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Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Reminder: Bruce Vilanch Headlines BGMC’sCrescendo EDGE Boston May 8

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

Edge Boston
Oscars Funnyman Bruce Vilanch Headlines BGMC’s ’Crescendo’
by Kilian Melloy
Monday May 3, 2010

The Boston Gay Men’s Chorus is set to present its annual fun-filled gala and fund-raiser, Crescendo, this coming Saturday night, May 8. The evening begins at 6:30 p.m. and rollicks for hours with Oscars head writer Bruce Vilanch headlining the entertainment.

A BGMC press release notes, “Bruce has written material for Bette, Lily, Whoopi and many of Hollywood’s biggest stars. In addition to his own stand-up, Bruce wowed Broadway as Harvey Fierstein’s replacement in Hairspray. Bruce will dish the dirt all night and entertain you for the finale of Crescendo.”

There will also be hors d’oeuvres and a silent auction jam packed with big ticket items like Broadway shows, a VIP trip to Hollywood to see an episode of Ellen being taped, and a karaoke party for 30, and smaller—but unique—baskets prepared by the members of the Chorus themselves: everything from a “Dirty Boy” gift basket to “A Big Basket of Bruce!”

The release notes, “The BGMC has provided over $275,000 to support HIV, civil rights, and LGBT Youth causes. We have taken community outreach concerts to more than 60 towns and cities across New England, singing about our lives for over 55,000 first time attendees. Our award-winning High School Outreach Project has changed hearts and minds at schools across the Commonwealth. None of this would be possible without the funds raised at Crescendo.

“Ticket sales from our Boston concerts only cover 45% of our annual costs,” the release continues. “In this time of declining government, corporate and foundation support, we need your support at Crescendo to continue to be your voice of pride. During this 2009-10 season we have been operating on an austerity budget that is 20% lower than previous years, but we have not yet had to sacrifice artistic quality or our community outreach programs because you have been there for us.

“Join us for Crescendo and enjoy an evening of fun that also does good. If you aren’t able to attend, please consider making a tax deductible donation equal to your ticket price.”

Crescendo tickets are $75 per person,” text at the BGMA website reads. “A limited number of VIP Tickets at $125 include an exclusive pre-Crescendo cocktail reception with Bruce Vilanch hosted by the BGMC’s Board President.”

Crescendo kicks off at 6:30 p.m. at the Royale Nightclub (formerly The Roxy), located at 279 Tremont Street in Boston.

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Get Tickets While You Can – Bruce Vilanch In Spalding Gray: Stories Left To Tell Now Til May 6

Thursday, April 26th, 2007

Bruce Vilanch at Stories Left to Tell
Broadway World
by Mark Rupp

Hollywood funnyman Bruce Vilanch (Hairspray) currently appears in the acclaimed Naked Angels production of Spalding Gray: Stories Left To Tell, now playing at the Minetta Lane Theatre (18 Minetta Lane, Greenwich Village). Vilanch will be appearing for two weeks, from April 24 through May 6.

An array of luminaries turned out for his opening night, including Bette Midler, Celeste Holm, Phoebe Snow and Stephen Daldry.

Photo: Countess

(Bette With Celeste Holm)

The show features an ensemble cast of five including Kathleen Chalfant, Hazelle Goodman, Ain Gordon, Tony-winner Frank Wood and a rotating special guest actor.

“Spalding Gray is one of the most revered and irreverent storytellers of our time. He became an indelible image: sitting alone at a desk on a bare
stage, delivering hilarious and moving monologues that had a singular resonance with his audiences. Conceived by Kathleen Russo, Gray¹s widow and directed by Lucy Sexton, Spalding Gray: Stories Left To Tell assembles both well-known and never-before-seen work spanning Gray’s extraordinary life and career,” state press notes.

Tickets are priced at $35 – $65 and are available by visiting www.ticketmaster.com or phoning (212) 307-4100.

Mr. Vilanch To Host Actors’ Fund tp Salute Herman at L.A. Tonys Party, 6/10

Wednesday, April 25th, 2007

Actors’ Fund tp Salute Herman at L.A. Tonys Party, 6/10
Back to the Article
by BWW News Desk

The Actors’ Fund will pay tribute to Jerry Herman at its 11th Annual Tony Awards Party featuring a live feed of the Tony Awards as they happen in New York. Guests will be treated to a special performance by Karen Morrow (The Grass Harp), who will also present Herman with the Julie Harris Award for Lifetime Achievement. Bruce Vilanch (Hairspray) will host.

The event will take place Sunday, June 10th, 2007 at the Skirball Center (2701 North Sepulveda Blvd.) in L.A. Cocktails and a silent auction begin at 3:30 PM, with dinner and live telecast from 5 to 8 PM and the presentation to Herman at 8 PM.

“There is never an evening when, somewhere in the world, the music and lyrics of Jerry Herman are not being sung by a lady in a red headdress, or a lady with a bugle, or a middle-aged man in a wig and a boa. Hello, Dolly!, Mame, and La Cage aux Folles are home to some of the most popular, most-often performed and most successful musical heroines of all time, and have given Jerry the distinction of being the only composer-lyricist in history to have had three musicals that ran more than 1,500 consecutive performances on Broadway. His first Broadway show was Milk and Honey (1961), followed by Hello, Dolly! (1964), Mame (1966), Dear World (1969), Mack & Mabel (1974) The Grand Tour (1979), La Cage aux Folles (1983), Jerry’s Girls (1985) and “Mrs. Santa Claus” (1966), a CBS-TV special starring Angela Lansbury. Showtune, a revue of his life’s work, is performing in regional theatres around the country. Herman’s string of awards and honors include Tonys, Grammys, Drama Desk Awards, the Johnny Mercer Award, the Richard Rodgers Award, the Oscar Hammerstein Award, the Frederick Lowe Award, the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Theatre Hall of Fame. He is the subject of the upcoming PBS documentary “Words and Music by Jerry Herman,” a film by Amber Edwards.

Previous recipients have included Julie Harris, Gwen Verdon, Charles Durning, Rita Moreno, James Earl Jones, Tyne Daly, Lauren Bacall, Stockard Channing, Carol Channing and Liza Minnelli.

The Actors’ Fund is a nationwide human services organization that helps all professionals – both performers and those behind the scenes – in performing arts and entertainment. Founded in 1882 – and celebrating its 125th Anniversary this year – The Fund serves those in film, theatre, television, music, opera, and dance with a broad spectrum of programs including comprehensive social services, health services, supportive and affordable housing, emergency financial assistance, employment and training services, and skilled nursing and assisted living care.

Administered from offices in Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago, The Actors Fund is a safety net, providing programs and services for those who are in need, crisis, or transition. www.actorsfund.org.

Individual tickets are $200 and Tables of ten are available at $2,500 and $5,000. Limited tickets are available and can be purchased by calling The Actors’ Fund at 323.933.9266 ext. 54 or at www.actorsfund.org.

Local Law Enforcement Hate Crime Prevention Act of 2007

Thursday, April 5th, 2007

Chronicle.com
April 6, 2007
Hate crime law is HRC’s top focus this year
by Eric Resnick

Cleveland—The Human Rights Campaign’s “number one priority for this Congress” is to pass the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crime Prevention Act of 2007, which allows local police to investigate and prosecute violent crime motivated by the victim’s sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or disability.

Currently, no federal law provides for prosecution of hate crime with those biases and neither do most state laws, including Ohio’s.

The new measure, introduced March 20 in the House, would add the categories to the existing federal hate crime law, which covers religion, race and national origin.

HRC national field director Marty Rouse delivered that message to a sold out crowd of 630 at the group’s Cleveland fundraising dinner March 31. It was the 14th Cleveland dinner and the largest to date.

HRC lobbies Congress for LGBT-affirming legislation, and its political action committee helps elect candidates that will vote on their behalf.

Rouse said that HRC’s second legislative priority is the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would protect all employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

“Sixty percent of Americans think you should be judged by the job you do, not who you are,” said Rouse. “Still, to pass ENDA, it’s going to take all hands on deck.”

Rouse explained that it will take “thousands of e-mails and post cards” especially to those lawmakers identified as “persuadeable targets,” or ones who could vote either way.

“There are three targets in Ohio,” Rouse said. Later, he identified the three as first-term Democrat Zack Space of Dover, and Republicans David Hobson of Springfield and Pat Tiberi of suburban Columbus.

Asked why, with a Democratic majority in both houses of Congress, ENDA is expected to be so hard to pass, Rouse said, “[Lawmakers] are uncomfortable with it. We expect it could be a wedge issue again closer to the national election that could be used against candidates in a close race.”

Rouse also said that even though the congressional leadership changed from Republicans to Democrats, “the make up of the Congress has not changed much.”

“The conservative Republicans are still there,” said Rouse, “and some of the new Democrats are very conservative on social issues.”

Rouse said other pieces of LGBT-affirming legislation, such as a measure introduced last week to end taxation of domestic partner benefits, can be passed as amendments to other bills throughout the year.

In states with both types of laws in effect, the hate crime law nearly always passed first.

Dinner co-chair Eric Lozier said that silent and live auctions at the event raised more than $25,000. The host Intercontinental Hotel had not submitted its bill by press time, but typically the entire affair raises more than $100,000 for HRC operations.

At separate HRC Federal Club events, seven new members joined and one new major donor was recruited. Federal Club members contribute from $1,200 to $4,999 a year. Major donors start at $5,000.

Post dinner entertainment was provided by lesbian comedian Suzanne Westenhoefer.

The event was emceed by Hollywood comedy writer Bruce Vilanch, who said that being there reminded him of old cruising grounds when he was performing in Cleveland with Bette Midler in the 1970s.

Afterward, Vilanch commented on the current state of LGBT celebrities—mostly the ones who remain closeted.

“It’s a fantasy business,” said Vilanch, adding that men who think of themselves as “leading men” and going after roles where they kiss the girl, are not likely to come out.

“The audience needs to believe them,” Vilanch said.

“That’s why it won’t be entertainment, but sports that will overthrow its conventions about gay people first,” Vilanch said.

Vilanch, who has always been out, said, “I’m lucky. I’m flamboyant in a job where being eccentric is rewarded, so I have made it a part of my personality.”

Newly elected officials came to the dinner to thank HRC for its support.

“[Governor] Ted Strickland and I would not have won without the early support of HRC,” said Ohio Lt. Governor Lee Fisher. “We will never forget it.”

A similar message was given by Sen. Sherrod Brown in a video feed.

Other elected officials at the dinner included first term U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton of Akron, State Sen. Dale Miller, and State Reps. Armond Budish, Timothy DeGeeter and Chris Redfern, who is also Ohio Democratic Party chair.

The city of Cleveland was represented by Mayor Frank Jackson, Council President Martin Sweeney, council members Joe Cimperman, Jay Westbrook, Matthew Zone, and gay council member Joe Santiago. With them was Cleveland council clerk Emily Lipovan.

The city of Lakewood was represented by council members Mary Louise Madigan and openly lesbian Nickie Antonio.

Mayor Dean DePiero of Parma attended, as did Eighth District Court of Appeals Judge Melody Stewart, and Cuyahoga County Common Pleas judges Stuart Friedman, Brian Corrigan and Bridget McCafferty.

The Leadership Award was presented to Patrick Shepherd of Cleveland.

Shepherd is the immediate past president and founder of the Cleveland Stonewall Democrats. He is also an organizer of the National Stonewall Democrats.

Shepherd is the associate director of the Cleveland Film Society, which he described as a very gay place to work, consisting of gay men and straight women.

“So, when a cute guy is spotted in Ohio City, everyone goes to the window,” Shepherd said.

“But we’re in a civil rights struggle for people not quite as lucky as I am,” Shepherd said.

“This year we sent [former U.S. Senator] Mike DeWine with his HRC scorecard rating of 11 to unemployment in Cincinnati,” Shepherd said.

“Do you know what George Voinovich’s rating is?” Shepherd asked the crowd. “It’s zero.”

“We have three years to ensure that George Voinovich can pack his bags and return to Collinwood,” Shepherd concluded.

Lozier concluded, “[The 2007 dinner] gives the Cleveland steering committee a challenge to raise the bar again in 2008.”

Vilanch Heads “Androcles and the Lion” And I Ain’t Lion…Ba Da Bing

Friday, March 30th, 2007

Playbill.com
Vilanch and Rudetsky to Head Androcles Reading With Slew of Theatre Critics
By Andrew Gans
30 Mar 2007

Hairspray’s Bruce Vilanch and Chatterbox host Seth Rudetsky will head the cast of the upcoming reading of Androcles and the Lion.

The April 23 reading is the latest installment in Project Shaw and will be presented at the Players Club at 7 PM. Vilanch will star as the Lion with Rudetsky as Androcles. The Christians, who will be thrown to the lions, will be played by theatre writers/critics David Cote, Adam Feldman, David Finkle, Eric Grode, Charles Isherwood, Howard Kissel, Jeremy McCarter, Michael Musto, Patrick Pacheco, Rex Reed, Michael Riedel, Frank Scheck, Michael Schulman, Raven Snook, Alexis Soloski and Roma Torre. Brendan Lemon will host the evening.

The Project Shaw series is produced and directed by David Staller, who acted with Dana Ivey in Shaw’s Mrs. Warren’s Profession at the Irish Repertory Theatre. Dates stretching throughout 2007 and beyond will provide an airing of every sketch, full-length and one-act play by the playwright.

Past participants include Blair Brown, Daniel Jenkins, Rebecca Luker, Michael Cerveris, Karen Ziemba, Michele Pawk, Jack Gilpin and George S. Irving.

Creator and host of Seth’s Broadway Chatterbox, Seth Rudetsky has served as a pit pianist and/or conductor for such Broadway shows as 42nd Street, The Full Monty, The Phantom of the Opera, Mamma Mia! and The Producers. He also conceived the idea for the recent all-star The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas concert to benefit the Actors’ Fund of America as well as the five previous benefit concerts, Hair, Chess, Funny Girl, On the Twentieth Century and Dreamgirls. Rudetsky was a member of the comedy writing team for “The Rosie O’Donnell Show” for two years, and his awards include the Duplex’s Stars of Tomorrow, the Backstage Bistro and the Funniest Gay Male in New York. He was also the author and star of the recent one man, GLAAD nominated show Rhapsody in Seth, and his new tome — “The Q Guide to Broadway” — was published by Alyson Books. Rudetsky has been seen on “Law & Order” and “All My Children” and is a columnist for Playbill.com.

Bruce Vilanch made his Broadway debut in Hairspray, after having played the role of Edna Turnblad for over a year in the show’s national tour. An Emmy-winning comedy writer, Vilanch has written for the Oscars, the Emmys, the Tonys and the Grammys. He is also the author of “Bruce! My Adventures in the Skin Trade and Other Essays” and is the subject of the documentary “Get Bruce!” He spent four seasons on “Hollywood Squares” and also appeared in his own one-man show. Vilanch’s other credits include “It Nearly Wasn’t Christmas,” “The Morning After,” “Bosom Buddies,” “The Ice Pirates” and “Call Me Claus.”