An all-star lineup of Broadway and cabaret luminaries will participate in a virtual concert presentation of the off-Broadway musical THE MUSICAL OF MUSICALS (THE MUSICAL!) on Sunday, April 18th, at 7 pm EST as a benefit for The York Theatre Company. The entertainment is being produced by Tom D’Angora, Michael D’Angora, and Tim Guinee, three gentlemen who, only four months ago, had never produced an online benefit before but who have become experts at it after helping to save The West Bank Cafe/Laurie Beechman Theatre and Birdland from shuttering during the pandemic. Tim Guinee, a renowned actor of the stage and screen, and the D’Angora, producers and activists, came to the rescue of the two nightclubs without being asked, out of sheer devotion to the beloved New York institutions, securing the participation of many of their famous personal friends. Well, this new benefit is looking like Chapter Three of a beautiful story about ongoing humanity.
Earlier this year a water main broke on Lexington Avenue, flooding The York Theatre Company, an artistic haven for performers and audiences for nearly three decades, and though the damage was not enough to destroy the theater, it did drive them out so that repairs could be made. During the renovation, what remains of the theater is being housed in various storage facilities around the tri-state area. Enter Guinee and The D’Angoras, who joined forces with York Theatre Producing Artistic Director James Morgan and Evans Haile, Executive Director to create the fundraising performance of Rockwell and Bogart’s musical, which will be directed by Tom and Michael with musical direction by Deniz Cordell, while original director Pamela Hunt acts as artistic supervisor. Through their combined efforts they all hope to help the York rebuild and recover from the devastation that threatened the future of a theater many in the arts community have come to depend on.
The lineup of the all-star benefit will include Tony Award recipients Betty Buckley, Matthew Broderick, André De Shields, Jane Krakowski, Patti LuPone, Audra McDonald, Donna Murphy, Mandy Patinkin, Chita Rivera, and Lillias White; Oscar and Tony Award recipient Mercedes Ruehl; Drama Desk Award recipients Lewis Black, Richard Kind, Jose Llana, and Isaac Mizrahi; Olivier Award recipient Lesli Margherita Emmy Award recipient Debra Messing; Tony Award nominated actors Andrea McArdle, Brad Oscar, and Ethan Slater; Emmy Award nominees Giancarlo Esposito, Martha Plimpton, and Randy Rainbow; and Lucille Lortel Award recipient Soara-Joye Ross. Rounding out the cast are Christy Altomare, Colleen Ballinger, Kevin Smith Kirkwood, Kelvin Moon Loh, Telly Leung, Christine Pedi, Jelani Remy, Jackie Sanders, Michael West, and Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, whose love of the arts has been well-documented over the years. Secretary Clinton and former President Bill Clinton, personal friends of Tom D’Angora, have been instrumental in the fundraising efforts to save these New York institutions of art.
Eric Rockwell and Joanne Bogart’s The Musical of Musicals (The Musical!) was deemed to be the perfect show for this event because The York helped develop and create the show, then produce its Off-Broadway premiere there in 2003, where it enjoyed an extended run. Melanie Herman and The York transferred it to New World Stages in 2005 for a 500-performance commercial run. The original cast album is on JAY Records. Tom and Michael D’Angora believed that the history between the show and The York spoke for itself.
The Musical of Musicals (The Musical!) will make its online dbut on Sunday evening, April 18, 2021, at 7:00 PM EST and will be available to view on demand through April 22, 2021. Donations may be made by visiting the GoFundMe link at gf.me/u/znnvib. This event is presented through The Theatre Authority, Inc.
Broadway World Cabaret reached out to Tom D’Angora to ask about these recent fundraising efforts from his household and Mr. Guinee, and he had this to say:
“After the success of our Save West Bank and Save Birdland events, my husband Michael D’Angora, Tim Guinee, and myself heard about the devastating flood at The York Theatre and knew we had to jump in and help.
The York has been a huge part of me and Michael’s life for the past 20 years. Michael’s first professional job was as an intern at The York, while Musical of Musicals was being produced and I was the flyer boy for the show at TKTS. Jim Morgan and the entire York family really welcomed us in and made it like a second home for us. So many people feel that way, The York has opened its doors to so many of us over the years. They really go above and beyond to support new works and artists, now we have an opportunity to support them and that is exactly what we are going to do.
Just like with West Bank and Birdland, we are streaming a huge free event (streaming at Yorktheatre.org) on April 18th to cap off our fundraising efforts. At the centerpiece of the event will be an all-star virtual revival of The York’s mega-hit musical comedy “Musical of Musicals The Musical”.
So far the cast we have for Musical of Musicals is beyond thrilling, we have confirmed Christy Altomare, Betty Buckley, Colleen Ballinger, André De Shields, Richard Kind, Kevin Smith Kirkwood, Jose Llana, Kelvin Moon Loh, Patti LuPone, Telly Leung, Lesli Margherita, Andrea McArdle, Donna Murphy, Brad Oscar, Christine Pedi, Randy Rainbow, Jelani Remy, Chita Rivera, Soara-Joye Ross, Jackie Sanders, Ethan Slater, Michael West, and Lillias White. With more names to come soon.
We will also have special appearances throughout the evening from Lewis Black, Matthew Broderick, Giancarlo Esposito, Jane Krakowski, Debra Messing, Isaac Mizrahi, Mandy Patinkin, Martha Plimpton, Mercedes Ruehl.
Audra McDonald will be doing a very special tribute to her dear friend the BRILLIANTLY talented Musical of Musical original cast member Lovette George who we sadly lost in 2006.
For me, one of the most exciting parts of The Save Birdland event was the inclusion of the world’s most famous Jazz fan President Bill Clinton and I’m so proud to say for this event we have confirmed the world’s most famous theater fan and my personal hero, our former First Lady, Senator, Secretary of State and the first and only woman ever to be a major party’s nominee for President Hillary Rodham Clinton. She has graciously agreed to deliver closing remarks.
We are still adding names to the roster, but needless to say, everyone involved in the efforts is humbled and thrilled to have such talent attached. It really is a testimony to how much The York Theatre means to the NY theater community.”
James Morgan, Producing Artistic Director at The York, stated, “The incredible outpouring of support over the past several months is impressive and very touching. To have Tom & Michael and Tim step forward at this point to bring us to the next level is truly exciting. We cannot wait for this show which we originally helped bring to life to be seen in this whole new way-and with this spectacular cast.”
Evans Haile, Executive Director, said “We are so appreciative of these amazing artists and thrilled to share this snappy and laugh-filled celebration of musical theatre and its legendary composers and lyricists.”
The York Theatre Company is well represented on YouTube HERE and on Facebook HERE.
To help with the recovery, please visit the GoFundMe link at gf.me/u/znnvib.
For additional information, please visit www.yorktheatre.org.
“No company or institution in the city does more to preserve, promote and advance the American musical theater than the York. As live theater finally begins to return, I know the York will be a vital and essential part of that recovery and revitalization.”-Brad Oscar
“Performing arts venues in NYC and all over the country need your help right now. Think of all the moments of joy, laughs and tears you’ve felt in those spaces. Now try and put a dollar amount on those feelings. I, for one, find it impossible to do so. Now these places that have given us so much over the years are facing an existential crisis. If you can find it in your heart, please give what you can and be a lifeline to these invaluable sources of inspiration.”
‘The York has earned its reputation as one of NYC’s top Off-Broadway venues, especially dedicated to producing new works! This past year has reminded us how important the arts (and particularly theater) are to the cultural, economic, and social fabric of our city and frankly the country. That’s why it’s so important to band together as a community to save these smaller theater spaces, beyond Broadway, where so much meaningful and significant art is created. Remember, art is power!”-Kevin Smith Kirkwood
“The York has become a staple of New York City theater culture and has provided work and incredible entertainment for so many. It has also given a space for new shows to blossom and thrive and I feel honored to play a part in helping support its life during such a difficult time. Much like the Broadway houses, New York City theater wouldn’t feel the same without the York. One feeds the other and it is really beautiful to see the Broadway community coming together for such an important cause.”-Christy Altomare
“Keeping venues open, especially those that develop new musical theater is so important, especially as we make our comeback”-Ethan Slater
“Working at the York reminds me of how treasured a place it is. Its a uniquely New York enterprise with a fancy east side address (SO close to Bloomingdales after all) and yet also feels like a local small town theatre with a great bit musical comedy heart run by faithful friends and colleagues with an “aw shucks lets put on a show!” attitude.”-Christine Pedi