Bill Cosby, Chita Rivera & Mark Nadler Lead 20 Year Anniversary Gala of ART START
ART START, an organization dedicated to providing creative arts to transform New York's at-risk kids, is hosting the "Laugh, Sing, Dance" benefit at Town Hall in NYC tonight. Tickets for the evening, which will feature performances by Bill Cosby, Chita Rivera and Mark Nadler, are available via Ticketmaster, online at www.ticketmaster.com or by phone at 800-982-2787 (prices range from $35 to $150). One-hundred percent of ticket sales benefit ART START and will serve to help fund the organization's mission of providing the underprivileged children of New York with confidence, creativity and hope through the arts.
National Treasures Bill Cosby and Chita Rivera join internationally acclaimed virtuoso Mark Nadler for a one-night-only music and comedy spectacular. Nadler's personal interpretation of the American Songbook brings new life to cherished standards, Rivera dazzles with her endless energy and Broadway brass, and Cosby's stories leave audiences rolling in the aisles. Nadler's dedication to ART START's mission of bringing the arts to New York's at-risk and homeless children is the inspiration behind assembling this star-studded cast. A night of laughter, singing and dancing, the audience will be entertained by the best while supporting ART START on the organization's 20th anniversary.
One of the funniest storytellers in America, Cosby's audiences laugh from the moment he walks on stage. Those who fell in love with The Cosby Show, one of the biggest hits in television history, reconnect with the hilarity of this master storyteller. A performer, author, television producer, educator and musician, Cosby is a nationally recognized advocate for families and children.
Mark Nadler, a singer-pianist-comedian extraordinaire who is a member of ART START's Board of Directors and frequent volunteer working with ART START kids said, "I've been leading music workshops in a homeless shelter for ART START for nearly three years. These kids display a kind of unabashed joy when making music that I've rarely seen. You would think that these kids, who appear to have little hope in their lives, would be tragic and sullen. It's quite the opposite. Give them the opportunity to express themselves fully through music or painting and WATCH OUT!! I started volunteering at ART START hoping to inspire some tragic kids. Instead, I got the opportunity every week to see kids revel in the power of being creative - and that inspires me! My goal with this concert is to celebrate that joy and that inspiration - the power of art at work."
Rivera is one of the theatre's most acclaimed performers. She has won Tony Awards for her performances in two Kander and Ebb musicals, The Rink and Kiss of the Spider Woman. Rivera was also nominated for her work in Bye Bye Birdie, Chicago, Bring Back Birdie, Merlin, Jerry's Girls and her most recent outing, the Tony-winning revival of Nine. Rivera's other Broadway credits include the musical Seventh Heaven, her Broadway debut; Mr. Wonderful; the original production of West Side Story; and Bajour. She appeared in the film version of "Sweet Charity," starred in the world premiere of Kander and Ebb's The Visit, and also headlinEd Bernarda Albaat the Mark Taper Forum. Rivera was most recently on Broadway in Chita Rivera: The Dancer's Life. She was recently seen in the Signature Theatre's production of The Visit. Rivera's new solo recording is titled "And Now I Swing" and is available on the Yellow Sound label.
NYC is the capitol of performing arts, but it also has one of the highest rates of homeless youth in the country. ART START has recognized the need and believes the children of NYC deserve to have a part in the culture of the city, to be inspired to succeed and given the tools to do so. ART START's work with teenage youth participants enrolled in alternative and incarceration programs has had dramatic results. The hundreds of youth mandated to the Center for Alternative Sentencing and Employment Services by the state of New York's juvenile justice system had approximately 55 percent of youth successfully complete the program in 2010. Youth at the same facility participating in ART START had a 90-percent graduation rate. Arts programs are how ART START provides children with the resources and outlets to change their own lives through the creative process - and what inspired the organization's tagline, Art Saves Lives.
About ART START:
Since 1991, ART START has been providing visual and performing arts programs for some of New York City's most at-risk youth by connecting with kids ages 5-21 living in homeless shelters, transient on the streets, coming out of jail, or surviving with parents in crisis. ART START uses the arts to provide children and young teenagers with opportunities for success by giving them tools, structure, support and most importantly, a chance to be heard. ART START empowers underserved young people by connecting them to the contacts, resources, and tools that provide them with genuine opportunities to express themselves through creativity in a safe and open setting. For more information, visit: www.art-start.org.
Photo Credit: BWW-Staff