Actors Fund CEO Joe Benincasa to be Feted at Celebrating 20 Years of Disney on Broadway April 28
By: Ellis Nassour
What a night it will be, and it will be one-night-only, The Actors Fund of America gala benefit Celebrating 20 Years of Disney on Broadway April 28 at the gloriously-restored New Amsterdam, former home of the Ziegfeld Follies and now a Disney’s showcase where multiple Tony and Oscar-winning Alan Menken, (the late) Howard Ashman, and Sir Tim Rice’s Aladdin and the genie are working magic. The evening begins at 7 with a cast party following at the Marriott Marquis.
The event honors one of show business’ most beloved executives, The Actors Fund CEO Joe Benincasa and his 25 years of service overseeing the Fund’s programs which benefit the nationwide theatrical community; and the Walt Disney Company’s contributions to Broadway under Disney Theatricals president Tom Schumacher. They will receive the Medal of Honor, the highest award given by the 132-year old non-profit human services organization.
“I believe so deeply in The Actors Fund, but I also believe so deeply in Joe,” said Actors Fund chair Brian Stokes Mitchell. “He’s an incredible leader because he leads with his heart. He inspires all of us to dream big and do all we can to keep The Fund growing and serving more people in need in our industry every year.”
Entertainment will be production numbers from Disney’s award-winning shows Aida, Beauty and the Beast, (which opened in 1994)The Lion King, The Little Mermaid, Mary Poppins, Newsies, and, of course, Aladdin.
Disney’s new musical comedy, with adapted book from the hit animated film by Chad Beguelin, stars Adam Jacobs [Les Miz, Lion King; Cinderella tour], Tony nominee Jonathan Freeman as Jafar (Mary Poppins, Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, The Producers, She Loves Me and How to Succeed… revivals; voice of Jafar in the film), James Monroe Igleheart as Genie, Courtney Reed as Jasmine, and Tony nominee Clifton Davis as Sultan (Two Gentleman of Verona, Wicked tour; TV’s Amen).
Under Benincasa’s leadership the Actors Fund has expanded its prestige and industry leadership. There’s been the expansion of the Actor’s Home in New Jersey and new health-care facilities in New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. Serving the entire theatrical arena, the Fund assists more than 17,000 professionals annually, and hundreds of thousands online with social service programs, financial assistance, health care and insurance counseling, housing, employment, and training.
Tickets are $100 and $250. For tickets, call (212) 627-1000 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. A limited number of $20 balcony seats go on sale April 7, purchase location TBA. Audiences can continue the celebration with the show’s stars and industry VIPs at the after party. All inclusive tickets start at $1,500 (purchase as above). Special sponsorship packages are also available.