The Actors Fund kicked off its third year of intimate Musical Mondays celebrations this week in the lobby of Hollywood's Pantages Theatre as Broadway composer and musical director Ron Abel took center stage joined by a handful of all-star friends. The evening was aimed at raising money for The Fund, now celebrating its 125th Anniversary as a nationwide organization providing numerous services for all those in film, theatre, television, music, opera and dance.
With the landmark Pantages Lobby as the backdrop, stars including Lucie Arnaz, Joley Fisher, Valarie Pettiford and Linda Purl helped sing a handful of the composer's numbers, with Abel accompanying on piano and often vocals. Always a delightful evening, this Musical Mondays event also allowed Abel to reveal news of actress Whoopi Goldberg signing on to help produce his latest Broadway musical, Bricktop, which tells the story of the famed singer and cabaret owner through a mixture of original music and a selection from The Great American Songbook.
Towards the end of the evening Abel performed four songs from Bricktop with the two original numbers, "A Place of My Own" and "Queen of the Night" getting a stirring rendition by the sultry Loretta Devine. Pettiford and Joey Gian sang "Bye Bye Blackbird" and an arrangement of "The Way You Look Tonight/Everybody Loves My Baby," giving a glimpse at the new musical's plans to incorporate a few classic numbers into the mix. The shows producers Paul Lambert and Jonas Neilson were also on hand for the announcement.
The Actors Fund will next be hosting its 12th Annual Tony Awards Bash on June 15 at the Skirball Center in Los Angeles, honoring Tommy Tune with the Julie Harris Award for Lifetime Achievement. Hosted by Florence Henderson, the evening will include a silent auction benefiting The Fund along with dinner and a live feed of the Tony Awards as they happen in New York. For more information on The Actors Fund or to purchase tickets to the Tony Awards event, visit www.actorsfund.org or call 323-933-9266 ext. 54.
Photos by Bill Dow.
Ron Abel and Christa Jackson
Ron Abel and Joey Gian
Ron Abel and Lucie Arnaz
Ron Abel and Lucie Arnaz
Ron Abel, Marsha Kramer and Wayne Moore
Ron Abel, Valarie Pettiford and Joey Gian
Cast Curtain Call
David Michaels (AF Director of Special Events West Region), Martin Wiviott
(Producer), Lucie Arnaz, Laurence Luckinbill and Keith McNutt (AF West Region Director)
Director John Bowab, Lucie Arnaz, Ron Abel, Patricia Morrison and
Joley Fisher and Ron Abel
Joley Fisher, Ron Abel and Linda Purl
Lucie Arnaz, Richard Sherman & Linda Purl
Songwriter Desmond Child & singer DeLyn
Dee Wallace, Tippi Hedren, Frances Fisher and singer DeLyn
Edmund Bagnell (Sweeney Todd) & Dee Wallace
Jane A. Johnson, Patricia Moeeison and Nancy Dussault