The April 13 concert, titled For Good, is the brainchild of Emma Wahl, an eighth grader who understudied Jemima in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang on Broadway. Proceeds will go to the not-for-profit charity Artists Striving to End Poverty (ASTEP), founded by Broadway music director Mary-Mitchell Campbell (Company, Road Show, The Addams Family).
With the support of Campbell, who will be musical director for the concert, and the cooperation of Hathaway Brown School, where Wahl goes to school, the teenager has worked for two years to produce ASTEP's first benefit concert outside of New York.
"Two of my biggest passions are musical theatre and helping people who are less fortunate than me," Wahl wrote in a statement about producing the concert as part of an independent study program at Hathaway Brown. "Over the years, I have been able to combine these interests by raising money for great causes like Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, Children's Miracle Network, and the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Two years ago, I learned about another wonderful organization called Artists Striving To End Poverty (ASTEP), which provides creative arts and AIDS education for poverty-stricken children.
"ASTEP has 'adopted' three cities to be recipients of its programming for poor children: Bangalore, India; Port Elizabeth, South Africa; and Homestead, Florida. ASTEP sends professional actors to work with young people who have no access or exposure to arts education. Its mission is to engage and empower these children with the goal of increasing their self-esteem and making them self-sufficient."
ASTEP is known for its Manhattan concert benefits featuring Broadway performers. Wahl wondered, why not here in Cleveland, too? For Good will be presented in the Performing Arts Center at Cuyahoga Community College's Eastern Campus, 4250 Richmond Road, in Highland Hills Village, OH.
Campbell will travel to the Cleveland area with Colella (Urban Cowboy, High Fidelity), Burgess (The Little Mermaid, Guys and Dolls), Reichard (Jersey Boys) and Murney (Wicked, The Wild Party). Ohio musicians Dan Parks (bass), Bill Hart (drums) and assistant music director Matthew Webb are also part of the concert.
The evening begins at 7:30 PM and includes a raffle for unique Broadway prizes, including personal backstage tours of Broadway shows and theatre memorabilia signed by Kristin Chenoweth and other stars, with all proceeds to benefit ASTEP.
For Good tickets are $25 for students, $35 for seniors and $50 for adults. VIP seats, priced at $100, include admission to the post-concert reception with the artists, preferred seating and special gifts.
A portion of the ticket price is tax-deductible.
Tickets can be purchased online at www.hb.edu/ForGood.
Artists Striving To End Poverty (ASTEP) "uses the arts as a tool to empower young people with creativity, knowledge and a strong sense of self-esteem, factors which help them advance their lives and communities." ASTEP's main goal is to create a community of artists who are actively engaged in using their talents to raise awareness about the plight of the children we serve and to dynamically assist by volunteering at our programs in India, Africa, New York and Florida. Visit www.asteponline.org for more information.