Liz Callaway, Hugh Panaro & More to Join Amas Musical Theatre Benefit Concert

The concert honoring Patricia Birch and Len Cariou will take place on Monday, May 13.

By: Apr. 02, 2024
Liz Callaway, Hugh Panaro & More to Join Amas Musical Theatre Benefit Concert
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Amas Musical Theatre has revealed the line-up of talent that will be on hand to celebrate the company's 55th Anniversary at its annual Gala Benefit Concert on Monday, May 13, 2024 at Baruch Performing Arts Center (Engelman Recital Hall) One Bernard Baruch Way (25th Street -between Lexington & 3rd Avenues). The evening will benefit Amas Musical Theatre’s education programs.

The evening will begin at 6:00pm with a champagne toast. At 6:45pm the show begins with introductions a concert performance of “A Lotta Night Music,” with music direction by Jeffrey Campos,directed by Jonathan S. Cerullo. Performing songs from such shows as Grease, Sweeney Todd, and A Little Night Music, among others, will be will be a cast of Broadway luminaries including: Ivy Austin (Raggedy Ann, Grease 2), Brenda Braxton (Smokey Joe’s Café Chicago), Liz Callaway (Baby, Cats), Joanna Carpenter (Sweeney Todd, The Connector), Robert Cuccioli (Jekyll & Hyde, The Rothchilds), Carole Demas (Grease, The Baker’s Wife), Dewitt Fleming, Jr. (Tap Dance Kid, Encores), Penny Fuller (Applause, Anastasia), Clint Hromsco (“Before I Go”, The Legend of Georgia McBride), Kylie Kuioka (The King and I), Erin Moore (Shuffle Along, After Midnight), Geoffrey Owens (“The Cosby Show”, Romeo & Juliet), Hugh Panaro(The Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables), and Lee Roy Reams (Applause, 42nd Street), with a special appearance from Cyndi Lauper and The Academy Teens. . Teens from The Rosetta LeNoire Musical Theatre Academy will be part of the evening.

The evening includes the presentation of the 2024 “Rosie” Award, named for Ames founder Rosetta LeNoire to Honorees award-winning choreographer and director Patricia Birch (A Little Night Music, Parade), Tony Award-wining actor Len Cariou (Sweeney Todd, Applause), and Tim Butler of Butler Tibbets, a beloved corporate sponsor for Amas programs for many years.

“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 thrilled to be paying tribute to these wonderful Honorees, all of whom have made such a profound impact in the performing arts” says Donna Trinkoff, Artistic Producer. “Butler Tibbetts has been a philanthropic patron of the company for more than 10 years. Len Cariou’s career has spanned theatre, from Shakespeare to musicals, television and film, and he is one of the greatest actors of his generation. Pat Birch’s amazing body of work as a trailblazing female choreographer and director has paved the way for so many of our artists to establish their careers. We are also delighted to have Amas Artistic Associate Jonathan Cerullo on board to direct the evening because of his relationship with Patricia Birch which is all-embracing, not only as her sole and exclusive assistant for 12 years but, as his mentor, and friend.”

Past recipients of the “Rosie” Award include Maurice Hines, Phylicia Rashad, Dionne Warwick, Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee, Priscilla Lopez, Lillias White, Norm Lewis, Hinton Battle, Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, Leslie Uggams and last year’s honoree Sheryl Lee Ralph.

Tickets are $600 and $300 plus a limited number of show-only $175 seats are available and can be purchased online at www.amasmusical.org, or by calling (212) 563-2565. More information is at www.amasmusical.org.

Sponsors for the Gala are Charleen Cooper Cohen and Martin L. Cohen M.D., Willette and Manny Klausner, Fuzzbutt Vodkas and Wayne Purcell & W Beverage Group.

Since 1968, Amas has been a force in New York City, developing and producing new American musicals, a pioneer in non-traditional casting and multiculturalism, and a forerunner of theatre arts education for underserved young people.

Amas Musical Theatre was the inspiration of a pioneering figure in the American theatre, Rosetta LeNoire (1911-2002), an African-American actress who began her career as a child performer “planted” in audiences by her godfather, the legendary Bill “Bojangles” Robinson. Rosetta founded Amas (Latin for “you love”), a non-profit performing arts organization, to combat racism, proclaiming “We are all flowers in God’s glorious bouquet, every one of us, every color!”

From the beginning, Amas has sought to bring together people of all backgrounds, colors, and ethnic origin through musical theatre, and education programs have always been integral to the mission. Amas became the first voice of multiculturalism in theatre, and America’s founding exponent of diversity, long before the term became a corporate mantra. Rosetta insisted on multi-ethnic casting in every show she produced and, in a few seasons, Amas emerged as an influential new force in the theatre, especially after she conceived the groundbreaking Bubbling Brown Sugar in 1973, which became a Broadway and touring sensation.

In 1999, President Clinton awarded the National Medal of Arts to Rosetta as “an individual deserving of special recognition by reason of her outstanding contributions to the excellence, growth, support, and availability of the arts in the United States." Actors’ Equity Association acknowledges Rosetta and Amas’ contribution to the American theatre by annually bestowing the Rosetta LeNoire Award (“The Rosie Award”) on producers and theatre companies who exemplify her commitment to multicultural production and casting. Following in Rosie’s footsteps, for the past 25 years, artistic producer Donna Trinkoff has continued to engrave the unique Amas trademark with musical theatre works that embrace different cultural perspectives while reaching out to underserved audiences.

Countless dramatists, composers, lyricists, directors, choreographers and actors have graced Amas stages over the past 54 years, including Maya Angelou, Micki Grant, Galt McDermott, Sheldon Epps, John Rando, Tom O’Horgan, Ossie Davis, Billie Allen, Lynne Taylor-Corbett, Andre deShields, Leslie Uggams, Phylicia Rashad, Brad Oscar and Christopher Jackson. The contributions of these alumni, as well as the dedication of the talented roster of early career artists, speaks to the unique and important work of Amas – a laboratory for artists who share its vision of cultural equity and tell timeless stories that resonate deeply.

 




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