Amas Musical Theatre to Honor Jay Binder, Micki Grant & Leonid Poretsky, MD at Spring Benefit Concert
Amas Musical Theatre (Donna Trinkoff, Artistic Producer), New York City's award-winning pioneer in diversity and multi-ethnic casting in the performing arts since 1968, will celebrate its 49th Anniversary at its annual Gala Benefit on Monday, April 2, 2018 at the Baruch Performing Arts Center (East 25th Street between Lexington and 3rd Avenues). Honorary Chair for the event is Tony Award-nominated actor/singer and 2016 Rosie Award-winner Norm Lewis. Two-time Tony Award-nominee Brad Oscar will be Master of Ceremonies for the evening.
The gala evening will begin at 6:00pm with a champagne reception and silent auction. At 7:00pm, students of the Rosetta LeNoire Musical Theatre Academy, Amas' flagship education program, will present a sneak peek of their upcoming spring production of Jesus Christ Superstar, followed by "No Foolin: A Musical Confection," directed by Stuart Ross and Jonathan Cerullo and featuring award-winning performances by Brenda Braxton, Tina Fabrique, Jeremiah James, N'Kenge, and Aneesh Sheth, among other Broadway talent. The evening will culminate in the presentation of "The Rosie Award," this year bestowed upon Broadway casting director, producer and directorJay Binder, Tony-nominated composer and lyricist Micki Grant and Leonid Poretsky, MD, a leading endocrinologist and founder of the Friedman Transgender Health & Wellness Program at Lenox Hill Hospital. A scholarship in the name of Amas founder Rosetta LeNoire will also be given to a college-bound student attending the Amas Teen Academy.
"The Rosie Award is given every year to outstanding individuals who are leaders in their fields. Our Honorees exemplify the spirit of Rosetta LeNoire, not only because of their extraordinary accomplishments and dedication in bringing our world more closely together, but because they help show the way to others who would follow. We are very proud to be honoring Jay Binder, Micki Grant, and Dr. Leonid Poretsky", says Donna Trinkoff, Amas Artistic Producer. "Jay, whose career as a casting director spans over four decades, actually got his start as a director at Amas. Micki, also involved with the company from its early years, was a pioneer as an African-American composer-lyricist on Broadway with several Tony nominations to her name. Dr. Poretsky is a fierce advocate for the transgender community and a leader in his field."
Tickets are $500 and $250, plus a limited number of show-only $150 seats are available and can be purchased online at www.amasmusical.org, or by calling (212) 563-2565. More information at www.amasmusical.org.
Jay Binder has cast over 70 Broadway productions, including the Tony Award winning productions of The Lion King, A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder, Dames At Sea, Nice Work If You Can Get It, Gypsy, The King and I, Lost in Yonkers and Jerome Robbins' Broadway. In addition, he was fortunate enough to cast every Neil Simon play from 1990 through 2009. Mr. Binder was one of the founders and continues to be a driving force behind the highly-acclaimed Encores! Great American Musicals in Concert series at City Center in New York City. His work casting this series led to the Tony Award winning revival of Chicago. For television, he cast the Emmy Award winning series I'll Fly Away and was the East Coast Casting Director of Warner Brothers Television for five years. For film, he cast Six by Sondheim (HBO), Hairspray, Dreamgirls, Chicago, and Nine. He is the recipient of twelve Artios Awards, the highest honor in Casting. He has been an artistic consultant for Disney World and National Artists Management Company. He was creative consultant on the PBS special, My Favorite Broadway, The Love Songs, hosted by Julie Andrews. Most recently Mr. Binder directed the workshop of Love and Other Fables. On Broadway, he was the associate director of Lolita and Happy New Year. He has worked as a director at numerous regional theaters across the country. Those credits include Present Laughter at The Acting Company, Rex, Jumbo, and Best Foot Forward at The York Theatre Company, and Say Yes!, at the Berkshire Theatre Festival. In 2016, Binder Casting was acquired by RWS Entertainment Group. Through RWS, Mr. Binder has recently been promoted to Director of Theatrical Development. Along with Joe Christopher, Vice President of Commercial Theatre Ventures, they will be developing new projects in all entertainment medias.
Micki Grant is a pioneering lyricist, composer, writer and performer. Her extensive period of collaboration with director Vinnette Carroll at the Urban Arts Corps Theatre resulted in nine musical productions, the most successful of which were the Broadway musicals Don't Bother Me, I Can't Cope, in which she also starred, and Your Arms Too Short to Box with God. The multi-award winning ...Cope garnered the Grammy Award for its cast album and five Tony nominations, including Best Musical, among others. Her contribution to the 1978 musical Working garnered a Tony Award nomination for Best Original Score. Her musical based on the life of George Washington Carver, Don't Underestimate a Nut, premiered at Omaha's Theatre for Young People in 1994, and for Jacques Brel Blues (with Andre Ernotte and Elliot Tiber) she supplied the English lyrics for twenty of Brel's songs. She was composer/lyricist for J.E. Franklin's Prodigal Sister, contributed to four musical revues based on the oral histories of hospital workers, contributed additional lyrics to Broadway's Eubie and has written songs for educational TV's "Infinity Factory." She enjoys writing special material for club singers, and one of her several commercial jingles has won her a two off-Award. Her body of work has been celebrated in two Off-Broadway musical retrospectives. Multi-talented, Ms. Grant has performed on and off Broadway and in theatres around the country. For the national tour of Having Our Say, she won the Helen Hayes Award for her portrayal of Sadie Delany. Some of her numerous other awards include the Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, NAACP Image and OBIE. Ms. Grant is a practicing, published poet.
Leonid Poretsky, MD is a champion of health equity and humanity in health care. As Chief of Endocrinology at Northwell Health's Gerald J. Friedman Transgender Health & Wellness Program of Lenox Hill Hospital, Dr. Poretsky provides comprehensive medical services for the specialized needs of the transgender and gender non-conforming community. Dr. Poretsky is a leader in this area, helping found the program and providing much needed trans-affirmative medical care in a safe, non-judgmental environment. Dr. Poretsky completed a fellowship in endocrinology and metabolism at Boston's Beth Israel Hospital (now Beth Israel/Deaconess Medical Center) and a research fellowship at Harvard Medical School. He is professor of medicine at the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell and Chief of the Division of Endocrinology at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, a member of Northwell Health. He has authored over 100 publications and has served on the National Institutes of Health review committees and on the editorial boards of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism and other endocrine journals. Northwell Health scored high marks in the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation's 2017 Healthcare Equality Index with Lenox Hill Hospital recognized as a Leader in LGBTQ Healthcare Equality.
Norm Lewis can currently be seen in the Broadway revival of Once on This Island. He most recently appeared as Sweeney Todd in the Off-Broadway production of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street at the Barrow Street Theatre, receiving the AUDELCO Award for his performance. In May of 2014, he made history as The Phantom of the Opera's first African American Phantom on Broadway. He has been seen on PBS in the Live From Lincoln Center productions of Showboat with Vanessa Williams, Norm Lewis: Who Am I?, and New Year's Eve: A Gershwin Celebration with Diane Reeves, as well as American Voices with Renée Fleming and the PBS Special First You Dream - The Music of Kander & Ebb. He can be seen recurring in the VH1 series, Daytime Divas, also alongside Vanessa Williams. His additional television credits include Chicago Med, Gotham, The Blacklist, and Blue Bloods, as well as in his recurring role as Senator Edison Davis on the hit drama Scandal. Mr. Lewis received Tony, Drama Desk, Drama League, and Outer Critics Circle award nominations for his performance as Porgy in the Broadway production ofThe Gershwins' Porgy & Bess. Other Broadway credits include Sondheim on Sondheim, The Little Mermaid, Les Misérables, Chicago, Amour, The Wild Party, Side Show, Miss Saigon, and The Who's Tommy. In London's West End he has appeared as Javert in Les Misérables and Les Misérables: The 25th Anniversary Concert, which aired on PBS. Off-Broadway Mr. Lewis has performed in Dessa Rose (Drama Desk nomination, AUDELCO Award), Shakespeare in the Park's The Tempest, The Two Gentlemen of Verona (Drama League nomination), Captains Courageous, and A New Brain. His regional credits include Porgy in The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess (A.R.T.), Ragtime, Dreamgirls (with Jennifer Holliday), First You Dream, Sweeney Todd, and The Fantasticks. On film Mr. Lewis can be seen in the newly released drama, Magnum Opus, and has appeared in Winter's Tale, Sex and the City 2, Confidences, and Preaching to the Choir. Norm's solo debut album "This is The Life" can be found on Amazon.com as well as cdbaby.com. Website: www.normlewis.com
Brad Oscar is a two-time Tony Award nominee most recently seen on Broadway in Something Rotten! (Tony Nomination). Other Broadway credits include Big Fish, Nice Work If You Can Get It, The Addams Family, Spamalot, The Producers (Tony Award nomination), Jekyll & Hyde, and Aspects of Love. National Tours:The Phantom of the Opera, Young Frankenstein, Jekyll & Hyde. West End: The Producers. Off Broadway: Sweeney Todd (Barrow Street), Forbidden Broadway, The Body Beautiful, Encores! Annie Get Your Gun, Bells Are Ringing and Do Re Mi. Regional: Fiddler on the Roof (Barrington Stage), Barnum (Asolo Rep/Maltz Jupiter- Carbonell Award, Best Actor in a Musical), The Mystery of Irma Vep, Cabaret and Damn Yankees (Arena Stage), The First Wives Club (Old Globe). Film: Ghost Town, The Producers. Television: "Madam Secretary," "Smash," "The Good Wife" and three "Law & Orders."
Stuart Ross has a deep affection for Amas since he was brought into the fold by Rosetta LeNoire to direct the musical Conrack! based on the Pat Conroy novel, "The Water Is Wide." His affection was magnified when Donna Trinkoff produced a wonderful production of the Broadway show Starmites for which Stuart co-authored the book with Barry Keating (Tony nomination). While Stuart was directing Conrack!, in his spare time he was creating Forever Plaid which eventually ran for nearly 2,000 performances Off-Broadway. It is still performed around the country and throughout the world. In addition to Forever Plaid, he wrote Plaid Tidings and The Sound of Plaid (the Glee Club version edition). He is currently creating a Plaid Benefit for BroadwayCares/Equity Fight AIDS for April 7 & 8 at the Laurie Beechman Theatre. A longtime director for the York Theatre, he is currently directing a fresh adaptation of Subways Are for Sleeping for the Jule Styne celebration for the MUFTI series. Other shows that he has directed for the York areEnter Laughing, The Musical, (Drama Desk, Lortel, Outer Critics noms.), Silk Stockings, Minnie's Boys, It's A Bird, It's a Plane, It's Superman, among others. Other highlights of Mr. Ross' career in the theatre: Standing on Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays; Radiant Baby (The Public Theatre, directed by George C. Wolfe, Drama Desk, Outer Critics, Lortel noms), Nasty Little Secrets, The Heebie Jeebies, It's a Wonderful Life; It Has to Be You, and The Radio City Music Hall Easter Show. His irreverent adaptation of Gilbert and Sullivan's The Gondoliers was presented in workshop for The Roundabout Theatre Company. He wrote A Leap of Faith, one-woman show for Faith Prince, Not-So-New Faces, Tea with Bea, Fun with Dick and Jane: The Musical, and Rhythm on the Rainbow. In Los Angeles: Stuart co-produced, with the great Joan Stein, Standing on Ceremony (LA Drama Critic's Circle Award). He directed Promises, Promises (starring Jason Alexander, Jean Smart, Fred Willard and Allan Thicke) and Brigadoon (starring Marin Mazzie, Jason Daniely, Debbie Gibson and Orson Bean); for Reprise It's A Wonderful Life; for Pasadena Playhouse Silk Stockings (also adaptation, starring Alfred Molina, Michael Richards, Tony Shaloub, Sharon Lawrence, Orson Bean), Music Theatre West; The Boswell Sisters: and Breaking Up at San Diego's Old Globe Theatre. He has worked as some of the country's most prestigious theatres, including Manhattan Theatre Club, San Diego's Globe Theatre, Primary Stages, The Alley Theatre, Pasadena Playhouse, Goodspeed Opera House, Cleveland Playhouse, Cincinnati Playhouse, ALLIANCE THEATRE, The Walnut Street Theatre, among others. For television, he directed sitcom episodes, including "Frasier." He directed and created special material for the PBS Great Performances: "An Evening at the Pops," starring Jason Alexander. For 10 seasons Stuart has worked as a director/dramaturg and/or writer at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center National Music Theatre Conference. For the past nine years, he has been a panelist for the ASCAP/Disney musical workshop. He is the recipient of the Joseph Jefferson Award, the BNC New Playwrights Grant, The State Department Grant for Cultural Exchange, and was awarded the original administrator at the inception of Theatre Row.
Jonathan Stuart Cerullo recently won Best Director for Fictitious, a new musical by Paul Cozby and Tom Hyndman at SOUNDBITES sponsored by Disney Theatricals and MTI for Theatre Now New York. Last year, he directed Chance for the Fresh Fruit Festival and Sid's Treasure at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. He also directed Windywoo and Her Naughty Naughty Pets, choreographed Lisa and Leonardo for NYMF, directed and staged Harold Rome's, Pins and Needles for NYC La Mama. Choreographed Under Fire,which won the NYMF 2009 Best of Fest, Midsummer Nights for Musical Theatre Works, Wonderful Town at ELT, Camelot at the Berkshire Theatre Festival, and directed Uta Hagen's 50-Year Tribute as well as being her dance instructor for Six Dance Lessons at The Geffen Playhouse in LA. For television Jonathan, has choreographed for Great Performances Evening at Pops "Orpheus in the Underworld", and Dear Mr. Gershwin, at Canada's Royal Theatre for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. He choreographed the Big Apple Circus' Carnivale and Picturesque at Lincoln Center and was Choreography Consultant for the Broadway production of, Say Goodnight, Gracie, starring the late Frank Gorshin. Additional Broadway credits include, assistant director/choreographer for Band in Berlin, associate choreographer for Anna Karenina and assistant to director Joe Layton on The Three Musketeers. As a dancer, he was featured on Broadway in Legs Diamond, the national tour of CATS, and Sweet Charity with Donna McKechnie. His film and television work also includes assistant to the choreographer on The First Wives Club, Donny Osmond's This Is the Moment, and Natalie Cole's Christmas Special. Jonathan also had the pleasure of working with Bette Midler by creating the Special Effects Movement for her in Paramount Pictures, The Stepford Wives. Jonathan is developing Willie and Me, In the Spotlight Again, based on the life of circus artist, Emmett Kelly. He is a proud member of the Stage Director and Choreographers Society, Actors Equity Association, and The Dramatist Guild, and is a nominator on the SDC Foundation Callaway Award Committee and the Lucille Lortel Awards recognizing Off-Broadway theatre. For a more in depth profile please visit his web site at www.jsctheatricals.com.
Amas Musical Theatre (Donna Trinkoff, Artistic Producer) now in its 49th year of continuous operation is New York City's award-winning pioneer in diversity and multi-ethnic casting in the performing arts since 1968. Amas ("you love" in Latin) is devoted to the creation, development and professional production of new American musicals through the celebration of diversity and minority perspectives, the emergence of new artistic talent, and the training and encouragement of underserved young people in the New York area. In recent years, Amas has emerged as a leading not-for-profit laboratory for new musicals, the most recent being Broadway and the Bard, starring Len Cariou and Red Eye of Love, which was awarded the Joseph A. Callaway Award for Outstanding Choreography. Its production of The Other Josh Cohen received six 2013 Drama Desk nominations including Outstanding Musical, a 2013 Lucille Lortel nomination for Outstanding Musical, and a 2013 Off-Broadway Alliance nomination for Best New Musical. Other shows that Amas has developed include Charleston Harbor, Dorothy Dandridge: Hollywood's Sepia Goddess, Bread and Roses, Play it by Heart, A Taste of Chocolate, Triassic Parq, The Countess of Storyville, Distant Thunder, Marry Harry, Me and Miss Monroe, Aesop & Company, Signs of Life, Wanda's World, Shout! The Mod Musical, Lone Star Love, From My Hometown, Zanna, Don't!, 4 Guys Named Jose and Stormy Weather: Reimagining Lena Horne. Amas education programs include the Rosetta LeNoire Musical Theatre Academy, Lens on Live Theatre and in-school theatre arts residencies designed in partnership with elementary, middle, and high schools.