Attendees can expect to see "Phantom" cast members belting ballads, rock songs, Broadway standards, and more.

It Will be Raining Men (and Women) for a Great Cause Jan. 16

Detroit Concert for a Cure to Feature Cast of 'Phantom' and Others

By Jenn McKee

This year's Detroit Concert for a Cure - happening on Monday, Jan. 16 at 7 p.m. at Ferndale's The Loving Touch - could also be called "Phantom, After Hours."

Why? Because individual cast members from the touring production of "Phantom of the Opera" (playing at the Detroit Opera House Jan. 11-22) will be performing non-Phantom songs, cabaret-style, on what would otherwise be their day off.

Proceeds from the Detroit Concert for a Cure show benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and Ferndale Schools' orchestras; local drag queen Sabin will emcee (and a surprise guest performer or two may also show up); there will be a silent auction and a cash bar; and Nashville-based Mackinac will perform during the afterglow.

"I saw him perform once before, and he's great," said show organizer Brad Harder of Mackinac (also known as Steven Mullan). "He's a singer/songwriter from Michigan who relocated to Nashville, and he's always working on neat projects. ... It's nice, because after the benefit show, cast members will get a chance to mingle with people in the audience during the after-party."

Though not an annual event, the Detroit Concert for a Cure has previously featured performers from touring companies of shows like "In the Heights" and "Shrek: The Musical." Harder estimates this to be the sixth iteration of the benefit, and it sprang, in part, from his experience as a company manager for touring productions, as well as his work as part of the Broadway and off-Broadway communities.

"There was something I thought was lacking," said Harder. "Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS usually raises money through direct appeals to the audience, offering posters signed by the cast and things like that, and that's great. But I thought that a benefit concert would get the local community more involved, and allow them a chance to see these performers singing different kinds of music. I thought it would be nice to bring that to the area."

{ITAL Michigan-born, Nashville-based Steven Mullan, who

records under the name Mackinac, will be among the

performers in the Detroit Concert for a Cure. Photo

courtesy of Steven Mullan}

When planning DCC, Harder submits the paperwork needed to clear cast members' participation in the performance; makes arrangements for a venue; sets up ticket sales (tickets cost $25, available at Woodward Avenue Brewery box office, 22646 Woodward Avenue in Ferndale, or at the door on the night of the show.); and organizes a pre-show afternoon rehearsal before the event.

But he's not the only person investing time and effort, of course. "They could do so many other things on their day off," said Harder of "Phantom"'s volunteer cast members. "They could be going to the gym, or out to eat, or just relaxing, but they've decided to work on their day off for free. ...For many company members, Broadway Cares is near and dear to their hearts."

Broadway Cares helps not just individuals within the performing arts community whose lives are being impacted by HIV/AIDS, but it also provides grants for AIDS and family service organizations across the country.

"Numerous organizations in Michigan benefit from Broadway Cares," said Harder. "The main purpose of Broadway Cares is to give back. ... It touches so many people's lives."

Harder has presented DCC at The Loving Touch two times before, and the venue's casual atmosphere, paired with its 400-person capacity, makes it ideal.

"The layout of The Loving Touch is great," said Harder. "You can stand up front near the stage, you can mingle, there are seats, ... you don't have to sit for the whole show, you can just go to the bar whenever you want a drink - it's a nice, intimate venue for this type of thing."

Attendees can expect to see "Phantom" cast members belting ballads, rock songs, Broadway standards, and more.

"It's a complete mixture," said Harder. "There will be a performance of 'It's Raining Men' by three men from the cast, and there will be emotional moments, too. ... It's great to see these performers in their element outside of the show. ... It's hard to connect with performers you see on a stage. Usually, after you see a show, you go your way, and the performers go back to their hotel. So this is a good chance for the performers and audience members to meet and talk."

Detroit Concert for a Cure

{ITAL 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 16

The Loving Touch

22634 Woodward Ave., Ferndale

248-820-5596

thelovingtouchferndale.com

$25 at the door or at Woodward Avenue Brewery (22646 Woodward Ave., Ferndale)}


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