BWW Feature: Nearly $275 Thousand Dollars Raised by APLA at last S.T.A.G.E. Benefit
(from the desk of Scott Barton)
"S.T.A.G.E. GOES TO THE MOVIES"
RAISES NEARLY $275,000
FOR AIDS PROJECT LOS ANGELES
The 30th Anniversary production, which featured an Emmy®, Grammy® and Tony® Award-winning cast, remains the world's longest-running annual benefit for HIV/AIDS funding
Los Angeles, CA - A company of more than 2 dozen stars of film, stage and television brought a sold out house to their feet at the historic Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills on Saturday, May 10th, for the 30th Anniversary Spectacular presentation, "S.T.A.G.E. Goes to the Movies." www.stagela.com This one-night-only Southland Theatre Artists Goodwill Event (S.T.A.G.E.) raised close to $275,000 for HIV/AIDS direct care, education, and advocacy services offered by AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA). Since the first S.T.A.G.E. show in 1984, the event has featured more than 300 stars raising nearly $7 million for APLA and other Southern California AIDS service organizations. Before the show began, Director David Galligan was presented with APLA's Crystal Apple Award, the organization's highest honor.
"All of us here at AIDS Project Los Angeles are thrilled with this year's S.T.A.G.E. event, and funds raised will help so many in our community who have nowhere else to turn. Thank you to the entire committee for pulling off yet another successful event," said Craig E. Thompson, Executive Director.
S.T.A.G.E. marked its 30th production with a new theme: "S.T.A.G.E. Goes to the Movies," which showcased the stellar cast performing popular musical numbers and featuring film clips from 100 years of American cinema. The constellation of stars gathered for this year's show included OBBA BABATUNDE, RONA BARRETT, TOM BERKLUND, MARY BETH BLACK, DEBBY BOONE, BETTY BUCKLEY, RICHARD CHAMBERLAIN, CAROLE COOK, DAVID ENGEL, JULIE GARNYE', MITZI GAYNOR (top photo), JASON GOULD, BILL HUTTON, HEATHER MacRAE, JON MAHER, PAT MARSHALL, DONNA McKECHNIE, PATRICIA MORISON, JEFFREY SCOTT PARSONS, HELEN REDDY, REX REED, JAKE SIMPSON, KEVIN SPIRTAS and MARY WILSON.
Hosted by acclaimed film historian Robert Osborne of Turner Classic Movies, and featuring appearances by noted celebrity journalists Rona Barrett and Rex Reed, "S.T.A.G.E. Goes to the Movies" was a vibrant celebration of all things cinema. Tony© Award-winning actress Betty Buckley opened and closed the show with evocative performances of "As If We Never Said Goodbye" from the musical Sunset Boulevard, and the timeless ballad "Memory" from Cats. Grammy® Award winner Helen Reddy performed "Candle on the Water" from the film Pete's Dragon, Tony© Award winner Donna McKechnie shared a song, dance and personal experience with the legendary Fred Astaire. Shirley Jones reminisced about starring in the great movie musicals Oklahoma! andCarousel and then enjoyed Heather MacRae's performance of "Surrey With the Fringe On Top," originally sung by her father, Gordon MacRae. Grammy©Award winner Debby Boone crooned "It Might As Well Be Spring" from State Fair which her father, Pat Boone, sang in the film.
Emmy® Award-winning Mitzi Gaynor had the audience in a lather with her sailor-costumed performance of "Honey Bun" and "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Out Of My Hair" from South Pacific, while Jeffrey Scott Parsons and David Engel brought to contemporary life the great tap dance number "Begin the Beguine" from Broadway Melody of 1940, made famous by Eleanor Powell and Fred Astaire. Jake Simpson proved why he's a two-time "Star Search" winner bringing a modern edge to "You Don't Know What Love Is" from Behind the Eight Ball, and Mary Wilson was Supreme singing "Here's To Life" fromFull Metal Jacket. SiriusXM Radio host Frank DeCaro led a spirited live auction at intermission that also secured pledges dedicated to bringing APLA clients a proper Thanksgiving dinner. The show was directed, as it has been for three decades, by David Galligan, and John McDaniel returned as music director.
Funds raised through S.T.A.G.E. support APLA programs including its Vance North Necessities of Life Program food pantries; freestanding and mobile dental clinics; in-home health services; housing assistance; HIV prevention and testing efforts; and a range of other APLA services that thousands of Angelenos affected by HIV/AIDS depend on. S.T.A.G.E. is among the most enduring and valuable sources of private support for the agency's HIV/AIDS care, prevention, and advocacy work. www.apla.org
(photo credit: Chris Kane)
Betty Buckley dynamically opens the show
Heather MacRae sings "Surrey with the Fringe On Top"
Carole Cook Brings Down the House
Richard Chamberlain "Could Have Danced All Night"
Tom Berklund in Disco Inferno Segment
Helen Reddy Sounding Better Than Ever
Mary Wilson Slays with "Here's To Life!"
Full Cast Finale