Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Swinging on a Star at the Abingdon Theatre Company's Gala

On Monday October 7th, I had the immense privilege of singing the opening number for the Abingdon Theatre Company's annual gala. In fact, I sang the theme song to the evening: Swinging on a Star.

The divine Dick Cavett hosted the event, which honored legendary stage actress Frances Sternhagen who originated the role of Ethel in "On Golden Pond" and played the feisty Miss Daisy onstage in "Driving Miss Daisy" (before both plays were made into films). Most kids of my generation will know her as Bunny MacDougal, Trey's mischievous mother on 'Sex and the City."

I was trippin because I had watched Dick Cavett's interviews with Janis Joplin (to play her for Hell's Belles), and it was surreal to be on the same stage with him. He was a master craftsman!

My friend, Michael, who was my date for the evening, had seen Frances perform with Cherry Jones in "The Heiress" on Broadway in 1995 (below). Both ladies won Tony Awards for their work in that play, and it was amazing to be at the gala with them.

The gala was directed by the fabulous Donald Brenner, who was also my director this summer for the NYMF production of "Sasquatched! the Musical."

It was such a pleasure to collaborate with Don again.

I was also fortunate to make music again with Joshua Zecher-Ross. He was the magical music director from "Sasquatched!" and kept the gala groovin the entire night. ;)

Joshua is off-the-charts talented and such a card! 

Jan Buttram, the gorgeous gal in gold below (on the far right), is the artistic director for the Abingdon, and she kicked off the night with Managing Director, Heather Henderson. These two ladies have so much fire-power, they are amazing!

2 other ladies were honored for their commitment to the mission of the Abingdon Theatre Company: actress Sheila Ball Burkert (1st from left), founding director of the Act II...Gether Troupe for girls ages 7-14, and Barbara Blair Randall, President of the Fashion Center Business Improvement District (3rd from left). I had the pleasure of introducing Sheila, as well as some of the girls from her troupe, and it was inspirational to hear of these young ladies finding and empowering their voices through theatre.

I met many of the Board of Directors for Abingdon, and it was an honor to be in the midst of such a collaborative spirit!

The cherry on the cake of the evening was meeting Cherry Jones (above left with Jan). She is taking Broadway by storm with her portrayal of Amanda Wingfield in "The Glass Menagerie," and I have long respected the exquisite quality of her work. To meet her in person was incredible! She was so gracious and kind and generous. I hope our paths cross again and we get to work together.

Anything can happen! There is magic in the air! "You could be swingin'... on a star!" ;)

Thanks to Joseph Marzullo/WENN for and Genevieve Rafter Keddy for Broadway World, who took pro pix of the gala.

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