Two Actors Fund Benefit Concerts Will Honor Barbara Siegel at the Metropolitan Room on January 27th at 7pm & 9:30pm
By: Patrick Christiano
Drama Desk Award recipient, Barbara Siegel, will be honored at two separate Actors Fund Benefit Concerts with a celebration that includes an all-star cast of performers on January 27 at the Metropolitan Room on West 22th Street just West of Fifth Avenue. Tony Award winner, Alice Ripley, is the latest addition to the line-up of Tony and Drama Desk nominees and award winning talents that include Emily Skinner, Beth Leavel, Chuck Cooper, Mary Testa, Robert Cuccioli, Julie Halston, Josh Young, Alison Fraser, Christian Bianco and many more.
The evening is shaping up to be an overwhelming love fest for Barbara Siegel, a dedicated journalist, who has served on the Drama Desk nominating committee the past 18 years. As the chair of that committee for the last 12 years she has worked tirelessly often more than 80 hours a week to accomplish her goal of setting the highest possible standards for the committee.
I know from my first-hand experience of serving under Barbara for two seasons on the Drama Desk Nominating Committee that her contributions to the Drama Desk were performed in a relentless effort to make the Drama Desk nominating committee a thoroughly all-inclusive group of dedicated professions, who under her guidance took the task of selecting six nominees in more than 26 categories with the upmost seriousness. Working as a team her members often attended in excess of 400 shows a season to accomplish the mission with an inspiring zealousness that few other committees could aspire. Their fearless discussions, which I participated in, I am sure have no match amongst other nominating committees.
We were always uncompromising in the lengths we went to in our labor to be fair and inclusive, while discussing the myriad of potential nominees. Barbara remained steadfast in her quest to be certain no person or group was overlooked or underestimated in the process even though the demands were often awe-inspiring. We persisted and admired her strength to ask the very best from each of her committee members. This same effort went into the selection of her members as well.
The outpouring of support for Barbara Siegel by performers and colleagues required a second show to accommodate all those wanting to attend. The 7 PM show is sold out with a waiting list, however, the added 9:30 PM still has seats available now. I suggest you RSVP as soon as possible not to miss out on a one time happening. All of the performers are Tony and/or Drama Desk nominees and/or winners.
Just before putting this brief piece to bed, I called Barbara to chat about the evening looking for a quote about how she felt with so many of her friends from the entertainment arena coming together to honor her, the musical performers comprising the smallest part, yet ironically making the biggest effort by performing as a tribute to her and the Actors Fund. She in her characteristic manner thought about my question while we spoke and at the end said this “The wildly talented performers singing in these two Actors Fund benefits are extraordinarily generous. I am deeply moved that these impressive musical theater artists are performing in my honor; it is something I will always treasure.”
The lineup of stars and which show they are singing in is listed below with still more stars being added to the 9:30 PM show.
Performing at the 7 PM Show
Stephen Bogardus – Tony Nominee, Drama Desk Nominee
Chuck Cooper – Tony Award Winner, Drama Desk Nominee
Robert Cuccioli – Tony Award Nominee, Drama Desk Nominee
Lisa Howard – Tony Award Nominee, Drama Desk Honoree
Beth Leavel – Tony Award Winner, Drama Desk Nominee
Karen Mason – Drama Desk Nominee
Luba Mason – Drama Desk Nominee
Jeff McCarthy – Drama Desk Nominee
Jenny Powers – Drama Desk Nominee
Ryan Silverman – Drama Desk Nominee
Mary Testa – 2X Tony Nominee, Drama Desk Honoree
Josh Young – Tony Nominee
Performing at the 9:30 PM Show (so far)
Christina Bianco – 2X Drama Desk Nominee
John Bolton – Drama Desk Nominee
Jim Brochu – Drama Desk Winner + Additional Drama Desk Nominee
Alison Fraser – 2X Tony Nominee, Drama Desk Nominee
Jason Graae – Drama Desk Nominee
Julie Halston – 3X Drama Desk Nominee
Julia Murney – 2X Drama Desk Nominee
Alice Ripley – Tony Winner, Tony Nominee, 2X Drama Desk Nominee
Emily Skinner – Tony Nominee, Drama Desk Nominee
Bob Stillman – 2X Tony Nominee, Drama Desk Nominee
Josh Young – Tony Nominee
and more! [casts subject to change]
Tickets are $30 plus a two-drink minimum
To Reserve your seats call: 212-206-0440
The Metropolitan Room is located at: 34 W 22nd St, New York, NY 10010
The 7 PM Concert is Sponsored by Dr. Stu Chassen, Edwin & Doris Cohen, Dr. & Mrs. Ken Schneider, and Anonymous.
The 9:30 PM Concert is Sponsored by Dr. Stu Chassen, Anonymous, Carolyn Montgomery- Forant, Robert Aaron & Stuart Bloom, Steve Phillips