Actors Fund Gala Raises Over $1.2-million for Its Outreach Programs
By Ellis Nassour
Monday’s annual Actors Fund gala, where the Fund’s highest accolade, the Medal of Honor, was bestowed on Emilo and Gloria Estefan and Casey Nicholaw, raised more than $1.2-million for the programs of the national human services organization for show business professionals.
Also honored were Oscar–winning actor, producer, and 1971 Theatre World recipient Michael Douglas, prima ballerina Cynthia Gregory, and NBC entertainment chair and Broadway producer Robert Greenblatt.
Presenting medals to honor their humanitarian and philanthropic work were Emmy winner Rosie O’Donnell to the Estefans; Tony winner Sutton Foster to Tony-winning director/choreographer Nicholaw; Oscar nominee and TACF trustee Annette Bening to Douglas; Tony winner and TACF trustee Bebe Neuwirth to Gregory; and Emmy and Golden Globe winner Tina Fey to Greenblatt.
There were performances from On Your Feet! with stars Ana Villafañe, Omar Lopez-Cepero, Andréa Burns, and a cast of 20 who opened the evening with a rousing medley from the show; DD nominee Megan Hilty, who sang “They Just Keep Moving the Line” from TV’s Smash in honor of Greenblatt — accompanied by Tony and DD-winning composer/co-lyricist Marc Shaiman; and Tony and DD winner James Monroe Iglehart, who performed a jazz version of “A Friend Like Me” from Disney’s Aladdin to Nicholaw — accompanied by AnnBritt DuChateau.
The Actors Fund is under the leadership of president and CEO Joseph Benincasa, chief operating officer Barbara Davis, chief financial officer Connie You, and chief advancement officer Thomas Exton. Brian Stokes Mitchell is TAF chair.
The organization , with offices in New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago, provides a safety net for professionals in film, theater, TV, music, opera, radio, and dance in need, crisis, or transition. The Fund offers a broad spectrum of programs including comprehensive programs in social and health care services, emergency financial assistance, insurance counseling, workshops, housing, training, and employment. TAF also underwrites the Lillian Booth Actor’s Home in Englewood, NJ. For more information, visit www.actorsfund.org.