Christmas and charity go together, as Ebenezer Scrooge finally learned to his great benefit. We wanted to make you aware of two holiday- and charity-related events, lest you happen to miss them in the flurry of activity that occurs at this time of year.
On Wednesday, December 12 at 5:15pm, the annual lighting of the Broadway Holiday Tree in Duffy Square will take place. This year's master and mistress of ceremonies are George Hamilton (who recently took over the role of Billy Flynn in Chicago) and Rue McClanahan (one of the stars of The Women). They will be joined by cast and company members of a great many Broadway and Off-Broadway shows. The festivities will also include a special performance by the NYPD's Daniel Rodriguez and a song or two by Michael McElroy with the Broadway Inspirational Voices.
As part of the ceremony, TDF and the League of American Theatres and Producers will present a $5,000 donation to Joseph Nardone, Battalion Commander of the 9th Battalion, for the Ladder 4/Engine 54/Battalion 9 Memorial Fund, which has been established to aid the families of men from that theater district firehouse who were lost in the tragedy of September 11.
This year's tree, a 25-foot, white spruce, will be decorated with red, white, and blue lights and ornaments representing every show now running on and Off-Broadway. Duffy Square, the site of TDF's highly popular "tkts" booth, is located on Broadway between 46th and 47th streets. The Broadway Holiday Tree is presented by the Theatre Development Fund, the League of American Theatres and Producers, and the Times Square Improvement District.
Some of the musical theater's brightest stars have contributed their vocal talents to a brand new CD titled Broadway Cares: Home for the Holidays. Promotional efforts for the project included an album signing appearance by featured performers Alan Cumming, Adam Pascal, Daphne Rubin-Vega, and Patrick Wilson at the Virgin Megastore in Times Square on Thursday, December 6. Proceeds from the disc, which is now on sale in major music outlets nationwide, will benefit the Twin Towers Fund, the American Red Cross, and Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS (BC/EFA).
On the CD, Pascal sings "New York State of Mind," Wilson warbles "We Need A Little Christmas," Rubin-Vega wishes us "Feliz Navidad," and Cumming canoodles with Liza Minnelli in "Baby, It's Cold Outside." The disc also includes the following cuts:
Audra McDonald: "White Christmas"
Victor Garber: "I'll Be Home For Christmas"
Christine Ebersole: "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"
Jane Krakowski: "Santa Baby"
Lillias White: "Silent Night"
Sherie René Scott: "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)"
Lea De Laria: "Sleigh Ride"
Gary Beach and Roger Bart: "Silver Bells"
Billy Porter: "Christmas Time Is Here"
Anthony Rapp: "Little Drummer Boy"
Sam Harris: "Merry Christmas Darling"
Liz Callaway and Ann Hampton Callaway: "O Holy Night"
Davis Gaines:"The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire)"
Since its founding in 1988, BC/EFA has raised over $50 million to help fund critically needed services for people with AIDS, HIV, or HIV-related illnesses. To order a copy of the Broadway Cares: Home for the Holidays CD, phone 212-840-0770, ext. 250, or visit the website www.broadwaycares.org.