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Will the opportunity to spend an intimate evening of song and music with cast members from the national touring production of “On Your Feet” motivate enough people to jump to their feet on the evening of May 7 and fill Ferndale’s The Loving Touch for the next Detroit Concert for a Cure?
Producer Brad Harder sure hopes so, since it’s his ninth event to raise much-needed funds for an organization that’s near and dear to his heart: Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. “I’ve always liked the mission of Broadway Cares,” he explained to BTL by phone while passing out show flyers – and avoiding cops – in a parking lot outside a popular theater. “Using the unique talents of the Broadway community to do a show and raise money seems like such a remarkable thing, not only for the community but for everything they do for AIDS research.”
Headquartered – where else – in New York City, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS was initially two separate, yet similar organizations founded in the late 1980s. Figuring they could accomplish more together than separately, the two joined forces in 1992, and to date, BC/EFA has raised more than $285 million for essential services for people living with HIV/AIDS and other critical illnesses in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and Washington DC.
Although its major, splashy fundraisers take place in The Big Apple – check out “Broadway Bares” on YouTube, for example – cities across the country do their fair share to help the cause, utilizing cast members from participating national tours that stop in their communities. “What’s unique is that by tapping into the tours, we here can have the same caliber of show and entertainment,” Harder said. “People don’t have to travel to New York for this type of event.”
As with all Concerts for a Cure, all monies raised will go directly to BC/EFA. The event will feature a cabaret-style evening of Broadway tunes and other popular songs performed by some of the best talent working in theater today. The May 7 edition features cast members from the hit musical “On Your Feet,” directed by two-time Tony-Award winner Jerry Mitchell (“Kinky Boots”), which runs May 1-13 at Detroit’s Fisher Theatre. And, Harder said, the concert will include members of the orchestra. “Which we usually don’t have,” he added.
Given that Monday is the only day of the week that actors and musicians have the night off, why give it up and add a ninth performance to their already busy work schedule, one might wonder. It’s simple. “They love doing these shows,” Harder explained. “They love being a part of the community wherever they’re at. They always want to do these shows.”
That love is shared by Broadway in Detroit, which books Broadway tours into the Fisher Theatre. “We love it when the cast gets involved in something local – that supports local organizations,” said Scott Myers, the company’s marketing director. “I’m excited for people to see this cast up close and singing songs that aren’t part of the show.”
And, he said, “We’re happy to support (Concert for a Cure), because it’s a great cause.”
Making her fourth appearance as host is Sabin, the star number-caller of the ever-popular Drag Queen Bingo at Five15 in Royal Oak. Known as “the angry drag queen,” Harder couldn’t be happier to have her back. “She loves doing this,” he said. “With her as host, we get so much more energy (in the room) – and money!”
The night will also include live and silent auctions, plus a cash bar. And, Myers said, he’ll be there with ticket giveaways for upcoming shows at the Fisher Theatre.
Harder is concerned that unlike his first concert back in 2003 that featured the cast of “Phantom of the Opera,” “On Your Feet” may not attract a lot of attention since it isn’t a Broadway blockbuster. “But it’s a good chance for the audience to mingle with the cast (in such an intimate setting),” he said. “And we always have surprises!”
Plus, it’s for a worthy cause that the community rallies behind. What better reason is there than that?
About “Concert for a Cure”: 7 p.m. Monday, May 7 at The Loving Touch, 22634 Woodward Ave., Ferndale. Doors open at 6 p.m. for the 18+ event. Admission is $25 in advance or at the door. All funds raised at the event will benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. Tickets for “Detroit Concert for a Cure” are available without a service fee at Woodward Avenue Brewers box office, located at 22646 Woodward Ave. in Ferndale, or at the door at The Loving Touch on the night of the show. Visit thelovingtouchferndale.com for more information.
About “On Your Feet”: Featuring some of the most iconic songs of the past quarter-century, “On Your Feet” takes you behind the music and inside the real story of groundbreaking couple Emilio and Gloria Estefan who, in the face of adversity, found a way to end up on their feet. Performances are Tuesday-Sunday, May 1-13 at the Fisher Theatre, 3011 W. Grand Blvd., Detroit. For information: 313-872-1000. broadwayindetroit.com.