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Brenda Braxton, N'Kenge, and More to Headline Amas Musical Theatre's Gala

Brenda Braxton, N'Kenge, and More to Headline Amas Musical Theatre's Gala

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, has announced a starry line-up of talent that will be on hand to celebrate the company's 49th Anniversary Gala Benefit honoring Broadway casting director, producer and director Jay 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 on Monday, April 2. 2018 at the Baruch Performing Arts Center (East 25th Street between Lexington and 3rd Avenues). As previously announced, Honorary Chair for the event is Tony Award-nominated actor and singer Norm Lewis. Two-time Tony Award-nominee Brad Oscar will serve as Master of Ceremonies for the evening.

Scheduled to participate in "No Foolin: A Musical Confection, will be Broadway's Brenda Braxton (Smokey Joe's Café, Jelly's Last Jam), Tina Fabrique (Ragtime, Dessa Rose), N'Kenge (Motown), Brian Sears (The Book of Mormon), Josh Walden (Ragtime, Cagney), Remy Zaken (Spring Awakening), as well as Sam Given, Lauren Hooper,Jonathan Hoover, Jeremiah James, Aneesh Seth and Sumi Yu. Direction is by Stuart Ross and Jonathan Cerullo with Musical Direction by John McMahon.

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 Jesus Christ Superstar, their upcoming spring production, followed by the aforementioned show. The evening will culminate in presentation of "The Rosie Award," this year bestowed upon Mr. Binder, Ms. Grant and Leonid Poretsy MD. A scholarship in the name of Amas founder Rosetta LeNoire will also be given to a college-bound student attending the Amas Teen Academy.

"We are thrilled that such a stellar group of talented performers will be on hand to help celebrate our three honorees," says Amas Artistic Producer Donna Trinkoff. "Stuart and Jonathan have put together an exciting program that I know will be a highlight of the evening."

Tickets are $500 and $250, plus a limited number of show-only $150 seats available and can be purchased online at, or by calling (212) 563-2565.More information at


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.

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. Don't!, 4 Guys Named Jose and Stormy Weather: Reimagining Lena Horne. Amas education programs include the Rosetta LeNoire Musical Theatre Academy.

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