Review: A BENEFIT FOR QUENTIN OLIVER LEE Fills 54 Below With All Things Beautiful, Loving, and Healing

A community rallies around a man and family in need.

By: Oct. 15, 2022
Review: A BENEFIT FOR QUENTIN OLIVER LEE Fills 54 Below With All Things Beautiful, Loving, and Healing

One of the most rewarding aspects of being a member of the arts community, of any arts community in any city, is seeing how that community rallies around one another in times of need. There certainly has been a lot of that loving spirit these last few years, as individuals, as collectives, as businesses were all threatened by the harsh times in which we live - but even before the pandemic, there have been many times when people joined forces to help loved ones in crisis. That's what is happening right now for Quentin Lee.

Quentin Oliver Lee is a beloved member of the Broadway community, with Broadway, touring, and Metropolitan Opera credits on his CV and many, many loved ones throughout the industry. Those loved ones have really stepped up recently, as Quentin has been diagnosed with Stage 4 Colon Cancer, raising money to help him and his family with their finances, through a gofundme campaign and a recent night of two benefits at Studio 54. On Monday, October 10th, Broadway's Living Room was at capacity as sixteen people put on back-to-back benefits, the proceeds of which were all for Quentin and his family.

But the money wasn't all. It was important, to be sure, but it wasn't all.

What it was really all about was the love.

Review: A BENEFIT FOR QUENTIN OLIVER LEE Fills 54 Below With All Things Beautiful, Loving, and Healing This benefit performance for Quentin Oliver Lee was for his care while battling cancer, but cancer wasn't the topic of discussion - indeed, there was very little discussion at all. Other than a few words from emcee Brian Gligor, most artists ran up the few steps at Stage Right, jumped into their musical number, and then ran off the steps at Stage Left (except for Kathryn McCreary, who got laughs for mentioning her obvious advance state of pregnancy, and who wasn't running anywhere). One by one these loved ones performed the likes of Taylor Swift (Bailey McCall), Ragtime (Tamar Greene), Cole Porter (Joy Hermalyn) and Andrew Lippa (Ryan Widd), usually with a wave, a kiss blown across the room, or some brief and direct words, like Jamilyn Manning-White's simple, "Quentin, I Love You," moments before a touching "Unexpected Song." There was no need for melodrama or maudlin behavior because this was about love and healing energy, and although it seems unnecessary, this reviewer has to call out especially gorgeous moments in the evening like Jacob Khalil's own "Rest of My Life," Treston Henderson's abundant "Time" and some Joni Mitchell from the woman who was announced as "The love of Quentin's life," actress Angie Graham. The entire musical program was breathtaking, from start to finish, particularly a Judy Garland-infused "Come Rain or Come Shine" by Parker Jenkins, who seemed not to take his eyes off of Quentin, for the whole number. What a special night this was - so much so that, with the reader's kind indulgence, this writer must go personal for the next section, in order to illustrate just how special.

Review: A BENEFIT FOR QUENTIN OLIVER LEE Fills 54 Below With All Things Beautiful, Loving, and Healing

I am a devout atheist - devoted, not militant - and because of that, I am always made uncomfortable by the inclusion of religion and god in the shows that I see. So when Tramell Tillman, one of the few guests to speak, began saying that he is a man of faith, that Quentin is a man of faith, that Angie is a woman of faith, the discussion took a turn, destined toward unease, for me at least. When Tramell continued his rhetoric with indications that he was about to sing a hymn, when he suggested that some in the audience would know his song and should sing along, when he joked, "Everyone get out your black hymnals," the intention was clear. We were going to church.

It was the highlight of the evening.

Review: A BENEFIT FOR QUENTIN OLIVER LEE Fills 54 Below With All Things Beautiful, Loving, and Healing

Although a non-believer, I have never felt closer to understanding faith and god than when I am in the company of our black citizens, engaged in the act of worship, an experience that is compounded when music is involved. In my church-going experience (which has been surprisingly extensive) no congregation, no group of people, no set of souls has leaned into faith and god and belief and worship as deeply, as committedly, as our black brothers and sisters and gender non-conforming siblings. As Tramell Tillman led the room in a rousing rendition of "Hold On To God's Unchanging Hand" the basement at 54 Below was filled, more with each passing note, with faith, with love, with healing energy. For four or five, even six minutes, this non-believer felt the belief, felt the belonging, and felt the joy. This was no benefit fundraiser - it was a prayer circle. These people came to celebrate, and they came to heal - and love is the greatest healer. This was a most precious moment in life and, honestly, in cabaret.

The next day I was with a friend, a woman in her sixties who is dedicated to her own faith, Judaism, and who has battled cancer for six years. Still overwhelmed by what I had experienced, I detailed my evening at 54 Below for her, and she said, "I wish I had been there to see that, to feel that love, to experience that healing. I would have liked to share in that moment and have that healing energy wash over me."

Quentin Oliver Lee is a man greatly loved, valued, needed, and his friends, family and colleagues filled him with the power and energy to stand on the stage and sing an incredible "Impossible Dream" as they willed him into better health, and as they raised the much-needed funding for his treatment and the continued survival of his family. It was a sight to behold, an experience to remember, and a tribute to a man who, most clearly, deserves it. May we all be so well cared for during the moments in our lives when we need it.

Review: A BENEFIT FOR QUENTIN OLIVER LEE Fills 54 Below With All Things Beautiful, Loving, and Healing

The Quentin Oliver Lee Band was Aaron Drescher on drums, Jarrett Murray on bass, and Eric Sorrels Music Directing from the piano.

To contribute to the gofundme campaign for Quentin Lee, go HERE.

Find great shows to see on the 54 Below website HERE.

Review: A BENEFIT FOR QUENTIN OLIVER LEE Fills 54 Below With All Things Beautiful, Loving, and Healing
Cicily Daniels
Review: A BENEFIT FOR QUENTIN OLIVER LEE Fills 54 Below With All Things Beautiful, Loving, and Healing
Brian Gligor
Review: A BENEFIT FOR QUENTIN OLIVER LEE Fills 54 Below With All Things Beautiful, Loving, and Healing
Lindsay Roberts
Review: A BENEFIT FOR QUENTIN OLIVER LEE Fills 54 Below With All Things Beautiful, Loving, and Healing
Ryan Widd
Review: A BENEFIT FOR QUENTIN OLIVER LEE Fills 54 Below With All Things Beautiful, Loving, and Healing
Jamilyn Manning-White
Review: A BENEFIT FOR QUENTIN OLIVER LEE Fills 54 Below With All Things Beautiful, Loving, and Healing
Brett Macias
Review: A BENEFIT FOR QUENTIN OLIVER LEE Fills 54 Below With All Things Beautiful, Loving, and Healing
Jacob Khalil
Review: A BENEFIT FOR QUENTIN OLIVER LEE Fills 54 Below With All Things Beautiful, Loving, and Healing
Angie Graham
Review: A BENEFIT FOR QUENTIN OLIVER LEE Fills 54 Below With All Things Beautiful, Loving, and Healing
Blair Campion
Review: A BENEFIT FOR QUENTIN OLIVER LEE Fills 54 Below With All Things Beautiful, Loving, and Healing
Treston Henderson
Review: A BENEFIT FOR QUENTIN OLIVER LEE Fills 54 Below With All Things Beautiful, Loving, and Healing
Kathryn McCreary
Review: A BENEFIT FOR QUENTIN OLIVER LEE Fills 54 Below With All Things Beautiful, Loving, and Healing
Bailey McCall
Review: A BENEFIT FOR QUENTIN OLIVER LEE Fills 54 Below With All Things Beautiful, Loving, and Healing
Parker Jenkins
Review: A BENEFIT FOR QUENTIN OLIVER LEE Fills 54 Below With All Things Beautiful, Loving, and Healing
Tramell Tillman
Review: A BENEFIT FOR QUENTIN OLIVER LEE Fills 54 Below With All Things Beautiful, Loving, and Healing
Joy Hermalyn
Review: A BENEFIT FOR QUENTIN OLIVER LEE Fills 54 Below With All Things Beautiful, Loving, and Healing
Tamar Greene

The Students of Katy Wolfe Voice Studio

Review: A BENEFIT FOR QUENTIN OLIVER LEE Fills 54 Below With All Things Beautiful, Loving, and Healing

Review: A BENEFIT FOR QUENTIN OLIVER LEE Fills 54 Below With All Things Beautiful, Loving, and Healing Review: A BENEFIT FOR QUENTIN OLIVER LEE Fills 54 Below With All Things Beautiful, Loving, and Healing

Review: A BENEFIT FOR QUENTIN OLIVER LEE Fills 54 Below With All Things Beautiful, Loving, and Healing
Aaron Drescher
Review: A BENEFIT FOR QUENTIN OLIVER LEE Fills 54 Below With All Things Beautiful, Loving, and Healing
Jarrett Murray
Review: A BENEFIT FOR QUENTIN OLIVER LEE Fills 54 Below With All Things Beautiful, Loving, and Healing
Eric Sorrels

Quentin Oliver Lee

Review: A BENEFIT FOR QUENTIN OLIVER LEE Fills 54 Below With All Things Beautiful, Loving, and Healing

Review: A BENEFIT FOR QUENTIN OLIVER LEE Fills 54 Below With All Things Beautiful, Loving, and Healing

Review: A BENEFIT FOR QUENTIN OLIVER LEE Fills 54 Below With All Things Beautiful, Loving, and Healing

Photos by Stephen Mosher

Visit the Stephen Mosher website HERE.



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