A Star-Studded Concert to Save the Historic Actors Temple
By Ellis Nassour
Artists from Broadway, Off Broadway, and cabaret starred in A Salute the Actors Temple, a musical celebration to benefit the historic Actors Temple at 339 West 47th Street, between Eighth and Ninth Avenues, on Sunday [November 21]. Photography By Barry Gordin
The headliners were Raissa Katona Bennett, Christina Bianco, Len Cariou, Douglas J. Cohen, Eric Comstock and Barbara Fasano, Jamie deRoy, Beth Fowler, Anita Gillette, Jackie Hoffman, George S. Irving, Alice Levine, Kurt Peterson, Wade Preston, Steve Ross, Cheryl Stern, Martin Vidnovic, and Sal Viviano. Dennis Buck was music director. Randie Levine-Miller, in addition to opening the benefit with a song, was producer. Theatrical producer Carol Ostrow and Mike Libien were among those helping to underwrite the event.
"There’s so much history at the Actors Temple," says Levine-Miller, "but it’s not the well- heeled or solvent organization it used to be. The temple had some legendary names in show business, a virtual Who’s Who, as members."
They include Al Jolson, Sophie Tucker, Eddie Cantor, Jack Benny, Milton Berle, Alan King, Sandy Koufax, Shelley Winters, Red Buttons, Henny Youngman, Edward G. Robinson, Joe E. Lewis, and Joey Adams. The latest new member is Jackie Hoffman, who was recently wed there. Actors Temple president Dan Feld and Rabbi Jill Hausman welcomed guests.
"It’s wonderful so many talented people of different faiths are coming together to lend their talents in support of the synagogue," said Rabbi Hausman. "It’s been a part of the Broadway community’s history since 1923. Talent from vaudeville, cabaret, television, and the theater made the synagogue home, but the temple has always been a place of acceptance for all. With this event, we’re building on that legacy and bringing the synagogue into a new era so we can continue to be a place of service, creativity, connection, and spiritual growth."
An after-party followed at Tony’s Di Napoli, Times Square.