Archive for December, 2012

Our 2012 Matching Gift Challenge Has Been Extended!

December 26, 2012 Comments off


Happy holidays to all of you from everyone at The Actors Fund! As 2012 wraps, we thought we’d share this special message from Actors Fund Chairman Brian Stokes Mitchell about an incredibly generous end-of-year matching gift challenge, which has just been extended!

456re2012 has been an exciting year at The Actors Fund – our programs are helping more people in the arts and entertainment industry than ever before, and our housing facilities continue providing shelter for so many who might otherwise struggle to keep a roof over their head.

But there’s always more we can do.

When I think of all the people who may spend the holidays worried about how they will make ends meet, it breaks my heart:  injured dancers, laid off technicians, sick actors who must choose between buying food or medicine.

Won’t you help us be their lifeline?

Thanks to the generosity of a fellow member of The Actors Fund, every online donation made between now and December 31 will be matched – up to a total of $25,000! 

This matching gift couldn’t come at a more critical time.  You see, in the past few years, the number of people turning to The Fund for help has increased by 34%.

We are committed to being the safety-net for everyone in entertainment – whether they work on stage or behind-the-scenes – but we need your help!

So please, I urge you to make a year-end donation todayYour gift will double to help more struggling people who work in the arts!

Thank you in advance for giving our lifesaving programs an incredible boost. Time is running out! Donate by December 31 and double the impact of your gift.

Brian Stokes Mitchell, Chairman of the Board

And to make your holdays a little brighter, we thought we’d share the links to special Stokes treats from two recent appearances on CBS New York’s Live from the Couch. He chatted about his new album, Simply Broadway, and The Fund on December 7, and on December 20 he sang one of our holiday favorites, “The Christmas Song.”

All best wishes for a safe and happy 2013!

Categories: Uncategorized

Celebrating Our In The Spotlight Members At The Geffen

December 20, 2012 Comments off


Celebrating the season with our generous donors (l-r): Fund President & CEO Joe Benincasa, ITS Member Helen Funai Erickson, Guest, Fund Western Region Director Keith McNutt and Fund Western Council Member Barbara Allyne Bennet.

On December 13, The Actors Fund threw a very special thank-you celebration for our In The Spotlight (ITS) members at Los Angeles’s Geffen Playhouse. ITS members were treated to a buffet-style dinner and then stayed to watch A Coney Island Christmas, written by Pulitzer Prize winner Donald Marguiles, directed by Bart Delorenzo, and based on the Grace Paley short story “The Loudest Voice.”

Our supporters had such a wonderful time, we thought we’d share some of the photos from the party! We’d also like to extend a special thank-you to everyone at The Geffen for welcoming our donors and for their continued partnership, as well as Regina Miller, The Geffen’s Chief Development Officer.

Happy Holidays to our generous donors and everyone in our community!


(l-r): Joe Benincasa, ITS Members Alley Mills & Orson Bean, and Fund Western Council Member John Bowab.


Our In The Spotlight members enjoyed dinner at The Geffen.


(l-r):  Barbara Allyne Bennet, Fund Membership Manager Meg Thomas and Keith McNutt.


(l-r): ITS Members Gregg & Debbie Oppenheimer with Fund Western Council Member James Karen, his wife Alba Francesca and Keith McNutt.


Meg Thomas, Charlotte Rae (who performed to a sold-out crowd at the Pantages for our recent Musical Monday) and Fund National Events Director Louie Anchondo.


(l-r): John Bowab, Meg Thomas and Charlotte Rae.


(l-r): Jane Kean (who recently performed to a sold-out crowd for our Musical Monday at the Pantages, Meg Thomas and Guest.


The Geffen’s Chief Development Officer Regina Miller welcomes guests.


(l-r): ITS Member Eunice David, Guest and Joe Benincasa.

Our lives are enriched every day through the exciting and important work of professionals in performing arts and entertainment (like the artists who appear each season at The Geffen). But very few of them have full time employment or the supports – such as health insurance – that so many of us count on.

With the help of generous members and donors like our In the Spotlight members, The Actors Fund can help our community in times of need or crisis – and you can enjoy terrific membership benefits.

Play a leading role by joining In The Spotlight, The Actors Fund Premiere Giving Society!

Visit our website to learn more!

Happy Holidays!

Musical Monday in LA: Anne Jeffreys, Jane Kean, Pat Marshall, Patricia Morison & Charlotte Rae

December 13, 2012 Comments off


Clockwise from top left: Pat Marshall, Anne Jeffreys, Jane Kean, Patricia Morison and Charlotte Rae. Photo: Scott Appel.

On Monday night, five Grandes Dames of musical theatre with over 357 years of experience between them – Anne Jeffreys, Jane Kean, Pat Marshall, Patricia Morison and Charlotte Rae – joined together to present our latest Musical Monday event at Los Angeles’ historic Pantages Theater: Ladies of an Indeterminate Age. These fantastically talented Ladies performed favorite songs from their legendary careers, shared anecdotes about their co-stars, directors and composers, and even strayed a bit to share tales of their wicked (or not-so-wicked) adventures in the great tradition of No Business Like Show Business.

Among the 20 musical selections presented during the evening were standards from the women’s numerous combined hits such as “Getting to Know You,” “I Feel a Song Coming On,” How Are Things in Glova Morra,” Before The Parade Passes By,” “Hello, Young Lovers,” “The Man I Love,” “That’s All I Ask of You,” and Brush Up On Your Shakespeare.” reported:

Jane Kean remarked, “My mother always dreamed of my appearing at the Pantages … Well mother, at least I made it to the lobby.” Patricia Morison shared how she was fired from her first job, but cried so hard, they gave her a walk on.” Pat Marshall joked about her numerous relationships, but added that they resulted in her greatest achievements with five children and eight grand-children as well s great-grandchildren. Dripping in enough faux diamonds to make Carol Channing jealous, Anne Jeffreys expressed her only regret was her ill fated perfomance in the title role of Jerry Herman‘s Mame, scheduled to open … and subsequently closed … on September 11, 2001 after 19 hijackers took control of four commercial airliners. Charlotte Rae, whose height gave levity to the evening as she playfully battled with lowering the performance mic shared with her taller companions said, “I seem to be shrinking … but I’m still above ground.”

The Pantages’ glorious art deco lobby absolutely shimmered during this evening of nostalgia, and we thought we’d share some of the photos from this wonderful event! Thanks again to these amazing actors for so generously giving their time and talents to support The Actors Fund!


Fund President Joseph Benincasa greeted guests, and showed off our specially designed Christopher Radko holiday ornament! Photo: Scott Appel.


Fund Western Region Director Keith McNutt was also on hand to welcome our guests. Photo: Scott Appel.


Senior VP of the Wells Fargo foundation Jonathan Weedman welcomed the crowd. Wells Fargo was a generous sponsor of the evening. Photo: Scott Appel.


Evening’s co-producer, director and moderator John Bowab (also a member of our Western Council) quipped of our Ladies: “They have over 357 years of successful theatre between them!” Photo: Scott Appel.


Charlotte Rae. Photo: Scott Appel.


Charlotte donated a signed CD for auction from The Threepenny Opera, 1954 Off-Broadway production, where she played Mrs. Peachum! Photo: Scott Appel.


Anne Jeffreys. Photo: Scott Appel.


Anne donated a signed DVD of the November 26, 1955 televised production of Rodgers & Hart’s Dearest Enemy, in which she co-starred with Cyril Ritchard, Robert Sterling, and Cornelia Otis Skinner. Photo: Scott Appel.


Pat Marshall. Photo: Scott Appel.


Pat donated a signed DVD of the 1947 MGM musical Good News, in which she co-starred with June Allyson, Peter Lawford, Mel Tormé, and Joan McCracken.


Jane Kean had the audience in stitches, remarking of her appearance at our Musical Monday in the beautiful Pantages Theatre lobby: “My mother always dreamed of my appearing at the Pantages … Well mother, at least I made it to the lobby.” Photo: Scott Appel.


Our beautiful Ladies of an Indeterminate Age. Photo: Scott Appel.


Evening’s co-producer (and our Western Council member) Martin Wiviott with Ruta Lee & Webb Lowe. Photo: Scott Appel.


“Facts of Life” reunion! Geri Jewell and Charlotte Rae. Photo: Scott Appel.


Clockwise from upper left: Anne Jeffreys, Nick Verros, Jane Kean, Pat Marshall, Patricia Morison and Charlotte Rae. Photo: Scott Appel.


Clockwise from upper left: Anne Jeffreys, Daniel Sheehan III, Jane Kean, Pat Marshall, Patricia Morison and Charlotte Rae. Photo: Scott Appel.


Clockwise from upper left: Anne Jeffreys, Western Council member Budd Friedman, Jane Kean, Pat Marshall, Patricia Morison and Charlotte Rae. Photo: Scott Appel.


Clockwise from upper left: Nancy Dussault, Geri Jewell, Mary Jo Catlett, Karen Morrow, Jane Kean, Pat Marshall, Patricia Morison, Charlotte Rae and Anne Jeffreys. Photo: Scott Appel.


Front row l-r: Anne Jeffreys, Charlotte Rae, Patricia Morison, Pat Marshall & Jane Kean. Back row l-r: Western Council Member Martin Wiviott, Fund President Joe Benincasa, Western Council Member B. Harlan Boll, Fund Western Region Director Keith McNutt, Trustee Kate Edelman Johnson, Western Council Member David Rambo, Western Council Member Barbara Allyne Bennet, Events Director Louie Anchondo, Western Council Member John Bowab, Guest & Trustee Jomarie Ward. Photo: Scott Appel


Clockwise from upper left: Martin Wiviott, Pat Marshall, Anne Jeffreys, Jane Kean, John Bowab, Patricia Morison and Charlotte Rae. Photo: Scott Appel.


Our co-producers joined by Ms. Jeffreys! Martin Wiviott, Anne Jeffreys and John Bowab. Photo: Scott Appel.


Anne Jeffreys and John Bowab. Photo: Scott Appel.


Fund President Joseph P. Benincasa, Anne Jeffreys, and Fund Trustee Kate Edelman Johnson. Photo: Scott Appel.


Anne Jeffreys, Jonathan Weedman and Ruta Lee. Photo: Scott Appel.


Western Council member David Rambo with Fund Events & Membership Manager Meg Thomas. Photo: Scott Appel.

Categories: Uncategorized

Questions about the new health exchanges? The Actors Fund is set to help!

December 6, 2012 Comments off

We recently asked our own Jim Brown, The Actors Fund‘s National Director of Health Services, to explain how the health exchange portion of the new Affordable Care Act would work, and tell us what The Fund was doing to ensure everyone in entertainment can take best possible advantage of the new law. He wrote this helpful article for us, which we’ve shared with some of the entertainment unions–and now with you! If you have questions, or would like to know more about how the Affordable Care Act is going to affect you, we’re here to help!

By Jim Brown, The Actors Fund's National Director of Health Services

By Jim Brown, The Actors Fund’s National Director of Health Services

Since the Supreme Court decided to uphold most of the Affordable Care Act (otherwise known as the ACA, or “Obamacare”), it seems a good idea to take a closer look at one of its most important provisions: the health insurance Exchanges, which come online in 2014. These should prove useful for members of the entertainment community who find themselves without union or employer coverage.

But how do you actually sign up with one of the health insurance exchanges? The insurance companies who offer plans on these new exchanges will set up programs called Navigators to help the public to do just that. The types of organizations eligible to become Navigators include unions and community nonprofits like The Actors Fund.

Navigators will be trained in insurance options, eligibility requirements, benefit specifications and enrollment. They will also inform enrollees of public programs for which they may be eligible. In addition, the final blueprint for the Exchanges includes a group called “in-person assistors” who will be available to guide consumers in a one-on-one setting.

Access to the insurers on the Exchange will also be available through state-specific websites that will allow on-line comparison of plans, explanations of benefits and applications. It should be noted that similar websites currently exist for the performing arts and entertainment community.

Since 1998, The Actors Fund has operated the Artists Health Insurance Resource Center website ( assisting actors, musicians and other artists and entertainment professionals in finding affordable health insurance and, if they are unable to get it, income-based healthcare at community clinics. The Actors Fund’s social workers and health insurance professionals also counsel our community about their health insurance options, produce educational materials, offer union seminars, and maintain a comprehensive Internet database of health insurance and health care resources.

To provide direct care to the uninsured, The Fund operates the only full-time free clinic for the uninsured in New York City, the Al Hirschfeld Free Health Clinic, at which every patient is tested for eligibility for health insurance programs. In addition, The Fund collaborates with MusiCares and the Venice Family Clinic to offer low-cost medical services twice monthly to low-income musicians, dancers, actors and others at the Performing Artists’ Medical Clinic in Los Angeles.

This experience makes The Actors Fund uniquely qualified to become a Navigator, particularly for entertainment union members who have not earned eligibility for health benefits. To that end, The Fund has contacted the New York Department of Health and the California Health Benefits Exchange and requested designation as a Navigator for the performing and visual arts community. It is expected that the selection process will begin by the end of 2012.

Together with the entertainment industry unions, The Fund has established a Task Force on the Affordable Care Act’s implementation, with representatives from all the entertainment industry unions. It is focusing on two issues: union support for The Fund to become a Navigator organization for the creative community, and the need for an ongoing dialog among industry unions on the effects of the ACA on union benefit plans. The Fund’s goal is to inform the creative community about how to obtain health insurance coverage through the new exchange system. As of early October, the Task Force has met twice and will continue to meet regularly until full implementation of ACA on January 1, 2014, and then on an as-needed basis as the exchange system is rolled out.

Our goal is to have everyone in our creative community insured with a comprehensive affordable quality health plan within the next 15 months. For more information, visit or

Categories: Uncategorized

In honor of World AIDS Day 2012

December 1, 2012 Comments off

In honor of World AIDS Day 2012, The Actors Fund salutes people around the world living with HIV/AIDS. We cherish and celebrate those that we have lost to the epidemic.

We also pay tribute to the work of our HIV/AIDS Initiative teams in Los Angeles and New York for all they do every day to serve those living with HIV/AIDS in the entertainment community from coast to coast.


In our Los Angeles Office, l-r: Western Region Director Keith McNutt, M.P.P., L.C.S.W.; HIV/AIDS Initiative Supervisor Jan-Kees Van Der Gaag, L.C.S.W.; Ze’ev Korn, L.C.S.W.; Joey Shanley, M.S.W.; and Intern Julie Doran.

In our New York Office, l-r: Thomas Lorio, L.M.S.W.; Marjorie Roop, L.C.S.W.; and Supervisor of The Fund's HIV/AIDS Initiative Kenton Curtis L.C.S.W..

In our New York Office, l-r: Thomas Lorio, L.M.S.W.; Marjorie Roop, L.C.S.W.; and Supervisor of The Fund’s HIV/AIDS Initiative Kenton Curtis L.C.S.W. Not pictured: Elizabeth Avedon, L.C.S.W. and A. Barrett Gray, L.C.S.W..

We also have a very special place in our hearts for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, whose enthusiasm for and commitment to our work helps us help everyone in entertainment.

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. Please contact us if you or someone you know is in need of assistance. Visit