MasterVoices, a New York City performing arts organization that previously went by Collegiate Chorale, has announced the founding of the Roger Rees Fund, named in honor of the late actor and director who was an active member of the organization.
Watch a video above as Artistic Director Ted Sperling, MasterVoices alum Bebe Neuwirth, and Rees Fund co-chairs Nancy Becker and Rick Elice (the late Rees' husband) discuss the significance of this new initiative.
At MasterVoices’ April 27 presentation of Babes in Toyland at Carnegie Hall, Sperling said, “The Rees Fund will we be used for precisely the type of work Roger loved: work that celebrates language and story, work that is made out of collaboration with a community of artists—in other words, musical theatre. We believe this is the perfect way to honor Roger.”
Rees served as the organization's artistic associate from 2002 to 2015. The actor and director won a Tony Award for his performance in The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby; he also received a nomination for Indiscretions and for directing Peter and the Starcatcher. Kander and Ebb's The Visit marked his final Broadway appearance.
On July 10, 2015, Rees died at the age of 71 following complications from treatment for a medical condition.
The Fund will ensure MasterVoices is able to continue presenting musical theatre and operettas, like Babes in Toyland, to audiences. The April 27 concert event featured Kelli O'Hara, Bill Irwin, Christopher Fitzgerald, Lauren Worsham, and Jay Armstrong Johnson. An encore performance will take place at the Tilles Center April 29.