Manhattan Plaza AIDS Project Foundation's seventh annual benefit concert and supper May 12 produced $39,000--and Jim Kelly, who was coordinator for the event, said he expected that figure to go even higher.
Bobby Rivers from Fox's "Good Day New York" emceed this year's show, which took place across 43rd Street at the Westside Theatre and toplined stars from Broadway, Off-Broadway and cabaret. The evening could have been subtitled "A Night of Frank Wildhorn" for all the attention that was paid to Broadway's newest composer. Wildhorn may have been left out of the Tony running this year, but he was represented with three different numbers on the program.
The future Mrs. Wildhorn and the current leading lady of his Jekyll & Hyde, Linda Eder, performed one of her big songs from that show, "Someone Like You."
"This Is the Moment," also from J&H, got an emotional rendering- and a standing ovation--for Ruby Rims. The drag star received one of the organization's two annual Neighbor Helping Neighbor awards--he for his work with Teddy Care, a group that gives cabaret benefits in which the price of admission is a stuffed bear that is then redistributed to patients with AIDS.
Also honored was Chez Josephine owner Jean-Claude Baker, for his generosity to the organization members and for providing who food to homebound clients. The third Wildhorn song was performed by cabaret award-winner Tom Andersen, who has already recorded and popularized it: "Storybook," from Wildhorn's next Broadway musical, The Scarlet Pimpernel, reaching the Minskoff on Nov. 3.
Joseph Bologna and Renee Taylor, whose Bermuda Avenue Triangle opened at Off-Broadway's Promenade Theatre only the night before, performed a comedy skit. Another marital contribution was made by Don't Tell Mama's headliner Jenny Burton, singing a song written by her husband, composer Peter Link.
William Ryall, from "How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying," did two songs--one a comic number about the drag of doing drag which he had written himself. And Vivian Reed, a Tony nominee for "Bubbling Brown Sugar," delivered a heartfelt version of Bette Midler's hit, "Wind Behind My Wings."
At the conclusion of the program (which was directed by Chapman Roberts), the audience adjourned to The Ellington Room of Manhattan Plaza for a sumptuous supper catered by Good and Plenty, Westbank Cafe and The Little Pie Company.
Prominent in attendance: Philip Smith, President of the Shubert Organization.
-- By Harry Haun