Archive for August, 2012

Stay Tuned: Exciting Benefit Concerts Coming This Fall!

August 30, 2012 Comments off

Raúl Esparza and company in Hair, September 20, 2004, at the New Amsterdam Theatre. Photo by Bruce Glikas/

There are numerous ways The Actors Fund raises the funds we need to help entertainment industry professionals in need–including an array of unforgettable performances and events. In addition to Special Performances and Producer’s Picks tickets to many of the most exciting shows on Broadway, in Los Angeles and on the road, we also–thanks to many incredibly generous and talented individuals–offer our supporters one-night-only benefit concerts, which are often among the most memorable nights of the industry’s season. From The Fund’s earliest days 130 years ago to last year’s presentation of Kander and Ebb’s The Visit starring Chita Rivera and John Cullum with the Vineyard Theatre, these amazing evenings are one of our most unforgettable ways the entertainment community can make sure we’ll always be there for those in need.

Christian Slater and Anne Heche joined an all-star cast for a reading of Casablanca at LA’s Pantages Theatre on October 2, 2005.

Stay tuned to our website, Facebook page, and Twitter feed, because we have  some exciting dates coming this fall, and to be announced post-Labor Day. In the meantime, here are a few photos from a few of our previous benefit concerts, as well as a teaser highlighting some of the the many amazing people who have donated their time and incredible talent to The Fund!

Categories: Uncategorized

Take Our Rahway Artist Housing Survey!

August 23, 2012 Comments off

The empty lot behind this building is the future site of AFHDC’s affordable artist housing in Rahway, NJ.

Last week, The Actors Fund Housing Development Corporation (AFHDC) launched a market study of those in the arts, entertainment and creative industries to determine the feasibility of and interest in affordable housing in Rahway, NJ. The launch event took place at the Hamilton Stage, the newest component of the booming Rahway Arts District (RAD).

This first step–a four-week initiative–is looking for feedback from those working in the arts who live in the region spanning metropolitan New York and central and northern New Jersey. The survey’s results will help shape the Rahway Residence for the Arts, a 69-unit affordable housing project to be developed by the AFHDC. Of course, the more people who take the ten-minute survey, the better, so if you’re interested, visit!

The proposed site is in the middle of the Rahway Arts District, on now-vacant land between the Hamilton Stage and the Union County Performing Arts Center, and only three blocks from Rahway’s New Jersey Transit train station.  The AFHDC development team includes Crawford Street Partners of Newark, NJ, and the Ingerman Group of Cherry Hill, NJ. A former two-story office building located on the site will be donated to the City of Rahway for use as an arts education facility.

Check out some video highlights from the launch (embedded below), which also includes photos of the neighborhood. During the event, attendees learned about AFHDC plans to redevelop the property owned and previously used by Elizabethtown Gas at 210 Central Avenue. The site will include spaces devoted to resident and community cultural use such as rehearsal rooms, galleries, studios, and an arts education facility, in addition to affordable housing for artists.

Along with Actors Fund President and CEO Joe Benincasa and the AFHDC’s Scott Weiner, attendees included leaders of the New Jersey arts community: Leo Vasquez of Rutgers University’s Arts Build Communities; Teya David and Libby Reid of the Union County Cultural & Heritage Commission; and Karen Pinzolo of ArtPride NJ.. Also in attendance were Rachael Faillace, executive director of the Rahway Arts District; Russ Taylor, president and CEO of the RSI Bank in Rahway; and Rahway officials including Samson Steinman, president of Rahway City Council and executive director of the Union County Performing Arts Center and Hamilton Stage, and William Rack of the Rahway Redevelopment Commission. Actors and other artists living and working in the region who would benefit from the availability of affordable housing also attended the event and were among the first to complete the online survey.

In May of this year, the city of Rahway designated the non-profit AFHDC as the redeveloper of the site for the affordable housing project. Together with its development partners, the AFHDC is planning to develop, own and manage affordable rental units for individuals and families with low and moderate incomes. Current plans anticipate construction to begin in 2013.

This is the first step in a community engagement effort that will be documented and shared widely. The survey will close on September 14th, after which the results will be captured in a report and posted on The Actors Fund website.

The Actors Fund Housing portfolio includes The Lillian Booth Actors Home, an assisted living and skilled nursing care facility in Englewood, NJ; as well as affordable supportive housing at The Palm View in West Hollywood, CA; The Dorothy Ross Friedman Residence (formerly The Aurora) in New York City, and The Schermerhorn in Downtown Brooklyn. Additionally, the AFHDC is actively evaluating opportunities for future developments in New York City, Newark, and Los Angeles.

The Actors Fund’s 2011 Annual Report Is Now Available Online!

August 16, 2012 Comments off

We are pleased to present the online release of The Actors Fund 2011 Annual Report, in which we take a look back at our many achievements together! We hope you are as happy as we are with the positive impact your support has made in the lives of our clients.

Last year, 12,811 people were helped by The Fund’s wide variety of essential programs and services. With your help, our coast to coast support of and commitment to the performing arts and entertainment community grows stronger every year.

We encourage you to view the online Annual Report, and to share it with your friends and colleagues. Only with your steadfast support of the arts and The Actors Fund can we provide these valuable resources to maintain a safety net for everyone in entertainment. For your uncommon commitment, we offer you, our entire staff, and all our dedicated volunteers our sincere thanks.

The Fund is “going green!” To save much-needed funds, we have a limited the number of printed reports. To request a hard copy of our Annual Report, please contact David Engelman, Director of Communications at

Categories: Uncategorized

Actors Fund Advocates: Our National Ambassadors

August 9, 2012 Comments off

Actors Fund Trustee Phyllis Newman and National Ambassadors Honorary Chair Angela Lansbury.

There are many friends and fans of The Actors Fund who work tirelessly to spread the word about who we are and what we do. Among the many committees is the incredibly dedicated roster that makes up the National Ambassadors, comprising individuals who want to serve as advocates for The Fund by broadening awareness in the corporate, philanthropic, arts and entertainment communities, speaking about our important work with friends, family, corporate and community colleagues, and organizing special events to generate additional financial support and to introduce prospective individual and corporate donors.

The most recent of these gatherings was hosted by Actors Fund Trustee Phyllis Newman on Monday, July 23rd. Special Guest Angela Lansbury, the National Ambassadors’ Honorary Chair, and Phyllis spoke beautifully about The Fund and why it is vital to support its much needed programs.

NYPL for the Performing Arts Executive Director Jacqueline Davis, Actors Fund Trustee Tom Schumacher and Bob Callely.

We thank Phyllis for hosting, Angela for speaking to our members, and the bakery/café Pie Face (an Australian favorite that has recently opened its first outlet in NYC) for donating the food.

The National Ambassadors is Co-Chaired by Peter Gallagher and Suzyn Waldman, and welcome individuals who are interested in serving as advocates for The Actors Fund by  such as Monday’s,  For more information on how you can be involved, please contact Barbara Toy, Director of Individual Giving at 212.221.7300 x108 or

All photos by Jamie Liles.

Angela Lansbury with In the Spotlight member Thomas Teeple and guest Maria Torresy.

LA’s Valley Days Make Connecting With The Fund Easier!

August 2, 2012 Comments off

AWP Western Region Director John Mattson and Career Counselor Karen Hanen.

One of The Actors Fund‘s most popular offerings in Los Angeles are the monthly Valley Days events, held in partnership with Local 80 IATSE, Motion Picture Studio Grips/Crafts Service in Burbank. Realizing that many of those in the entertainment community living in Southern California were finding it difficult to travel the long distances to The Fund’s Hollywood office — especially as gas prices increased —  in 2009 The Fund started looking for a partner to host our staff off site, so we could bring our services to a wider audience. The folks at Local 80 immediately stepped up to offer free use of their Burbank soundstage and meeting rooms, and worked to spread the word.

AWP Career Counselor Joanne Webb; Catherine Grooms, Assistant Director of the Small Business Development Center at College of the Canyons, and Tora Brown, President of Tora Brown Public Relations.

Events have a special theme, such as the most recent Valley Days special summer forum and afternoon picnic on July 26, “Building Your Business: Social Networking and Beyond.” More than 70 people gathered to glean some wisdom from Beverly Macy, CEO of Gravity Summit, LLC, in Beverly Hills, who focused on social media and personal branding, and Tora Brown, Business Advisor with SBDC College of the Canyons and President of Tora Brown Public Relations, who shared information on marketing, branding, and communication strategies for small businesses.

Valley Days also features “Networking Breakfasts” through The Actors Fund Work Program (AWP), which hosts larger groups than was ever possible before — often attracting 100 to 150 attendees. The breakfasts have featured dynamic speakers on marketing, social networking, internet research and the use of professional networking sites like Afternoon sessions have included workshops on managing cash flow for artists, job seeking skills and resume writing. And throughout the day, The Actors Fund provides individual counseling appointments for information on social services, emergency financial assistance and health insurance.

AWP Career Counselor Joanne Webb, Actors Fund Western Region Director Keith McNutt and Gravity Summit CEO Beverly Macy.

Thanks to the incredible generosity of Local 80 IATSE, our colleagues who live in the San Fernando Valley not only have easy access to our services, but also have a place to gather and support each other as a community of performing arts and entertainment professionals. Because of this incredible success, we’re always looking for new venues and partnerships that would enable us to expand the reach of our services even further. If you’re interested in donating space and becoming one of our partners, please contact the Los Angeles office at 323.933.9244.

And for more on upcoming Valley Days events, visit our website.

All photos by Scott Appel.