Photo Flash: Channing, Moreno, et al. in ORIGINAL CAST 2
ORIGINAL CAST 2, the 27th Annual musical presentation of the Southland Theatre Artists Goodwill Event (S.T.A.G.E.), took place for one night only on Saturday, April 2 at the Luckman Fine Arts Complex of California State University, raising money for AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA).
S.T.A.G.E., the world's longest continuously running AIDS benefit, brings together names in theater, television, film and cabaret who donate their time and talent to the star-studded benefit, and this year was no exception. The show's concept, which was launched last year,was performers doing songs they originated in musical productions.
The show began with a video tribute to the late Broadway star Betty Garrett, who served as S.T.A.G.E. chair for many years and was preparing to perform in this year's show when she passed away in February at the age of 91. The video montage, compiled by David Engel and David Shine, featured highlights from Garrett's performances at S.T.A.G.E. events throughout the years.
The show then opened with a dance production number of " 42nd Street " followed by Pamela Myers singing "Another Hundred People" from Stephen Sondheim's Company. Mary Jo Catlett and Doug Carfrae then performed "I'll Never Be Jealous Again" from The Pajama Game, followed by Bill Hutton's rendition of "Close Every Door" from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Jane Kean sang "Nothing Can Replace A Man" from Ankles Aweigh, Dale Kristien and Danny Gurwin dueted on "You Are Love" from Showboat and Philip Casnoff belted "Pity the Child" from Chess. Next up was Liz Callaway doing "The Story Goes On" from Baby, followed by Jonelle Allen and Obba Babatunde singing "Night Letter" from Two Gentlemen of Verona and Danny Gurwin doing "Take a Chance on Me" from Little Women. The legendary Patricia Morison sang "Hello Young Lovers" from The King and I, and Barbara Deutsch closed the first act with the show-stopping "Day by Day" from Godspell.
Act Two began with Patrick Cassidy performing "Lullaby of Broadway" from 42nd Street . Rita Moreno reprised her Tony®-winning turn as Googie Gomez from The Ritz by performing an uproarious version of "Everything's Coming Up Roses" with two dancers. Charlotte Rae sang "Ballad of Dependency" from Threepenny Opera, Willy Falk sang "Why God Why?" and was joined by Jennifer Paz for "The Last Night of the World," both from Miss Saigon. They were followed by Vicki Lewis belting out "Don't Rain on My Parade" from Funny Girl. Robert Morse, now known to audiences for his role on television's Mad Men, reminisced about his first Broadway role by singing "9 O'Clock" from Take Me Along, followed by his classic "I Believe In You" from How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. Valarie Pettiford sang and danced through "The Fosse Suite" from Fosse after which Obba Babatunde did "The Good Things In Life" from Sammy, and Tyne Daly performed two songs from Ballroom-- "Job Application" and "Fifty Percent."
Rounding out the evening were performances by Lee Roy Reams of the title song from 42nd Street after which he was joined by Carole Cook for "You're Getting to Be A Habit with Me" from the same show. Closing the evening was Carole Channing reprising her starring role as Dolly from Hello Dolly! wearing the original costume from the show.
David Galligan directed the production-his 27th-with musical direction from Mary Ekler. Choreography credits were shared by Lee Martino and Dan Mojica, Jon Engstrom and David Engel.
S.T.A.G.E. has raised millions of dollars for HIV/AIDS organizations throughout Southern California over the last 27 years. One hundred percent of the net proceeds from ORIGINAL CAST will go to AIDS Project Los Angeles. One of largest non-profit AIDS service organizations in the United States , APLA provides bilingual direct support services, prevention education and leadership on HIV/AIDS-related policy and legislation. Founded by four friends in 1982, APLA is a community-based, volunteer-supported organization with local, national and global reach.
Photo Credit: Chris Kane Photography/Gil Kaan
Carol Cook, Leeroy Reams, Tyne Daly
Jonelle Allen, Obba Babatunde