STAGE TUBE: Broadway Stars Join Forces in Support of Emily's Ensemble
Broadway is joining #EmilysEnsemble, a social media outpouring of support for a 12-year-old dancer having major brain surgery today.
Emily Sasfai's friends started #EmilysEnsemble to lift Emily's spirits before and after surgery. It has quickly grown to include well-wishes from dozens of Broadway's brightest stars, including Kelli O'Hara, Donna Murphy , Jose Llana, Katie Rose Clarke, the company of this year's Tony Award-winning Best Musical A Gentlemen's Guide to Love and Murder and cast members from Cabaret, Jersey Boys, Newsies and more.
"We are completely overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support," Emily's mom, Beth Sasfai, said. "Emily's little sister set up an Instagram account and is following. My son is following on Facebook. Emily smiles every time she gets a new tweet. #EmilysEnsemble has turned an incredibly painful experience into a very uplifting journey."
On May 15, Emily was suffering from a debilitating headache and was rushed to the hospital near her home in Maplewood, NJ. The doctors discovered hemorrhaging in her brain, caused by an Arteriovenous-Malformation (AVM). The bleeding was putting pressure on her optic nerve, which caused a long stretch of blindness and severe pain.
Through many long days in the hospital, Emily kept asking if she would be better in time for her year-end performance at her performing arts studio. Unfortunately, Emily wasn't able to dance in the performance, but her friends tied blue bandanas around their arms in her honor. Blue is Emily's favorite color.
The swelling in Emily's brain has gone down enough that doctors can now remove the AVM. Emily is undergoing surgery this morning, August 1, 2014.
On Wednesday, her friends at Class Act Performing Arts Studio posted a video to YouTube, asking the Broadway community to send Emily messages of encouragement using #EmilysEnsemble: http://youtu.be/uaLB-N7oX3A
The response has been awe-inspiring. Among the stars and casts posting on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook that they are members of #EmilysEnsemble are Katie Rose Clarke, Leslie Hendrix, Laura Michelle Kelly, Samuel Larsen, Jose Llana, Jefferson Mays, Donna Murphy, Kelli O'Hara, Lisa O'Hare, Bryce Pinkham, Catherine Walker and more. Entire casts have joined #EmilysEnsemble, including Cabaret, A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder, Here Lies Love, Motown (Tour) and even Lysistrata Jones! Individual cast members have posted from Beautiful - The Carole King Musical, Newsies, Jersey Boys,Violet, and the upcoming shows Finding Neverland, and On Your Feet.
Those wishing to show support can continue using #EmilysEnsemble on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Emily is looking forward to seeing more messages when she comes out of surgery.
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