Broadway Stars Join Covenant House in Honoring Audra McDonald

Broadway Stars Join Covenant House in Honoring Audra McDonald

Emmy and Peabody Award-winning host Stephen Colbert of CBS's THE LATE SHOW will join CBS MORNING SHOW co-host John Dickersonand an all-star cast of Broadway royalty on the stage of the Rose Theatre at Jazz at Lincoln Center on June 18, 2018, as the international youth charity Covenant House presents its Beacon of Hope Award to Tony, Grammy, and Emmy Award-winner Audra McDonald, and honors long-time supporters, Broadway veteran Capathia Jenkins and Take-Two Interactive, at the 2018 A Night of Broadway Stars gala concert. The concert is a fundraiser for Covenant House, which reaches 80,000 children and youth each year in 31 cities across 6 countries.

The gala concert will be directed by Jeff Calhoun (Newsies), a member of Covenant House's Board of Directors, with music direction by Jason Howland (Beautiful) conducting the Beautiful orchestra. The show will feature Kate Walsh (Grey's Anatomy, Private Practice, Girls' Trip), Keala Settle (The Greatest Showman), Brandon Victor Dixon (Jesus Christ Superstar, Hamilton), Lauren Ambrose (My Fair Lady), Caissie Levy (Frozen), Patti Murin (Frozen), Jeremy Jordan (Supergirl, Newsies), Laura Osnes (Bandstand), Corey Cott (Bandstand), Marilu Henner (Taxi, Gettin the Band Back Together), Paul Alexander Nolan (Escape to Margaritaville), Adam Kantor (The Band's Visit), Alex Newell (Once On This Island), Ariana DeBose (Summer), with a special appearance by Rosie O'Donnell and more.

McDonald, a member of Covenant House's Board of Directors, will receive the Beacon of Hope Award in recognition of her service on the Board of Covenant House and her national advocacy work lifting up the voices of children and youth overcoming homelessness. Past Beacon of Hope recipients include Diana Ross, George and Olivia Harrison, Jon Bon Jovi, Herbie Hancock, Laura Bush, Sara Bareilles and Martina McBride.

"Audra is the real deal. She's been leading this fight against youth homelessness from the trenches," said Kevin Ryan, President and CEO of Covenant House. "She sleeps out to raise funds so kids don't have to. She wraps presents in the shelter for birthdays and Christmas. At the crack of dawn on Thanksgiving morning, she's in our nursery feeding babies and helping new moms get ready for the day. And in virtually every concert performance she's given over the past five years she has consistently lifted up the voices of young people fighting homelessness and trafficking."

The winner of a record-breaking six Tony Awards, two Grammy Awards, and an Emmy Award, Audra received a 2015 National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama and was also named one of Time magazine's 100 most influential people that year. Tony-winning performances includeCarousel, Master Class, Ragtime, A Raisin in the Sun, The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess, and Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill - which served as the vehicle for her 2017 debut on London's West End. On television, McDonald is known for her roles in ABC's Private Practice and NBC's The Sound of Music Live!, and she won an Emmy as the official host of PBS's Live From Lincoln Center. In 2018, she joined the cast of CBS All Access's The Good Fight for its second season, and released a new solo album, Sing Happy, recorded live with the New York Philharmonic for Decca Gold. Recent film credits include Ricki and the Flash, Disney's live-action Beauty and the Beast, and movie-musical Hello Again. The Juilliard-trained soprano also maintains a major career as a concert artist. Of her many roles, her favorites are the ones performed offstage: passionate advocate for equal rights and homeless youth, wife to actor Will Swenson, and mother.

Broadway veteran and Drama Desk nominee Capathia Jenkins will be honored for her tireless commitment to ending youth homelessness. A member of the Covenant House Board of Directors since 2009, Jenkins joined Ryan and Stephanie J. Block in 2014 to co-found the Broadway Sleep Out which raises awareness and funds to fight youth homelessness. The annual event has raised more than $1 million and galvanized hundreds of theatre and screen professionals to help support Covenant House.

"Capathia has opened doors of opportunity for thousands of young people overcoming homelessness," said Ryan. "She has performed across the country to raise funds for young people and always makes the time to meet and mentor our kids. She gives of her time, talent, and all of her amazing heart to every young person she meets."

"I am humbled to be honored by Covenant House, but I am the one who is grateful," said Jenkins. "The kids of Covenant House stretch my heart wider than I ever dreamed possible. They are my heroes."

Also being honored at A Night of Broadway Stars is Take-Two Interactive, a leading developer, publisher, and marketer of interactive entertainment for consumers around the globe. "Our partnership with Take-Two Interactive and Chairman and CEO Strauss Zelnick is an irreplaceable source of support and hope for the work we do at Covenant House," said Ryan. "Strauss has been a driving force behind our Covenant House Sleep Out Movement and has slept on the street himself on numerous occasions in solidarity with our young people. Thousands of young people have overcome homelessness and are living happy, productive lives because of his commitment and drive, and his belief that, together, we can end youth homelessness."

A Night of Broadway Stars will be emceed by Emmy and Peabody Award-winning host Stephen Colbert who took over as host of CBS's THE LATE SHOW on September 8, 2015. Also known for his Comedy Central show, "The Colbert Report," Colbert is also a best-selling author and accomplished actor, writer, producer and comedian.

Covenant House's A Night of Broadway Stars provides young people overcoming homelessness with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to perform with some of Broadway's greatest and most selfless stars.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Jazz at Lincoln Center

Frederick P. Rose Hall

Broadway and 60th Street, Manhattan

Photo by Allison Michael Orenstein

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