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BWW Interview: Jeffrey Schecter Creator of MONDAYS FOR BIDEN'S DANCING FOR DEMOCRACY Virtual Fundraising Event Monday October 5th

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MONDAYS FOR BIDEN'S DANCING FOR DEMOCRACY

BWW Interview: Jeffrey Schecter Creator of MONDAYS FOR BIDEN'S DANCING FOR DEMOCRACY Virtual Fundraising Event Monday October 5th

Interview: Jeffrey Schecter, Creator of MONDAYS For BIDEN's DANCING For DEMOCRACY Fundraising Event Monday, Oct. 5th!
MONDAYS For BIDEN, a group conceived by Broadway's Jeffrey Schecter, announces their interactive virtual fundraising event "DANCING For DEMOCRACY" in partnership with Broadway Sessions and Broadway for Biden on Monday October 5th at 9:00pm EST. The group was formed to provide a virtual place for busy artists, humanitarians, parents and all who want to help JOE BIDEN become our next US President. 100% of donations raised during this event go directly to the Biden Victory Fund.
MONDAYS For BIDEN and DANCING For DEMOCRACY creator, Jeffrey "Shecky" Schecter will host along with fellow Broadway veteran and A Chorus Line alum, J. Elaine Marcos. It promises to be a spirited and dynamic one-hour virtual experience featuring performances and testimonials by some of Broadway and Hollywood's most well-loved performers. You'll get to hear first hand why a Joe Biden presidency is important to them and to the future of this country. BWW Interview: Jeffrey Schecter Creator of MONDAYS FOR BIDEN'S DANCING FOR DEMOCRACY Virtual Fundraising Event Monday October 5th
Jeffrey is a most-talented triple-threat performer with a resume that will astound you, covering Stage, Movies, Television, not to mention his writing and teaching credits and owning his own business, I CAN DO THAT NYC, with his wife Melissa, where they offer Dance & Theatre classes for Kids of all ages.
I managed to catch Jeffrey, or "Shecky," as he is affectionately called, here and there over the last few days as he prepares the finishing touches on the exciting night he has planned for Monday to find out more details and get the inside scoop.
BWW Interview: Jeffrey Schecter Creator of MONDAYS FOR BIDEN'S DANCING FOR DEMOCRACY Virtual Fundraising Event Monday October 5th
Jeffrey Accepting the Legacy Robe (A Broadway Dancer's Tradition)
during the last performance of Fiddler on The Roof /Broadway Revival
Valerie-Jean: Since this is your "baby," tell me how this project came about, and why.
Jeffrey: I'm not sure exactly what the moment was, but I said to myself, "I have to take action and do something to help this campaign." I do not want Trump to be my President any longer. Enough is enough. I know I didn't have much time (I have a family of 4, run a business teaching dance and theatre to kids, and have to help my kids with homeschooling along with my wife, Melissa) but I thought maybe once a week I could do something. Maybe there are people like me that would like to do the same thing. So, I started a facebook group called, MONDAYS FOR BIDEN. A group for like-minded, busy people who want to take action and at least try and do something once a week to support the Biden campaign. I chose Mondays because I like Mondays. It's the beginning of the week and everything seems possible on a Monday. AND it's also a day of rest for many of my theatre friends as it's traditionally the day off.
Well, things took off and I started to learn all the things I could do to help the Biden campaign. I learned about phone banking, texting and postcards, and registering early. Phone banking sounded interesting to me, so I registered for a training session and within the hour I was calling democrats in Florida and making sure they had all the information they needed to help make a difference. I loved it. It felt so good to take an active role in this election. I have never been political but I was officially committed to becoming political.
I also started to make donations and almost immediately felt overwhelmed by the amount of texts asking for more money. I was started to think sending in $10 or $20 here and there is just not going to work for me. We can't afford that. And it feels small. I rarely think small. Ha! Maybe I should do a fundraiser. BOOM! Dancing for Democracy was born.
Almost immediately, I had this idea to have a dance party where people would dance with me. I have been teaching so much during the pandemic to all ages. Kids, adults, etc. I know I am really good at connecting and teaching in this format (online) and thought it would be a dance party/class vibe where we will live into the possibility as IF Joe Biden has won the election.
I was really excited, but knew I needed help. I had to form a team. There were a few people on the Biden page who were very active almost from the get-go. The friends that keep hitting LIKE on my posts. Friends of mine from my days touring with Guys and Dolls like Jerome Vivona and Heather Lee and new friends like Melissa McCann and Jen Donohoo and Stephen Nachamie and one of my oldest friends from life and the "biz" like Melissa Greenspan. It was a no brainer.
BWW Interview: Jeffrey Schecter Creator of MONDAYS FOR BIDEN'S DANCING FOR DEMOCRACY Virtual Fundraising Event Monday October 5th Oh, and of course my super-talented friend and ACL alumnist J. Elaine Marcos to join me as co-host was a must.
I could do it alone, but if J is available you book her! One by one I called them, told them about my idea and without any hesitation each of them jumped in and said, "I love it. What do you need?" These people have been absolutely incredible. I was feeling so overwhelmed until one day Heather Lee says, "Shecky, we have the social media and fundraising, go and focus on the show. We got you." Best voice message ever!!
It has been amazing and challenging in the best possible way to put this together, but to reconnect with old friends and build on new relationships for this great cause has truly been the icing on what will be a glorious cake. I love these people and count my blessings everyday that they said, YES!
Because of this team and the unbelievable commitment (they are all performers and some are business owners with an incredible work ethic) We WILL have an awesome show and WE WILL Help JOE BIDEN WIN!!
Valerie-Jean: Can you tell me more about the process and how rehearsals and the coordination and planning that went into putting this together was accomplished? This is such new territory to adapt to, with social distancing, no live performing, no live audience; it must have been extremely hard to get everything in sync.
Jeffrey: Sure. BWW Interview: Jeffrey Schecter Creator of MONDAYS FOR BIDEN'S DANCING FOR DEMOCRACY Virtual Fundraising Event Monday October 5th
It's been a process using every way to connect you can imagine. We zoom, we group text, we do smaller group texts, we do late night facetime chats, middle of the night idea texts, recording messages and sending via text, and we record a lot of video tutorials to share in order to explain what we are going for.
Just last night I was trying to figure out how
J. Elaine (my co-host) and I will go from LIVE to Pre-recorded content that we are in.
I started a ZOOM meeting by myself to work through the section out loud and then made it shareable with our team. My tech director Bree Pavey who is using a system called OBS (Open Broadcaster Software) replied to that link to the zoom with "This is brilliant Shecky." It's all a matter of making sure we are all on the same page as we are moving so quickly and there are so many live channels of communicating.
The performance videos have probably been the trickiest. They start with me reaching out to friends to see if they are interested in creating something original for our event. Sometimes seeing something on INSTAGRAM will inspire me to reach out. That's what happened with James Kinney and Jessica Lee Goldyn. Jessica posted this awesome combination from James' class and it was exactly what I had in mind for the show. They were both game and open to creating something new based on that class. In about 10 minutes we had a concept and a deadline and they on their own, choreographed, filmed and edited an original piece to Pinks "Raise Your Glass." It is awesome and will be a highlight of the evening.
The opening number was more complex. Melissa McCann, our choreographer put out feelers to dancers to dance in person, wearing masks and be socially distant. The amazing thing is she had 10 yes replies in about 15 minutes. Everyone is hungry to be together and dance and move for a great cause. And then Melissa made 4 Youtube videos of her teaching choreography for 4 different sections of our opener. I also had to learn the choreo looking at her videos. Most of the time it was late at night when my kids were asleep or while I was on the playground watching my kids. Well, trying to watch them, and Melissa on my iphone.
Then we all got together on the day of our shoot, quickly blocked out our number and went right to filming. The editing process was done via text, zoom and many phone calls. It's amazing, without trying to plan too much there is a groove and a rhythm that just seems to evolve and everyone understands the machine and how it works. There are hiccups and sometimes somebody is a few texts or emails behind, but overall it's working and the results are just incredible. I've said it before and I'll say it again, the Dancing for Democracy team is just unbelievable. You would never know we all have other jobs because we are connected all day every day.
As we are coming close to the finish line it's all about getting the word out, rehearsing and using our most powerful tool... The internet and our voices.
Our goal is to raise $5000 and we are just over halfway there. It would be amazing to crush that goal. BWW Interview: Jeffrey Schecter Creator of MONDAYS FOR BIDEN'S DANCING FOR DEMOCRACY Virtual Fundraising Event Monday October 5th
Valerie-Jean: Thank you for conceiving Dancing for Democracy and following it through to fruition, using yours and others artistic talents. The moment I heard about it, I was so excited, I had to call Heather Lee, and wanted to help my fellow artists achieve their goal. Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, at practically the last minute, here.
I believe sharing your talents and enthusiasm to help make the world a better place is the ultimate way to give back, since it comes from the heart.
Is there anything else you would like to tell us about the show itself? What we might be in store for, what surprises you could give us a hint about?
Jeffrey: I could list a million reasons why I don't do certain things. Time is certainly a valid reason. But when something causes you to scream, NO MORE, you, me, we are all capable of great change and movement. I am a person that constantly looks for ways to connect with people and inspire them. For me dance has been my medicine during these times. So many times I have said to my wife, "I need to get outside and just move." It was those times when i would put on music and just dance. I would cry and dance. I would move to release whatever I was feeling, which was usually anger, sadness, confusion and frustration. Once again I am moved to move. It is no mistake that I am asking people to move with me. To get up and take the steps needed to release and cause a major rift.
WE NEED A DRASTIC CHANGE IN THE UNITED STATES. We cannot do it alone and we cannot do it sitting on our butts. So, I ask that people move. If not with me than with someone they trust and love. Move for health and well being, and move for change.
As far as what we have in store or special surprise? I can tell you that a lot of heart and passion has been put into the show. We are all professionals that care about the arts and so we've been treating this with great integrity and care. I asked people to send me inspiring and wonderful performances. We have that. We asked celebrities to take a moment and send us their thoughts on what a Biden win would mean to them. We have that. I wanted an amazing cohost that I knew I could have fun with and be real with and be spontaneous with and We have that. The biggest surprise may come from it being live and what could spontaneously happen in the moment; also what I think this is going to do for people that tune in and watch it. I think they're going to see that this is not your average online fundraiser.
I am so proud that it is an interactive event where people will learn things they can do to help this campaign but by the end of our evening will have done something to support this campaign by dancing with us and living into the possibility of victory as if Joe has won!! And that is the goal of the whole evening. For people to see it, believe it, and live it! BWW Interview: Jeffrey Schecter Creator of MONDAYS FOR BIDEN'S DANCING FOR DEMOCRACY Virtual Fundraising Event Monday October 5th
Special guests will include: ​Tony Winners​ Annaleigh Ashford (​You Can't Take It With You)​, ​Laura Benanti ​(Gypsy​),​ ​Nikki M. James (​Book Of Mormon​), Jerry Mitchell (​Kinky Boots, La Cage aux Folles)​, Sergio Trujillo (​Ain't Too Proud​); ​Tony Nominees​ Adrienne Barbeau (Original Rizzo in Grease​), ​Danny Burstein (​Fiddler on the Roof​), Charlotte d'Amboise (​A Chorus Line​), ​Marcia Milgrom Dodge (​Ragtime)​, Beth Malone (F​un Home​), Terrence Mann (​Pippin​), Rory O'Malley (​Book Of Mormon​), Valarie Pettiford (​Fosse​); ​Academy Award Winner​ Marisa Tomei
(​My Cousin Vinny)​; as well as Jessica Lee Goldyn (​A Chorus Line)​, JoAnn M. Hunter
(​School of Rock​), ​James T. Lane (​Kiss Me Kate​), ​Jess LeProtto (​Cats​), Gerry McIntyre (Pandemic Godspell)​, Stephanie Pope (​Chicago​), Josh Walden (​Ragtime​) and BroadwayWorld's Best Choreographer James Kinney plus Choreographer Reed Luplau, among others. BWW Interview: Jeffrey Schecter Creator of MONDAYS FOR BIDEN'S DANCING FOR DEMOCRACY Virtual Fundraising Event Monday October 5th
The Dedicated Team at Dancing For Democracy/Mondays For Biden includes:​ Jeffrey Schecter, Jen Donohoo, Melissa Greenspan, Heather Lee, Melissa McCann, Stephen Nachamie and Jerome Vivona.
Jeffrey: As we are a group of dancers and performers we wanted to share what we love most. DANCE has POWER. Dynamic and intentional movement is essential for the human body to THRIVE. Movement brings JOY and RELIEF; it is inherently ACTION-based...and it's great for the HEART.
Some of the Performers that will be Entertaining and Enlightening you:
BWW Interview: Jeffrey Schecter Creator of MONDAYS FOR BIDEN'S DANCING FOR DEMOCRACY Virtual Fundraising Event Monday October 5th
BWW Interview: Jeffrey Schecter Creator of MONDAYS FOR BIDEN'S DANCING FOR DEMOCRACY Virtual Fundraising Event Monday October 5th BWW Interview: Jeffrey Schecter Creator of MONDAYS FOR BIDEN'S DANCING FOR DEMOCRACY Virtual Fundraising Event Monday October 5th BWW Interview: Jeffrey Schecter Creator of MONDAYS FOR BIDEN'S DANCING FOR DEMOCRACY Virtual Fundraising Event Monday October 5th
Just ahead of DANCING For DEMOCRACY, you can join J. Elaine at Broadway For Biden's Monday Night Phone Banking, which starts at 7PM and runs until a few minutes before the start of the event. You can visit broadwayforbiden.com for more information.
BWW Interview: Jeffrey Schecter Creator of MONDAYS FOR BIDEN'S DANCING FOR DEMOCRACY Virtual Fundraising Event Monday October 5th
Please visit the link below to RSVP for the virtual event! A follow-up email will be sent with a private link to donate to the Biden Victory Fund. Suggested donations start at $11.03 (Election Day!). After making a donation, guests will receive a link via email to the virtual event!
Set your calendars for an incredible evening!
BWW Interview: Jeffrey Schecter Creator of MONDAYS FOR BIDEN'S DANCING FOR DEMOCRACY Virtual Fundraising Event Monday October 5th
If you're interested in learning more about the evening, please visit @dancing4democracy_ on Instagram and @dancing4democracy on Twitter or email us at dancingfordemocracy@gmail.com
For more information on Jeffrey Schecter:
https://www.ibdb.com/broadway-cast-staff/jeffrey-schecter-112654
https://www.jeffreyschecter.com


Photos Courtesy of Phillip Hammer, the Artists provided their photos to the Production Team, and the Dancing For Democracy Logo was created by acclaimed Broadway illustrator Justin "Squigs" Robertson - squigsonline.com

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