Island, Rivera, Esparza Features in Trio of BC/EFA Benefit Concerts

News   Island, Rivera, Esparza Features in Trio of BC/EFA Benefit Concerts Three star-studded concert evenings are planned as fund-raisers for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS in the next few months.

Three star-studded concert evenings are planned as fund-raisers for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS in the next few months.

First up is A Night of Latin Rhythms featuring the talents of Celia Cruz, Chita Rivera, La India, Daphne Rubin-Vega and Raúl Esparza. Backed by the Jose Bellos Orchestra, the May 6 performance will feature musical arrangements by Ray Santos. Latin Rhythms will be held at B.B. King Blues Club and Grill on W. 42nd Street, and tickets range from $50 to $1,000.

On May 12, the original cast of Broadway's Once on This Island will assemble for two concert performances of the Lynn Ahrens-Stephen Flaherty musical at the Winter Garden Theatre (1634 B'way between 51st and 52nd Streets). The Caribbean-set fairy-tale musical will star LaChanze, Jerry Dixon, Andrea Frierson-Toney, Sheila Gibbs, Kecia Lewis, Afi McClendon, Gerry McIntyre, Milton Craig Nealey, Nikki Rene, Eric Riley and Ellis E. Williams. Although not an original cast member, Tony winner Lillias (The Life) White — who later stepped into the festive musical as Asaka — will make a special guest appearance. Show times are 3 PM and an 8 PM gala evening performance. (In memory of La Chanze's late husband Calvin Gooding, who perished in the World Trade Center attacks, a portion of the concerts' proceeds will go to The Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund.)

Romance in the Dark is the title of Jennifer Holliday's solo concert to benefit BC/EFA on Oct. 28. The evening of love songs rendered by the Tony winning Dreamgirls star is billed as a "celebration of great black Broadway musicals" and will be held at New York's Town Hall on West 43rd Street. Ticket prices have yet to be announced.

For more information or to purchase tickets for these Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS events, call (212) 840-0770 x268 or visit www.broadwaycares.org. Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS (BC/EFA) is the nation's leading industry based, not-for-profit AIDS fundraising and grant making organization.

—By Andrew Gans