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Cox, FELA!, Ripley et al. Present for Broadway South Africa Benefit, 10/4


Pop icon Deborah Cox will headline a star-studded cast featuring performances and presentations by Sandra Thurman, former AIDS Czar under President Bill Clinton and current President and CEO of International AIDS Trust, the cast of FELA!, Dancing With The Stars finalist and N'SYNC star Lance Bass, Tony Award winners Alice Ripley, Chuck Cooper, and Melba Moore, and TV stars Graham Phillips (The Good Wife) and Ariana Grande (Nickelodeon's Victorious), for the third annual Broadway in South Africa (BSA) benefit concert. Nearly the entire show will feature world-premiere songs, created for the evening, by such composers as Grammy Award winners Desmond Child and Julie Gold. This year's honoree is producer Michael Butler. He is one of the most successful theatrical producers, lauded for bringing HAIR to Broadway in 1968, and an active proponent of youth creating positive global social change. The concert will take place on Monday, October 4, 2010, at 7:30 pm in the Manhattan Center's Grand Ballroom, located at 311 West 34th Street.

The concert event chair is Ward H. Simmons, Senior Director of PR and Marketing for Hugo Boss. To support BSA's work, attendees will include Andy Cohen, Bravo TV host and Senior Vice President of Original Programming and Development; Mark Brashear, Hugo Boss Chairman and CEO, Kevin Harter, Bloomingdales Operating Vice President of Men's Fashion; Patrick Heusinger of Gossip Girls and Broadway's Next Fall; Marc Honaker of ABC; Brendan Monaghan, GQ Executive Director of International Fashion; Stephen Sills of Stephen Sills and Associates; Thomas Roberts, MSNBC Anchor; Dennis Williams of HBO; and representatives from Condé Nast, Harper's BAZAAR, Madison Square Garden, Proctor & Gamble, Vogue and the Wall Street Journal.

Sandra Thurman will give the keynote address, along with special presentations by Lance Bass, Chuck Cooper, Melba Moore and Graham Phillips.

In addition to performances by Deborah Cox (AIDA) and the cast of FELA!, the world premieres songs will be performed by Alice Ripley (Next to Normal), Ariana Grande (13), Sean Bradford (The Scottsboro Boys), Tituss Burgess (Little Mermaid), Brandon Victor Dixon (The Color Purple), Frankie James Grande (Mamma Mia!), Emma Hunton (Spring Awakening), Rebecca Naomi Jones (American Idiot), Adam Kantor (Next to Normal), Morgan Karr (Spring Awakening), Jose Llana (Flower Drum Song), Tracy McDowell (Rent), Julia Murney (Wicked), Christopher Spaulding (Curtains), Kate Shindle (Wonderland) and Lisa Nicole Wilkerson (The Lion King).

Shea Sullivan will choreograph and perform a tap piece set to live African drums. The evening will be directed by Jen Bender (The Lion King), and Brad Haak (Mary Poppins) will provide music direction.

Along with Desmond Child and Julie Gold, BSA commissioned songwriters Drew Gasparini, Marcy Heisler, Kait Kerrigan, Peter Lerman, Brian Lowdermilk, Kevin Malpass, Jordan Mann, Catherine Porter, Jeremy Schonfeld and Jeff Thomson to create songs. Each piece is based on essays and letters written by children BSA teaching artists instruct during workshops conducted in townships surrounding Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban.

Sponsors of the evening include Hugo Boss, Design Compendium, La Pomme, Madiba Restaurant, Rockin' the Big Apple, and stylist Renessta Olds.

Individual tickets can be purchased for $100 and $25 by visiting VIP and sponsorship opportunities are available by contacting BSA at

Broadway in South Africa aims to develop cross-cultural exchange between youth in need and artists who seek to use their talents for change. The organization's philosophy is that all children deserve the opportunity to explore their own creative potential, and build life skills necessary to develop productive lives. For further information visit


Photo Credit: Walter McBride/Retna Ltd.

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