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BWW Feature: Las Vegas Entertainment Community Comes Together to Inspire, Raise Funds with New Song, “Needing Each Other.”

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BWW Feature: Las Vegas Entertainment Community Comes Together to Inspire, Raise Funds with New Song, “Needing Each Other.”

The Las Vegas entertainment community has banded together and recorded a new song, "Needing Each Other," along with an accompanying video. The song and video can be seen online on YouTube and was created as a fundraiser to assist the entertainment community.

TCS Entertainment Community Relief Fund, set up through the nonprofit Composers Showcase LV LTD, has been set up to assist out-of-work performers, musicians, and those in the arts and entertainment community who need financial assistance during this difficult time. To donate, visit thecomposersshowcase.com and click on Donations-Relief Fund.

BWW Feature: Las Vegas Entertainment Community Comes Together to Inspire, Raise Funds with New Song, “Needing Each Other.”
Keith Thompson

"We wanted to do something to help our community," says Keith Thompson, who wrote and co-produced the project.

Thompson's background includes musical director of the Las Vegas company of Jersey Boys, creator/director of The Cocktail Cabaret, and founder/host of The Composers Showcase at The Smith Center.

The project was co-produced by Alan and Kathi Glist of Glist Entertainment, Inc. (producers of Menopause The Musical and The Bronx Wanderers at Harrah's Las Vegas and Thomas John: Celebrity Psychic Medium at Caesars Palace).

Las Vegas is known as the Entertainment Capital of the World, but with the COVID-19 pandemic, showrooms and theaters are shuttered until they can be safely reopened. This means performers, backstage staff (lighting, audio, props), videographers, photographers, ushers, ticketing, and the various support personnel have lost their work and have no income.

The logistics of the video involved each performer and musician recording remotely at home.

"Ironically, I have done something similar with Composers Showcase for years," explains Keith. "I would put together a group of backup singers or a choir, and I would send their material separately. We would then get together for a soundcheck. However, I didn't have the luxury of a soundcheck this time."

BWW Feature: Las Vegas Entertainment Community Comes Together to Inspire, Raise Funds with New Song, “Needing Each Other.”
Philip Fortenberry
Photo by Erik Kabik

It started with a song and the people (not government) of China who are also really hurting. Pianist Philip Fortenberry, as part of the orchestra, toured with his shows, The Hands of Liberace and The Man at the Piano (written and directed by Keith) throughout the U.S and China. His tour manager reached out and said that the presenter, Mr. Liu, who brought Philip to China, asked him if Philip had a song or access to a song to bring the community together.

"I was surprised, but I thought about it. Since we were just at the beginning of the quarantine at the time, and everyone was out of work, it was like the beginning of the perfect storm," says Philip.

"That is how the song came about. It was recorded, put online, and people loved it," adds Keith.

Kathi and Alan then approached Keith about doing a community project similar to "We Are The World," but that idea was then recorded, so they asked about an original song.

"When we originally reached out to Keith about 10 days into the quarantine, we knew Keith was the perfect person to bring the entertainment community together," says Kathi. "When we heard his original song, we thought spectacular. This is a labor of love."

It was on a Saturday night and as the cast of the shows they produced was getting ready to perform, Caesars Palace Entertainment informed Kathi and Alan this would be their last performance until restrictions were lifted.

"We were talking to our casts a week before the quarantine and did make some changes, including canceling meet and greets. On that Saturday, we had to tell our casts that this would be their last performance for a while. It never occurred to us that we would still be closed six weeks later with no shows and everyone out of work," says Kathi.

They reached out, and over 100 people participated in the video, including 50 singers and 20 musicians, along with 27 people who offered messages of hope. The singers and musicians listened and learned the song, recorded their part, and Keith then compiled all of the video clips and balanced the audio with an audio director and sound engineer. Jeff Lester and Jesseca Zwerg of Big Picture Studios provided video production and editing, and Jeff "Bonzai" Caruso of Green Lion Recording Studios Las Vegas provided audio production. The audio person and video person had never met but were working on the same project towards the same goal. Keith weaved all of the "pieces" together to make a cohesive video showcasing the vision shared by everyone.

Featured singers on "Needing Each Other" include Michelle Johnson, Travis Cloer, Vin A., Vinny Adinolfi, Jay Alger, Jassen Allen, Susan Anton, Brent Barrett, Dennis Blair, Bernie Blanks, Karalyn Clark, Tony Arias, Douglas Crawford, Jimmy Dennings, Vita Corimbi Drew, Daniel Emmet, Bruce Ewing, Kaylie Foster, Elisa Furr, Gret Menzies Gonzalez, Nicole Pryor Dernersesian, Cherity Harchis, Todd Hart, Dr. Richard Hodges, Clint Holmes, Kelly Clinton Holmes, Liz Hyde, Chadwick Johnson, Colte Julian, Randal Keith, Amanda King, Liza Likins, Bucky Heard, Dana Martin, Krissy Johnson Millstein, Effie Passero, Kevan Patriquin, Ron Remke, David "Dai" Richards, Niki Scalera, Dan Schumann, Christine Hudman Pardy, Giada Valenti, Janien Valentine, Kelly Vohnn, Maren Wade, Jonathan Williams, Valerie Witherspoon, Jaquelyn Holland-Wright, and Eric Jordan Young.

The orchestra includes Philip (piano), John Miceli (drums), Danny Miranda (bass), Lauren Cordell, Rebecca Sabine, Rob Taylor, and Sage West (violin), De Ann Letourneau and Yunior Lopez (viola), Lindsey Springer, Moonlight Tran and David Warner (cello), Gary Cordell, Dan Falcone, Gil Kaupp and Wes Marshall (trumpet), Andrew Boostrom and Nathan Tanouye (trombone), Eric Tewalt (saxophone) and Beth Lano (French horn).

Messages of hope on the video were provided by Stevie Nicks, Chaz Palminteri, Susan Anton, Rick Barry, Bill Medley, Artie Butler, Clint and Kelly Clinton Holmes, Joyce Dewitt, Roy Firestone, Mick Fleetwood, Ronnie Foster, Mat Franco, Frederick da Silva, Spencer Haywood, Dennis Bono, Lorraine Hunt Bono, Thomas John, Frank Marino, Deana Martin, Myron Martin, Paige O'Hara, Carrot Top, Tony Orlando, Marianne Phoenix, Irwin Raymer, John Katsilometes, and cast from Thunder From Down Under.

The song is a message of hope, tells a story, and helps the Las Vegas entertainment community. In the state of Nevada, unemployment benefits for entertainers (considered freelancers) are not available until May 15, with little or no outside funding available. "Needing Each Other," along with an accompanying video, can be seen online on YouTube. Donations raised through the TCS Entertainment Community Relief Fund, set up through the nonprofit Composers Showcase, will help those in the entertainment community in need. To donate or to apply for financial assistance, visit thecomposersshowcase.com and click on Donations-Relief Fund.



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From This Author Debbie Hall