BROADWAY BLESSING Celebrates 25th Anniversary, September 19

An interfaith service of song, dance and story, asking for God's blessing on the new Broadway season.

By: Sep. 08, 2022

Celebrate the 25th anniversary of Broadway Blessing on September 19, 7 p.m. St. Malachy's/The Actors' Chapel, 239 W. 49th St.

An interfaith service of song, dance and story, asking for God's blessing on the new Broadway season. The event is free and open to all. Reservations by email music@actorschapel.org

Featuring the talents of Broadway veterans Jeff McCarthy (Urinetown) Jill O'Hara (Hair) Adam Shapiro (Fiddler on the Roof) Marta Sanders The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas) and Mark Aguirre (Trevor: The Musical) and others, with the Broadway Blessing Choir and Band. Under the direction of Stephen Fraser, the evening includes show tunes, a sing-along and a moving candle-lighting ceremony.

Phil Hall (Broadway conductor, composer, musical director) has written "Choose Joy," for the occasion, to be sung by Olivia Hardy (Kimberly Akimbo.) Lee Roy Reams (Actor, Singer, Dancer, Choreographer, Director) will offer reflection on his amazing career.

Rabbi Jill Hausman (Actors' Temple) will open with "Sim Shalom," a song about peace. Fr. John Fraser, (Actor's Chapel) will offer a welcome, with Jeanne Lehman (Beauty and the Beast) who was the first actor to participate in Broadway Blessing twenty-five years ago. Priest and actor George Drance, S.J., will host. The evening is produced by Retta Blaney and Kathryn Fisher.

Past Broadway Blessing participants include Chita Rivera, Stephanie J. Block, Lynn Redgrave, Boyd Gaines, Edward Herrmann, James Barbour, Mary-Mitchell Campbell, Tituss Burgess, Melissa Errico, Kathleen Chalfant, Billy Porter, Marian Seldes, Frances Sternhagen, Ken Prymus, KT Sullivan, Elizabeth Swados, J. Mark McVey and Broadway Inspirational Voices.

Broadway Blessing was founded in 1997 by Blaney, an award-winning journalist and author of Working on the Inside: The Spiritual Life Through the Eyes of Actors: interviews with Kristin Chenoweth, Liam Neeson, Phylicia Rashad, Vanessa Williams and many others. Blaney's work brought together four Times Square congregations (St. Malachy's, The Actors' Temple, St. Clement's Episcopal Church and St. Luke's Lutheran Church) ministering to the NYC's expansive theatre community. Blaney saw the need to welcome people to these congregations and open wide to the entire theatre community in an inclusive, interfaith service that would be created just for them.

"I started Broadway Blessing because, as a writer at the time for Back Stage, I regularly talked to young actors who were struggling to make it in their profession and feeling the discouragement of frequent rejection," she says. "I wanted to bring them together for a joyful event that celebrated their giftedness and would send them out with hope."

The late Edward Herrmann said: "It's reassuring to know there are so many people out there you know who believe in God and want to take that part of their life and dedicate it to the theatre because theatre is a very spiritual endeavor. They come from every conceivable denomination.



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