webb, and Tony Nominee Mark Jacoby. Special thanks, as well, to Jon Kalbfleich (musical director) and David Loud (musical supervisor and vocal/dance arranger).

John Kander, Terrence McNally, Chita Rivera, John Cullum, Ann Reinking and Carl Andress.

–Karissa Krenz

We’re Taking Your Song Suggestions!

November 17, 2011 Comments off

The holidays are upon us, and the folks at The Lillian Booth Actors Home in Englewood, NJ, are gearing up for even more festive versions of their regular sing-alongs – and we’d like you to suggest a song for them to add to their roster of favorites!

These weekly, laid-back gatherings showcase some of The Home’s amazingly talented residents, and one of the group’s regulars, Larry, is one of the most inspiring members of our Actors Fund family. A well-known cabaret singer and pianist for 35 years, he ultimately found himself in a difficult situation, facing the effects of diabetes, back surgery, and two hip replacements. Uninsured, in a wheelchair, unable to work and behind on his rent, Larry turned to The Fund for help. We got him health insurance, physical therapy, and brought him to The Home. Since then his health has improved vastly – he’s out of his wheelchair – and he has become one of the brightest, most engaging members of our community.

Each week, when Larry and the others gather for their lively music-making, they share their creative stories, talents and the healing powers of music, friendship and joy. We’d love for you to be part of the camaraderie by suggesting a song for them to sing! Not only will it remind them that they’re not alone and forgotten this holiday season, but it will also bring a whole new energy to everyone at The Home.

We’ve already had loads of suggestions, and just the first few include “My Favorite Things (sent by Cassandra K.), “Little Drummer Boy” (John M.), “Make Someone Happy” (Phyllis N.), “Baby It’s Cold Outside” (George I.), “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer!” (Lee B.), “White Christmas” (Susan G.), “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” (Maureen M.), “The Christmas Wish from John Denver and The Muppets” (Cotton W.), “Silent Night” (Duane R.), and “The Little Drummer Boy” (Flora S.).

Click here to send your suggestion, and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

The Actors Fund’s Lillian Booth Actors Home is an assisted living and skilled nursing care facility that provides a comfortable living environment on six acres of property in Englewood, New Jersey. Click here to learn more about The Home and its services.

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Don’t Miss Your Chance To Win Tickets to The Visit – starring Chita Rivera & John Cullum – November 30th!

November 10, 2011 Comments off

We’re giving away two free tickets to a very special one-night-only performance of The Visit on November 30 in NYC! A benefit for The Actors Fund and the Vineyard Theatre, Chita Rivera and John Cullum will star in a concert staging of the show by John Kander (music), Fred Ebb (lyrics) and Terrence McNally (book), featuring choreography by Ann Reinking and concert direction by Carl Andress. The acclaimed adaptation of Friedrich Dürrenmatt’s classic 1956 satirical play Der Besuch der alten Dame, which explores greed and revenge, The Visit premiered at Chicago’s Goodman Theatre in 2001, was reprised by The Signature Theatre in 2008 and has never before appeared on Broadway.

Enter via our Facebook page for your chance to win, and while you’re there, tell us which Kander & Ebb musical is your favorite, and why. We’ll tally the votes and let you know which is our fan favorite!

We will contact the winner via email on November 28th, and will announce it on our Facebook page as well. (NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. LEGAL RESIDENTS OF THE 50 UNITED STATES (D.C.) 18 YEARS AND OLDER. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. Sweepstakes ends 11/28/11. For Official Rules, prize descriptions and odds disclosure, visit

In the meantime, if you’d like a little taste of The Visit, check out the clip we discovered of Ms. Rivera’s performance of “Love and Love Alone” from one of her cabaret shows:

If you’d like to purchase tickets for The Visit, go to our event page:

The Schermerhorn & The Actors Fund Arts Center is Officially Open

November 3, 2011 Comments off

Last Tuesday, residents, government officials and representatives of The Actors Fund, Common Ground, and the Center for Urban Community Services (CUCS) gathered in Downtown Brooklyn for The Schermerhorn‘s ribbon-cutting ceremony (check out our highlight video, embedded below!). The celebration featured remarks by the project’s numerous partners and supporters, including Common Ground Executive Director Brenda Rosen, Actors Fund President & CEO Joe Benincasa, Actors Fund Chairman Brian Stokes Mitchell, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Adolfo Carrión, NYC Department of Cultural Affairs Commissioner Kate Levin, CUCS Executive Director Tony Hannigan, and Abby Hamlin of Hamlin Ventures, LLC, who along with Francis Greenberger of Time Equities, Inc., made a gift of the land upon which The Schermerhorn is constructed. The event also featured performances by Schermerhorn residents Brandee Younger, Sheri Sanders, and Mark Frawley, as well as the Brooklyn Ballet, the building’s resident arts organization.

Co-sponsored by The Actors Fund and Common Ground, The Schermerhorn is a new affordable housing community for people in the entertainment industry as well as the formerly homeless and those living with HIV/AIDS (check out our earlier Schermerhorn story here). The Actors Fund Arts Center provides residents and community arts organizations with a state-of-the-art, affordable space for performances, rehearsals, films, exhibitions, and whatever they can dream up for this 2,000 square-foot space. For more information visit

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