On Monday, July 30th, 2012, a special presentation of a new through-composed version of CHESS “In Concert” will take over LaGuardia at Lincoln Center — and benefit The Actors Fund. An 80s sensation inspired by the Fischer-Spassky chess matches at the height of the Cold War, Benny Andersson, Tim Rice, and Bjorn Ulvaeus’ CHESS pits American and Russian masters against each other in Merano and Bangkok, where Florence Vassy manages one and falls for the other. This new version, produced and directed by Christopher Martin (founding artistic director of Classic Stage Company), is based on the original Concept Album and virtually all of the London score.
A stellar cast featuring Robert Cuccioli (Tony nominee Jekyll & Hyde, Les Miserables), Natascia Diaz (Capeman, Tick, Tick…BOOM), Drew Sarich (Les Miserables, Rocky), Tamra Hayden, Raymond Jaramillo McLeod, Gus Solomons Jr, and an 18 member ensemble, will also feature musical direction by Valerie Sciarra.
For more information and tickets, visit our website, and for a rundown of the cast and creative, click here. And do you want to be among the first to know about these not-to-be-missed special events that benefit The Actors Fund — and have access to other fantastic perks? Join our email list, or become a member and you’ll be on the list!
The Fund and CHESS have a wonderful history, including a 2003 benefit concert produced by The Fund, which featured an incredible list of Broadway greats, including Josh Groban, Julia Murney, Raúl Esparza, Adam Pascal, Norm Lewis, Sutton Foster, and many others. Check out this video of Julia Murney and Sutton Foster performing “I Know Him So Well.”
The election season is in high gear, and The Actors Fund Work Program’s (AWP) recent e-newsletter took a look at the current state of the U.S. Economy, and how some of AWP‘s participants are using their industry skills in the more traditional work world. One of The Actors Fund‘s many programs and services, AWP assists entertainment industry and performing arts professionals in identifying and finding sideline work and new careers. A comprehensive employment and training program committed to fostering resiliency and self-reliance for industry professionals, AWP also provides a resource for referral of highly skilled and creative workers to the larger employment community.
As the days come closer to both the Republican and Democratic conventions—and of course the November 2012 Presidential election—both parties agree that the state of the United States economy is of primary importance to most voters.
Individuals have different perspectives on the economy and what is of the most relevance: hot topics include the federal budget deficit, the amount of consumer debt and the value of stocks and other investment instruments. For The Actors Fund Work Program (AWP) and its members, though, the most important discussion revolves around jobs, and the availability of both industry and non-industry work that respects creative talents and skills.
In terms of industry work, it really is “a tale of two cities,” or in this case, commercial vs. non-commercial work. On one hand, the commercial end of the entertainment and performing arts industry has weathered the 2008 recession. There has been an increase in both film and TV production, and the commercial theater—especially Broadway—has reported record revenues. On the other hand, the non-commercial sector, whether theatre, dance, opera or music, faces the same fiscal issues as other non-profits, including dramatic decreases in government and private funding, and, in many cases, a downturn in ticket sales.
Ironically, for AWP members, the challenges of earning a living are not directly affected by the state of the entertainment and performing arts economy. Work is always project based. In other words, Broadway shows eventually close, and work on television shows and movies is often short-term. Since competition is keen for most industry jobs, freelance artists continually need to market themselves. Even a symphony orchestra musician, a dancer or singer in a ballet or opera company will experience periods of unemployment. That’s why everyone in entertainment and the performing arts can benefit from The Actors Fund Work Program!
Times have changed in the work world from 10 years ago. While job opportunities in other sectors of the economy vary depending on the region, industry and occupation, we know that to be competitive today, all job seekers need technical and problem solving skills and must show they can be team players. AWP members have gained many of these skills through their industry work, and AWP staff is highly experienced at helping members “translate” these skill sets to many other professions.
We invite you to read our most recent newsletter, where we shine our spotlight on several special individuals and alumni of the program who done just that. We also highlight some of our newer programs.
We also invite you to visit our offices or give us a call. (Our counselors work with members across the country). Or if you’re already a member and haven’t stopped by in a while, then re-connect with us and volunteer your services to help others. Together, our AWP community is here to help you “find the work you love and love the work you find.”
On Monday, July 9th, The Actors Fund’s second annual CelebriTee Golf & Tennis Outing took over the historic Knickerbocker Country Club in Tenafly, New Jersey, and raised more than $50,000 for The Fund! A large group of golfers, led by Event Golf Chair Peter Gallagher, enjoyed a picture-perfect day on the course and tried for the hole-in-one prize: a 2012 Ford Mustang offered by Steve Kalafer of Flemington Car & Truck Country. (Alas, while a number of people got close, nobody made it!) Meanwhile, Event Tennis Chair Liz Callaway fired up the group of tennis players, which included The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess‘s Norm Lewis and Anthony Nunziata.
As the afternoon wrapped up, participants gathered at the clubhouse for a cocktail reception hosted by Peter Gallagher–who shared an anecdote and a song from Guys and Dolls–and his daughter Kathryn, who treated everyone to a beautifully-sung sneak peek of two songs from Lance Horne’s new musical, The Strip.
Thanks to all of our sport-enthusiast participants, as well as the many individuals and organizations who made the day possible, including I.A.T.S.E. Local One, Sardi’s, New York Marriott Marquis, United, Jock and Joan Duncan, MJM Global Insurance, Local 52 Motion Picture Studio Mechanics, Englewood Hospital and Medical Center, Café Edison, Theatrical Wardrobe Union Local 764 I.A.T.S.E., Aspen Medical Associates (Jay Meyerowitz, MD, Joseph Rizzo, MD, Jeff Salizzoni, MD, Karen Lee, MD), Theatrical Teamsters Local 817 IBT Integrated Wealth Management, Mass Mutual, Ryan Labs Asset Management, Partner’s Pharmacy, The Stockbridge Group, Neuberger Berman LLC, Beth and Leonard Wilf, and Charlotte & AJ Pocock.
On May 21st, The Actors Fund’s Annual Gala honored four incredible people for their work in entertainment and social issues: David Steiner and Jerry Stiller & Anne Meara with our Medal of Honor, and Harry Belafonte with The Lee Strasberg Artistic Achievement Award. An array of their friends, family, and admirers participated in the event, and we’re sharing these video highlights from the star-studded evening! Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel, as we’ll be posting the acceptance speeches in their entirety–as well as some other tasty tidbits from the show–throughout the summer! And thanks again to everyone who made the 2012 Gala such a success!