The second annual event, a tribute to all things Judy Garland, was a benefit for the Ali Forney Center and its mission to assist LGBT homeless youth. It was a special installment of Justin Sayre's variety show, The Meeting*.
Ben Rimalower ( Joy, Leslie Kritzer Is Patti LuPone at Les Mouches) directed the 8 PM evening of tributes, skits and signature Garland songs. Lance Horne was musical director, and Jason Wise was choreographer.
The night featured appearances and performances by Tony winner Tonya Pinkins ( Jelly's Last Jam; Caroline, or Change), Tony nominees Andrea McArdle ( Annie, Beauty and the Beast), Karen Akers ( Nine, Grand Hotel) and Howard McGillin ( Anything Goes, Phantom of the Opera), as well as Jenn Harris ( Silence! The Musical), Jessica Molaskey ( Parade, Songs for a New World), Daniel Reichard ( Jersey Boys), Ashley Brown ( Mary Poppins), Molly Pope ( Wonderful Town, Our Hit Parade), recording artist-actress Nellie McKay ( Threepenny Opera), writer Michael Musto, Cole Escola ("Jeffery & Cole Casserole"), Frank DeCaro, Colleen McHugh, Bridget Everett, Flotilla DeBarge, Murray Hill, Erin Markey, Dan Fishback and Summer & Eve.
"The work that the Ali Forney Center is crucial to young LGBT people in New York," Sayre said in a statement. "It enables them to thrive and grow in a healthy and warm environment, where they are celebrated for their identity rather than chastised for it. Life may have dealt you a raw hand, but there are people out there to help you through it. In her film roles and in her personal life, Judy Garland embodied an innocence and a resilience that still thrills young and old alike. She had tragedy in her life and yet she continued to give herself to a public that adored her. If Judy Garland was the comeback kid, The Ali Forney Center is the comeback place. I can't imagine a better combination."