Stars Turn Out for November 18 4th Annual Actors’ Temple Benefit
By: Ellis Nassour
A star-studded musical celebration, the 4th Annual Best of Broadway & Cabaret to benefit the Actors’ Temple [339 West 47th Street, between Eighth and Ninth Avenue], the historic theater district landmark that has been a welcoming home to show business Jews, their family, and friends, will take place Monday, November 18 at 7 P.M.
The rooster of participating talent includes Tony and Drama Desk nominee Stephen Bogardus, Bernard Dotson [Finian’s Rainbow, original Ragtime], Tony and Drama Desk nominee Beth Fowler, Deborah Grausman [An Evening with Alan Menken; recent Fiddler tour], comic demon Jackie Hoffman, concert artist Valerie Lemon, Dana Lorge [Grind], William Michals [LCT South Pacific revival], Broadway veteran Barbara Minkus, Mark Nadler, Tony and Drama Desk nominee Lee Roy Reams, Camille Saviola [original Nine], TV star Lauren Schaffel, comedy legend Marilyn Sokol, 70s TV and recording sensation Karen Wyman, and numerous others. Paul Chamlin will musical direct.
Hosting and producing the event for the fourth year is Randie Levine-Miller, who says, "I can truly say the stars are coming out for this fundraiser to help our beloved Actors’ Temple. We’re so very grateful to these performers for donating their talents and time. There’ll be comedy and songs from ‘The Jewish-American Songbook.’"
Levine-Miller explains that the inspiration for Monday’s event was what the a legendary show business entertainer did. "Tem
ple member, Sophie Tucker, one of the era’s biggest names, would get the Shubert brothers [now Shubert Organization] to donate a theater and she’d produce an annual show. They were sell-outs and the money raised would help pay temple expenses. It didn’t hurt that she called on some friends, also Temple members, such as Jack Benny, Milton Berle, Eddie Cantor, George Jessel, Al Jolson, and Henny Youngman.
"Now,"she continues, "we draw on top-caliber Broadway and cabaret stars and create a swell party as well as a mitzvah."
[Other show business legend members were Red Buttons, Joe E. Lewis, Tony Martin, the Ritz Brothers, Edward G. Robinson, and Shelley Winters. In addition, membership included sports legend Sandy Koufax and broadcast legend William B. Williams.]
Rabbi Jill Hausman said: "We’re hoping this year’s benefit will help us to restore the beautiful stained glass windows." Temple President, Robert Reicher added: "Our goal is to restrengthen our ties to the theater community and restore our shul to its original beauty, as it was when Sophie Tucker, Jack Benny and Al Jolson were members."
Concert-only tickets are $125; concert and post VIP Cast party/dinner, at Times Square’s legendary Tony’s di Napoli restaurant, $275. Patron tickets are $1,000, which includes two premium concert tickets, the post party, as well as fine dining for two at a noted New York restaurant.
Book tickets with credit cards at www.theactorstemple.org; firstname.lastname@example.org; or by calling (212) 362-3616. Arrive early for ticket pick-up. Donations are tax deductible.
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