By Matthew Blank
13 Jun 2012
Off Sides joins forces with Long Island Crisis Center — Long Island's oldest suicide prevention and crisis intervention agency — and its LGBT youth initiative, Pride for Youth.
The cast features Ezra Hernandez as Marvin, Tanya Wills as Trina, Chris Leidenfrost as Whizzer, Dan Pivovar as Mendel, Matthew Leigh as Jason, Lisa Berman as Charlotte and Mary Palermo as Cordelia. Rick Leidenfrost-Wilson directs.
As part of their fundraising efforts, Off Sides organized a special benefit performance which included a pre-show dinner featuring five original off-Broadway and Broadway cast members from the original "Falsettos Trilogy."
Chip Zien, Michael Rupert, Alison Fraser, Stephen Bogardus and Jonathan C. Kaplan held a heartfelt Q&A about their experiences working on the shows. They also donated original artifacts from the productions to auction for the Crisis Center. That night alone raised over $3,000 for the Crisis Center, and Off Sides hopes to raise $5,000 by the end of the show's limited run.
"This outpouring of support could not come at a better time," says director Rick Leidenfrost-Wilson. Last week, Long Island Crisis Center received a letter from Nassau County informing them that their funding has been terminated as of July 6. The county informed them that if they cannot get approval to borrow $41 million from the state, they will terminate all youth service contracts - 58 across the county.
"Long Island Crisis Center responds to more than 10,000 crisis calls a year, 24/7. Who is going to be there when that suicidal teen calls us at 3 AM?" Executive Director Linda Leonard wrote in an appeal to email subscribers. LICC is seeking help from Nassau County residents, asking them to write to local legislators or call Nassau County Ed Mangano's office directly by calling 516-571-3131.
Long Island Crisis Center provides crucial and life-saving services to Long Island, particularly to its LGBT community. Services include walk-in and online crisis counseling, a 24-hour suicide prevention helpline, and community education and outreach ranging from understanding homophobia to gang and drug-abuse awareness. They were founded in the early 1970's, and were a vital support system for gays and lesbians, as well as their families, at the forefront of the AIDS epidemic and remain so today.
Falsettos has its final performance this Friday, June 15 at 5 PM at the Bleecker Street Theatre, 45 Bleecker Street (at Lafayette). Tickets are on sale now at www.planetconnections.org/falsettos.
For those unable to attend who wish to support the Crisis Center, donations can be made directly at www.longislandcrisiscenter.org.
More info on this and other productions at www.offsides.org. Produced through special arrangement with Samuel French.