Star-Studded Cast Party at Town Hall
By Ellis Nassour
Impresario Scott Siegel strikes again, this time with the masterful M. C. Jim Caruso. Together they’ll will be putting on the ritz – well, certainly one of the ritziest shows with one of the most stellar star lineups in years. The Best of Jim Carouso’s Cast Party, a benefit for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS on February 17 at 8 P.M. at Town Hall, will long be remembered for it’s amazing roster of headliners. And the bargain-priced tkts!
Stars at press time are Lucie Arnaz, Hinton Battle, Klea Blackhurst, William Blake, Natalie Douglas, Jenna Esposito, Larry Gatlin, Hilary Kole, Marilyn Maye, Sally Mayes, Liza Minnelli, Lisa Mordente, Chita Rivera, Christopher Sieber, Aaron Weinstein and Karen Ziemba.
Artists are still being added and, according to Siegel, there’re going to be some surprise guest appearances. "Nope, can’t tell," he states, emphatically. "Top secret!"
However, he does say, "This’ll be the Cast Party of all Cast Parties! The talent onstage is a Who’s Who of show business. Jim and I are proud so many stars stepped up to the plate to perform on behalf of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDs. It’s also the most reasonably-priced, star-studded benefit ever with tickets starting at $25. It’s a bargain beyond measure because where can you see the likes of Broadway royalty Chita, Liza, Karen and Hinton? The icing on the cake will be appearances by Larry, Lucie and Marilyn."
Caruso is a noted song-and-dance man. His Cast Party, an extreme open mic night that showcases impromptu performances by an A-List entertainers and unknowns, has been running Monday nights for eight years at Birdland, NY’s premiere jazz emporium.
Playbill described the evenings as "Starrier than the Hayden Planetarium…a hot spot where Broadway and Hollywood tip, twirl and hit the mic." More recently, Cast Party! became a bi-monthly event at the famed Magic Castle in Hollywood in the shadow of the Kodak complex.
"I’m over the moon presenting these superstars on the Town Hall stage, all in one night," Caruso states. "Everyone I called said ‘Yes.’ That’s a testament to the respect we have for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. I feel like a modern-day Ed Sullivan!
"When will you ever see Liza sharing a stage with Countess Luann of Real Housewives of New York City?" he continues, "or Chita on the same bill as YouTube sensation ‘Miranda Sings’ [the alter ego of comedienne/singer Colleen Ballinger] and ]rock violinist duo] the Dueling Fiddlers [Adam DeGraff/Russell Fallstad]? All we need is Topo Gigio and a plate-spinner or two! I can’t wait to gather our shockingly unique and brilliant cast into one room to thank them all for making a dream come true!"
[Hmmmm, did someone just let a couple of surprise guest stars out of the bag?]
"Jim is, indeed, a modern day Ed Sullivan," claims Siegel. "The only difference is Jim has talent. He’s going to put on a show that won’t be forgotten. The talent line-up is jaw-dropping. The applause will be deafening! Be there or be square."
The Best of Jim Caruso’s Cast Party, part of T.H.’s "Siegel Season," sponsors include ASCAP, TheaterMania.com, Berkshire Theatre Festival Thoroughbred Records and Jill and Irwin Cohen.
Tickets are $25 – $75 and available at the Town Hall box office, through TicketMaster.com or by calling (800) 982-2787.