The Actors Fund‘s Lillian Booth Actors Home in Englewood, NJ, is a very special community of unique individuals–people who have dedicated a major portion of their professional lives to performing arts and entertainment. In addition to numerous creative activities, the residents are regularly visited by people who take time out of their busy schedules to bring a little entertainment and friendship to those living at The Home, who — in turn — love to share their fascinating stories with their younger compatriots.
On Valentine’s Day, three cast members from Mamma Mia‘s Broadway Company (Thomasina Gross, Jacob Pinion, and Sydni Beaudoin) joined residents for a lively Question and Answer session. Gathered in The Home’s MusiCares Salon, the trio shared their experiences as current Broadway performers, and asked the older generation to share some of their wisdom. It was — indeed — a fun, informative afternoon! Thanks to Thomasina, Jacob and Sydni for making the Q&A an especially memorable one!
A few days later, on February 20, 11 dancers from New York City’s Broadway Dance Center traveled across the Hudson to visit The Home. The magnificent performers danced to a variety of jazz pieces, impressing the residents with their abilities and keeping them thoroughly entertained. We thank all of them for their time–and for sharing their talents with us!
For more on The Lillian Booth Actors Home, visit our website. And if you’re interested in performing or volunteering at The Home (there are numerous ways you can help!) visit The Fund’s Volunteer Opportunities page to learn more!
On Monday evening, composer Frank Wildhorn returned to the historic art deco lobby of Los Angeles’s Pantages Theatre for a very special edition of The Actors Fund’s Musical Mondays. Wildhorn actually got his theatrical start in that very lobby in 1988, when the Nederlanders heard him play there and decided to bring him to New York. He wrote Jekyll & Hyde and Scarlet Pimpernel, and the rest, as they say, is history!
Wildhorn led Monday night’s spectacular show, which featured performances of his work by Deborah Cox (Jekyll & Hyde, Aida), Janet Decal (Wonderland, In The Heights), Lisa Datz (The Full Monty, Hedwig and The Angry Inch), Carly Robyn Green (Recording Artist), Sam Harris (star of TV, theatre and recordings), Clint Holmes (Las Vegas headliner), Tracy Miller (Hairspray, Dracula) and Teal Wicks (Jekyll & Hyde, Wicked). They entertained the crowd with songs from some of Frank’s shows, including The Scarlet Pimpernel, Jekyll & Hyde, Wonderland, The Civil War, Victor/Victoria and Bonnie & Clyde, as well as some of his pop hits, such as the chart-topping “Where do Broken Hearts Go,” made famous by the late, great Whitney Houston.
This was one of the first times Wildhorn has performed his own songs in Los Angeles, and we’re incredibly honored that he chose to do it as a benefit for The Fund! And a special thank you to Western Council Members John Bowab and Marty Wiviott for kicking off the evening! It was such a fabulous event, we thought we’d share a few images with you!
All photos by Scott Appel.
On March 4, an all-star cast will take part in a benefit reading of Our Town for The Actors Fund. Directed by Peter Flynn, the cast includes Tony Nominee Celia Keenan-Bolger (Peter and the Starcatcher, The Glass Menagerie) as Emily Webb; Tony Nominee Rebecca Luker (The Secret Garden, The Music Man) as Mrs. Webb; and Tony Winner Adriane Lenox (Doubt, Chicago) as Mrs. Gibbs. Additionally, Tony winners Blythe Danner and BD Wong will share the role of the Stage Manager, and the evening will also feature Leslie Odom, Jr. as George Gibbs, Martin Moran as Simon Stimson, and Julia Murney as Mrs. Soames. And keep checking actorsfund.org for casting updates!
In a statement, Wilder’s nephew and literary executor, Tappan Wilder, said: “My uncle loved actors — he was an actor himself, you know — and he was mighty proud to have written a popular large-cast play that provided his fellows with so many jobs! What a great pleasure it is to partner with The Actors Fund, which Thornton Wilder supported throughout his life, on the occasion of a major milestone in the history of his most famous work”
Our Town will take place at 7:30 PM at the Gerald R. Lynch Theatre at John Jay College, and all proceeds from the reading benefit The Actors Fund‘s programs and services. Tickets are $75, $100, and $150. For information and to purchase tickets, visit actorsfund.org or call (212) 221-7300, ext. 133.
We’d like to take a moment to thank Palm Beach Dramaworks — as well as its leaders Managing Director Sue Ellen Beryl and Producing Artistic Director Bill Hayes (who are also Actors Fund National Ambassadors) — which recently launched a month of fundraising activities for The Actors Fund in conjunction with their production of Lorraine Hansberry’s acclaimed drama, A Raisin in the Sun.
Directed by Seret Scott, Palm Beach Dramaworks’ production features Joniece Abbott-Pratt, Shirine Babb, Mekiel Benjamin, Pat Bowie, Kyle Barrett, Marckenson Charles, Lanardo Davis, Ethan Henry, Dave Hyland, Mcley LaFrance, Jordan Tisdale and Joshua Valbrun.
The Fund’s link to A Raisin in the Sun is a strong one, as the show’s Broadway producer, Philip Rose, lived at the Lillian Booth Actors Home in Englewood (with his wife, Doris Belack Rose), as did Claudia McNeil, who starred as family matriarch Lena Younger in both the Broadway and film productions of the play — as well as a 1981 musical version.
For more on this very special partnership, check out this story from The Palm Beach Daily News. To purchase tickets to Palm Beach Dramaworks production of A Raisin in the Sun, which runs through March 3, 2013, visit the theatre’s website.