Tracie Bennett and Laiona Michelle Join NIGHT OF A THOUSAND JUDYS

The event will also feature Tony winner Frances Ruffelle, Tony nominee Sally Mayes, Grammy winner and Tony nominee Kathryn Gallagher and more.

By: Jun. 02, 2022

Tracie Bennett and Laiona Michelle Join NIGHT OF A THOUSAND JUDYS

Olivier winner and Tony nominee Tracie Bennett (Hangmen, End of the Rainbow) and Laiona Michelle (Little Girl Blue, Amazing Grace) have joined the line-up for the 10th annual "Night Of A Thousand Judys" - the Pride concert to benefit The Ali Forney Center written and hosted by Justin Elizabeth Sayre - at Joe's Pub on Sunday, June 5.

The Ali Forney Center is the nation's largest agency dedicated to helping LGBTQ homeless youth. Called "a rambunctious, uproarious, unpredictable all-star concert" by The Wall Street Journal, "Night Of A Thousand Judys" will honor the iconic Judy Garland with special skits, tributes and songs from her legendary career as movie star, recording artist and stage performer.

The event helps commemorate Judy's 100th Birthday and the 20th Anniversary of The Ali Forney Center. The event will also feature previously-announced performers Tony winner Frances Ruffelle (Les Misérables, Starlight Express), Grammy winner Nathan Lee Graham (Zoolander, Priscilla), Tony nominee Sally Mayes (She Loves Me), Grammy winner and Tony nominee Kathryn Gallagher (Jagged Little Pill, Spring Awakening), Shereen Pimentel (Broadway's West Side Story), Lortel winner Bonnie Milligan (Kimberly Akimbo, Head Over Heels), Bistro winner Nicolas King (Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center), singer/songwriter Eleri Ward (Josh Groban Harmony Tour, Joe's Pub) and Bistro winner Amy Jo Jackson (Joe's Pub). The performance is at 7:00 PM, with a VIP post-show reception to follow. The evening is written and hosted by Justin Elizabeth Sayre, directed by Peter James Cook, and choreographed by Jason Wise, featuring Tracy Stark as the event's music director. "Night Of A Thousand Judys" is produced by Dan Fortune and Adam J. Rosen, with Dan Fortune serving as executive producer. Tickets are now available HERE.

"Ten years is a milestone, and lining up with Judy's one hundredth seems like a kind of magic," says Sayre. "It's been an honor to present and be a part of this show for so long. To create a community around it, to work with so many wonderful performers and to celebrate Judy. But more so than this, it's an honor to continually commit to queer kids. Being in a small way part of the work of the Ali Forney Center is the honor of a lifetime."

In previous years, the concert event has featured the talents of film and TV names Alan Cumming and Bridget Everett; R&B legends Martha Wash and Sarah Dash; jazz vocalists Madeleine Peyroux, Cyrille Aimée and Jane Monheit; singer/songwriters Nellie McKay, Erin McKeown and Bright Light Bright Light, Broadway divas Lena Hall, Alice Ripley and Tonya Pinkins; leading men Adam Pascal, Telly Leung, and Daniel Reichard, nightlife fixtures Karen Mason, Maude Maggart and Karen Akers; downtown stars Justin Vivian Bond and Lady Rizo; and New York personalities Michael Musto and Austin Scarlett, among many others.

The Ali Forney Center is the nation's largest and most comprehensive agency dedicated to LGBTQ homeless youths-assisting over 2,000 youths per year through a 24-hour Drop-In Center which provides over 65,000 meals annually, medical and mental health services through an on-site clinic, and a scattered site housing program. AFC's goal is to provide them with the support and services they need to escape the streets and begin to live healthy and independent lives.

"Night Of A Thousand Judys" will take place at JOE'S PUB on Sunday, June 5 at 7:00 PM. Tickets are $75 (partial view), $100 (Regular), $150 (Premium) and $175 (VIP). The $150 Premium seats include preferred seating, a ticket to Ali Forney Center's Oasis Summer Party on July 20, and a special 10th Anniversary poster. The $175 VIP seats includes premium seating, a ticket to Ali Forney Center's Oasis Summer Party on July 20, a copy of Justin Elizabeth Sayre's new book From Gay to Z A Queer Compendium, a special 10th Anniversary poster, and an exclusive post-show reception. Joe's Pub has a $12 food / two (2) drink minimum per person.


JUSTIN ELIZABETH SAYRE is a writer and performer who Michael Musto called, "Oscar Wilde meets Whoopi Goldberg." Sayre is a fixture of the downtown cabaret scene in New York, first with their long-running monthly show, "The Meeting of The International Order of Sodomites" (Bistro Award and two MAC Award nominations), and now with a series of new shows at Joe's Pub. As a playwright, Sayre's work has appeared at Dixon Place, The Wild Project, The Celebration Theatre, Dynasty Typewriter, and La MaMa Experimental Theatre. His 12-part-epic camp-horror-soap-opera Ravenswood Manor, which was called "a sharply written and well-acted exemplar of the horror-comedy genre" by the Los Angeles Times, is currently being developed with Sony Television. Sayre has written a series of YA Novels - Husky, Pretty, and Mean - released by Penguin Books. Sayre's debut comedy album, The Gay Agenda, was named as The Comedy Bureau's "Best of 2016." They have also written for television, working with Michael Patrick King on his hit CBS comedy, "2 Broke Girls" and most recently on Fox's "The Cool Kids." Sayre also appeared on HBO's "The Comeback" with Lisa Kudrow. @justinelizabethsayre

Peter James Cook is a director of plays, cabaret and site-specific performance. His work has been presented at Ars Nova, Joe's Pub, The Brick, the New York Int'l and Philadelphia Fringe Festivals, Stella Adler Studio, Dixon Place, P.S. 122, The Hangar Theatre, and Playhouse on Park. He has directed for companies including Virgin Voyages, Lesser America, The Play Company, and Opera Theater of Yale College. Peter is a Drama League directing fellow, and Artistic Associate at Theatre for a New Audience.

Jason Wise has directed and choreographed over 20 productions around the world - most recently, Anything Goes (starring Sally Struthers and Andrea McArdle) at Gateway Playhouse and Ogunquit Playhouse, and serving as the choreographer for Mamma Mia! at ACT of Connecticut (under the advisory of Stephen Schwartz). Other recent: The Obsession of Calvin Klein at The Public Theater, Bayside: The Saved By The Bell Musical, The Wolf (World Premiere at Theater Raleigh) and Full House: The Musical starring Perez Hilton. He has also staged musical numbers for Tony, Emmy, and Oscar-winners including Brent Barrett, Lee Roy Reams, Maureen McGovern, Donna McKechnie, Faith Prince, Leslie Uggams, Christine Andreas, Jackie Hoffman, Julia Murney, Stephanie J. Block, Paige Davis, Howard McGillin, Andrea Martin, Billy Porter, Linda Lavin, Tovah Feldshuh, and Tonya Pinkins. As a performer, film and television appearances include: The Wolf of Wall Street (starring Leonardo DiCaprio, directed by Martin Scorsese), "Smash" (NBC), "Pan Am" (ABC), "Dance Moms" (Lifetime), The Amazing Spiderman 2, The Normal Heart (HBO) and appears alongside Rufus Wainwright and Joey Luft in Netflix's Judy Garland documentary. Jason was mentored by Tony Award winners, Thommie Walsh and Tommy Tune.

Tracy Stark - pianist, music director, arranger, bandleader and singer/songwriter - is a 12-Time MAC Award winner, in the categories of Music Director, Piano Entertainer, and Song of the Year. She is also a Bistro Award winner for Musical Direction, has won Cabaret Hotline's Songwriter of the Year Award, and most recently won a 2021 Broadway World Award for Music Director, and 2022 MAC Award for Music Director. Tracy has worked with Sarah Dash (Labelle), Lesley Gore, Phoebe Snow, Karen Black, Nona Hendryx (Labelle), Randy Jones (Village People), Barb Jungr, Brenda Braxton, Justin Sayre, Eric Millegan (Bones), Tonya Pinkins, Nathan Lee Graham, Alice Ripley, and hundreds of other rock, jazz, and Broadway vocalists. She stays busy creating and music directing 75-100 different shows per year, in addition to her ongoing work as music director for the Eugene O'Neill Cabaret Conference for the past 9 years. Tracy has played/conducted on numerous television shows, including "The Today Show." She has 3 albums of original music, and her songs are included on at least 20 different compilations.

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