Nellie McKay to Join NIGHT OF A THOUSAND JUDYS Featuring Julie Benko, Telly Leung & More

The Pride concert to benefit The Ali Forney Center will take place at Joe’s Pub on Monday, June 12.

By: Jun. 09, 2023
Nellie McKay to Join NIGHT OF A THOUSAND JUDYS Featuring Julie Benko, Telly Leung & More

Acclaimed singer and songwriter Nellie McKay, along with dancers Daniel Booda and Wyatt Slone, have joined the cast of the 11th annual “Night Of A Thousand Judys” – the Pride concert to benefit The Ali Forney Center – at Joe’s Pub on Monday, June 12. The performance is at 7:00 PM, with a VIP post-show reception to follow. 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 will also feature performances by the previously-announced Tony Award winner Lauren Patten (Jagged Little Pill on Broadway), Julie Benko (Funny Girl on Broadway), Telly Leung (“Glee,” Aladdin on Broadway), T. Oliver Reid (Hadestown on Broadway), Alexandra Silber (Grammy nominee, Fiddler on the Roof on Broadway), Carole J. Bufford (BroadwayWorld’s “Vocalist of the Year”), jazz vocalist Hilary Kole (Carnegie Hall, Blue Note), Jack Bartholet (Bistro Award winner), Elizabeth Ward Land (Scandalous on Broadway), and rising star Jae W.B. (Lincoln Center’s Festival of Firsts). The evening is written and hosted by Justin Elizabeth Sayre, directed by Peter James Cook, and choreographed by Jason Wise, featuring Drew Wutke 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 available Click Here.


Anyone unable to attend the event can donate directly to The Ali Forney Center HERE.


“We are thrilled to be back celebrating Judy’s legacy and the great work of The Ali Forney Center,” comments Sayre. “This year is especially important since our friends at AFC are in the process of expanding their reach. Their new drop-in center will enhance the badly needed services they provide to our kids on the street. The facility will open next month around the time of our event, so we’re happy to partner with them to help make this a reality. So please come to our event to support their wonderful work, or donate to the cause if you can’t attend.”


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 andSarah 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 MasonMaude 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 only provider of specialized housing and support services to disconnected, high-risk LGBTQ+ homeless youth in New York City. Annually in New York City, there are more than 5,700 homeless youths according to the NYC Youth Count in 2021, and the program offers services to a large number of them, over 2,200, at their 24/7 Drop-In Center and 17 emergency and transitional housing sites. To meet the increasing numbers of homeless LGBTQ+ youth seeking support, AFC has reimagined the “Drop-In Center” to coincide with its upcoming
move in June 2023. This new centralized location in midtown Manhattan allows for space to accommodate their youths’ increasing needs.


“Night Of A Thousand Judys” will take place at Joe’s Pub on Monday, June 12 at 7:00 PM. Tickets are $75 (partial view), $100 (Regular), $150 (Premium) and $175 (VIP). The $150 Premium seats include preferred seating, and a ticket to Ali Forney Center’s Oasis Summer Party on July 19. The $175 VIP seats includes premium seating, a ticket to Ali Forney Center’s Oasis Summer Party on July 19, and an exclusive post-show reception. The event has a $12 food / two (2) drink minimum per person. Joe’s Pub is located at The Public Theater, 425 Lafayette Street (at Astor Place) New York, NY 10003. Tickets are available at Joe’s Pub Click Here.





(Writer and host) 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. Their 12-part-epic Ravenswood Manor, a camp-horror-soap-opera called “a sharply written and well-acted exemplar of the horror-comedy genre” by the LA Times, is currently being developed with Sony Television and RuPaul. Sayre has written a series of YA Novels, Husky, Pretty, and Mean, released by Penguin Books, and the book, From Gay to Z: A Compendium of Queer Culture just released by Chronicle Books. Sayre has written for television, working with Michael Patrick King on his hit CBS comedy, “2 Broke Girls” and Fox’s “The Cool Kids.” Sayre also appeared on HBO’s “The Comeback” with Lisa Kudrow. They are NYCLU artist ambassador and a 2023 MacDowell Fellow. @justinelizabethsayre


Peter James Cook

(Director) 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

(Choreographer), based in New York City, has choreographed over 20 productions around the world, including Anything Goes starring Andrea McArdle and Sally Struthers at Gateway Playhouse and Ogunquit Playhouse, Mamma Mia! (ACT), Ryan Raftery’s The Obsession of Calvin Klein (Joe’s Pub), Bayside: The Saved by the Bell Musical (New York Times “Critics Pick”), Showgirls: The Musical (XL Nightclub at the Out Hotel), world premiere of The Wolf at Theater Raleigh, Full House: The Musical starring Perez Hilton (Toronto and off-Broadway), Cole Escola’s Thicker Than Water (Ars Nova), and “American Showstoppers: Irving Berlin.” Jason was the Associate Choreographer to Tony winner Donna McKechnie on the national tour of “4 GIRLS 4.” After getting his start with The Walt Disney Company, Jason appeared as Tumblebrutus in over 800 Performances in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats and Disney’sBeauty and the Beast (Carpet). His film and TV credits include: The Wolf of Wall Street, “Pan Am” (ABC), “Dance Moms” (Lifetime), The Amazing Spiderman 2, The Normal Heart (HBO) and “Judy Garland: Too Young to Die” on Netflix. Jason has served on the faculty at Broadway Dance Center, The American Academy of Dramatic Arts, The American Musical & Dramatic Academy, The Joffrey Ballet School, Peridance Capezio Center, CAP 21, and Jacob’s Pillow. 


Drew Wutke

(Music Director/Arrangements/Piano) is a New York City-based multidisciplinary artist. His selected credits include: solo shows by Kelli O’Hara, Mason Alexander Park, Billy Gilman, John-Andrew Morrison, and more; for Lincoln Center: Judy Garland Mercer cabaret celebration, Michael R. Jackson’s “Next@LCT3,” and Stephanie Blythe’s “Blythely Oratorio” (PBS); for Joe’s Pub at The Public: Kevin Smith Kirkwood’s acclaimed “Classic Whitney: Alive!” concert series and “KSK ON THE BQE, a Black Queer Experience,” premiering June 25th, and more. He is the resident MD at the Jen Waldman Studio. (MM, vocal coaching, OKCU). More at or Instagram @drewwutke.  



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