Bay Street Theater & Sag Harbor Center for the Arts are presenting their 29th Annual Summer Gala, A Starry Night, hosted by Richard Kind, which will be streamed online on baystreet.org and other live stream platforms on Wednesday, July 22, at 8 p.m., with a red carpet preshow beginning at 7:30 p.m. Click here to register.
The broadcast will include a telethon, testimonials from actors and contributors as to the important role of Bay Street, and special performances from many luminary figures of the performing arts. Proceeds from the evening will support Bay Street’s educational and theatrical programs; in addition, ten percent of all proceeds will support the JBJ Soul Kitchen Food Bank in Wainscott.
This year’s gala, titled A Starry Night, will be a celebration of the Broadway musicals of the 1970s, and will pay comedic homage to the celebrity telethon specials popular at the time. “For the past two years, Bay Street has celebrated Broadway by the decade in our summer Gala, and this year we’re thrilled to explore the vibrant and innovative musicals of the 1970s,” says Bay Street Artistic Director Scott Schwartz. “Since this year the event will be broadcast online, we thought: how better to celebrate the 1970s than through a loving and satirical take on the telethons of that era? With amazing performances from leading artists of then and now, songs from beloved musicals by some of the greatest writers of all time, and a playful script full of surprises, Bay Street Theater is excited to share its 29th Anniversary Gala with our local audience and musical theater lovers everywhere!”
To write the script for the show, Bay Street recruited the talents of playwright Scooter Pietsch, whose new comedy, Windfall, was scheduled to be staged for its world premiere during the 2020 Mainstage Season, and is currently planned to be featured for the 2021 season. Filming and editing is by Rich Ficara, a Director of Photography and Editor with more than 25 years of broadcast news experience, with work on NBC’s Nightline, World News Tonight, Good Morning America, and Frontline on PBS. Bay Street’s Executive Director, Tracy Mitchell, serves as executive producer, having been an Emmy-nominated film and television producer for over 25 years before joining Bay Street. Says Mitchell, “We are so excited to create a Gala which everyone can enjoy from coast to coast! And hopefully donations will follow to support artists and keep theater thriving, even if it must be virtually these days.” Paul Anthony, Bay Street’s Sales and Sponsorship Manager, served as associate producer, boom operator, and writer of interstitial sketches.
Under the musical direction of Andy Einhorn, special guests will be performing numbers from some of Broadway’s biggest musicals of the 1970s, including A Chorus Line, Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita, Godspell, Pippin, Sweeney Todd, Pacific Overtures, A Little Night Music, and The Wiz. Academy Award-nominated actor, producer, and director Bob Balaban, known for his work in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Best In Show, The Grand Budapest Hotel, and Isle of Dogs, in addition to the 2015 Bay Street production The New Sincerity, will make a special appearance.
Key Performers include:
-Actor, singer, dancer, director, and choreographer André De Shields, whose Broadway credits include Warp!, Ain’t Misbehavin’, The Full Monty, Play On!, and the title role in The Wiz. In 2019, he originated the role of Hermes in the musical Hadestown on Broadway, winning the Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical, the Outer Critics Circle Award, the Drama Desk Award, and the 2020 Grammy Award for Musical Theater Album for Hadestown. The Actors’ Equity Foundation followed suit with the Richard Seff Award, honoring veteran stage actors’ best supporting performances of the year. Mr. De Shields recently garnered an honorary Doctor of Arts Degree from Boston Conservatory at Berklee, the 2019 Project1Voice Lifetime Achievement Award, the 2019 SAGE Joyce Warshow Lifetime Achievement Award, The York Theatre Company’s 2019 Oscar Hammerstein Award for Lifetime Achievement in Musical Theatre, and was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame. He received the Key to the City of Baltimore from Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young in August, 2019. De Shields can currently be seen on Netflix as the Algebra Tutor in “John Mulaney & The Sack Lunch Bunch” and on The CW as Chubby in “Katy Keene.”
-Four-time Tony Award nominee and OBIE recipient Raul Esparza, whose Broadway credits include the 2006 revival of Company, Leap of Faith, Arcadia, Speed-the-Plow, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Cabaret, and The Rocky Horror Show. He recently appeared in Take Me to the World: A Sondheim 90th Birthday Celebration.
-Winner of the 1973 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical for his performance in Pippin, Ben Vereen. Vereen is a two-time Golden Globe Award nominee for his performances in Funny Lady and Ellis Island, and a three-time Primetime Emmy Award nominee.
-Melissa Errico, Tony Award nominated actress, singer, and author, who appeared at Bay Street Theater as Betty Comden in Make Someone Happy and as Kate in Kiss Me Kate. She has starred on Broadway in productions of My Fair Lady, High Society and Les Miserables, and recently recorded her latest album, Sondheim Sublime.
-The legendary Betty Buckley, a multi-award-winning actress and singer whose career has spanned theater, film, and television. She is a 2012 Theatre Hall of Fame inductee and the 2017 recipient of the Julie Harris Awards from The Actor’s Fund for Artistic Achievement. She recently completed headlining the National Tour of the Broadway production of Hello, Dolly! produced by Scott Rudin.
-Tony Award nominee and Theatre World Award-winner Josh Young, who originated the role of “John Newton” in the Broadway World Premiere of Amazing Grace. He made his Broadway debut as Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar, and recently won the New England Theater’s IRNE Award for Best Actor in a Musical for his portrayal of Tateh in Ogunquit Playhouse’s production of Ragtime.
Hunter Parrish, who appeared on Broadway in Godspell as Jesus, and whose television and film credits include Weeds, Still Alice, and This Is Us. He will be appearing in the forthcoming Ryan Murphy series Ratched on Netflix, opposite Sarah Paulson.
-Trent Saunders, who most recently played the role of Jesus in ACT of CT’s production of Godspell. He made his West End Debut last summer as Che in the Lawrence Olivier Award-nominated revival of Evita, directed by Jamie Lloyd, and is an original cast member of Disney’s Aladdin.
-Arianna Rosario, who performed the title role of Eva Peron in Bay Street’s 2018 smash hit Evita. Recently she was working on the hotly anticipated production of Kurt Weil’s Love Life, directed by Victoria Clark as part of New York City Center Encores. Broadway credits include Cats, On Your Feet!, Cinderella, and West Side Story.
-Juan Peron in Bay Street’s 2018 production of Evita, Omar Lopez-Cepero, who made his debut in the role of Vincenzo in the Off-Broadway production of The Unsinkable Molly Brown. Broadway and Off-Broadway credits include original cast member of On Your Feet! and American Idiot.
In addition to the solo performers, an ensemble cast of special guests will come together to sing a select song as the gala’s closing number. Featured performers include Enhi Agwe, Kaden Amari Anderson, Kyle Barisich, Kelli Barrett, Jill Eikenberry, Dee Hoty, Josh Grisetti, Will Hantz, Jackie Hoffman, Meaghan LaFlam, Neal Mayer, Howard McGillin, Meaghan McInnes, Ethan Metz, Julia Motyka, Dakota Quackenbush, Lindsay Roberts, Steve Rosen, Anna Francesca Schiavoni, Erica Spyres, Bobby Conte Thornton, Rich Topol, Michael Tucker, Teal Wicks, and Cooki Winborn.
The host for the evening will be actor and member of Bay Street Theater’s Board of Trustees, Richard Kind. Known for his roles in “Mad About You” and “Spin City,” and more recently in “Red Oaks” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” Richard’s Broadway credits include The Producers, The Big Knife (for which he received a Tony Award nomination), and The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife. He has performed as a voice actor in the films A Bug’s Life, Cars, and Inside Out, and has acted in such Oscar-nominated films as A Serious Man, Argo, and Bombshell. Bay Street audiences will remember him for his acclaimed performances in the productions of Enter Laughing, Romance, Travesties, and The Lady in Question. He has joined Bay Street for many past galas, where he has served duly as celebrity auctioneer.
Bay Street Theater is a year-round, not-for-profit professional theater and community cultural center, which endeavors to innovate, educate, and entertain a diverse community through the practice of the performing arts. It serves as a social and cultural gathering place, an educational resource, and a home for a community of artists.
Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers, musicians and corporations. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman. She stars in and served as Executive Producer for the short independent films Hide and Seek, Balancing Act, Rom-Com Gone Wrong, Belongingness and When the World was Young. She is also the Executive Producer for The Cactus, The Language Lesson, The Writer and Cream and 2 Shugahs.
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