Kelli O'Hara, Emily Skinner Lead New York City Loves Vermont Benefit Concert

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The Weston Playhouse Theatre Company in Vermont has received national coverage recently, both of its devastating flood damage from Tropical Storm Irene, and of the inspiring community efforts to help with the clean up. Now a group of actors, musicians, designers, and stage managers are showing their love for Weston by holding a star-studded New York benefit on Monday, September 26, 2011.

The benefit concert is entitled New York City Loves Vermont - Broadway Floods The Weston Playhouse With Love, and will be performed at New World Stages in the heart of New York's theatre district. It is organized entirely by a group of Weston alumni. "The Weston Playhouse has played a crucial role in the development of so many Broadway artists," says co-producer of the event Sharon Wheatley. "It has been there for me and my family, and we want to be there now in its time of need. It's a very special place." Wheatley, a veteran of Broadway's Avenue Q, shares the producer role with former Weston company manager Gretchen Margaroli. "The Playhouse staff is in the midst of a herculean clean-up effort," says Margaroli. "They have their hands full there, so we want to do what we can here."

Margaroli and Wheatley have gathered a growing list of theatre artists to appear in the one-night-only event, including Broadway notables like Sally Ann Howes, Christopher Lloyd, Cass Morgan, Kelli O'Hara, Mercedes Ruehl, and Emily Skinner. Lillias White has also confirmed her involvement.

The Weston Playhouse Theatre Company is in its 75th year, and had just completed a $700,000 renovation of its theatre building this spring, including a new orchestra pit, sound system, expanded dressing rooms, and costly contributions to a sprinkler system. The flood destroyed much of the new construction. Cost of the repairs are still being assessed, but are estimated to be well over $300,000.

"We are so moved by the support we're getting, from both the Vermont and Broadway communities," says Resident Producing Director Steve Stettler. "We've got a lot of work to do, but we need to remember that we're not the only ones hurting." In the days after the flood, local community members showed up in droves to help, but The Playhouse encouraged volunteers to help other local businesses and homeowners before starting work on the theatre.
In addition to the performances, there will be a raffle with an array of valuable prizes, from Broadway theatre tickets, to salon services, to unique items available nowhere else. In keeping with the Vermont theme, the first 100 people to arrive at the event will get a sample of genuine Vermont maple syrup from the Coombs Family Farms.

ABOUT: New York City Loves Vermont -- Broadway Floods the Weston Playhouse with Love: A Benefit Concert will be an evening of entertainment by Broadway artists to raise money for Vermont's Weston Playhouse Theatre Company.
WHERE: New World Stages, 340 West 50th St, between 8th and 9th Avenues at World Wide Plaza.
WHEN: Monday, September 26, 2011. One night only!

6PM doors open, the first 100 people to arrive will get a sample of Vermont maple syrup

7PM performance
WHO: Gretchen Margaroli, co-producer; Sharon Wheatley, co-producer; Frances Limoncelli, director; Rob Meffe, musical supervisor; Daniel Feyer, assistant musical supervisor; Lloyd Davis, Jr, Emily Levin, Melissa Spengler, stage managers; Kim Carbone, sound design; Brad Peterson, lighting design. Appearances by: Adam Guettel, Sally Ann Howes, Christopher Lloyd, Cass Morgan, Kelli O'Hara, Mercedes Ruehl, and Emily Skinner, and a host of other Broadway and Weston Playhouse performers. Updates to this list will follow in the days ahead.
TICKETS: Advance tickets are $101.50, call 212-239-6200 or visit

On the day of the performance $36.50 tickets will be available at the box offIce To Weston alumni and artists with a union card or a picture/resume.
DONATE: Those who can't attend the benefit can donate online:

Photo Credit: Peter James Zielinski

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