The annual AIDS benefit will be presented March 21 at 8 PM and March 22 at 3 PM at the newly renovated Wilshire Theatre in Beverly Hills, CA. David Galligan directs the concerts with musical direction by Mary Ekler and Jerry Sternbach.
Those scheduled to wrap their voices around a Gershwin tune include Tony Award winner John Lloyd Young, Wicked's Shoshana Bean, Michael K. Lee, "High School Musical" co-star Lucas Grabeel, "American Idol" finalist Kimberley Locke, Betty Garrett, Carole Cook, Pat Marshall, Bruce Vilanch, Nita Whitaker, Ian Abercrombie, pianist Allen Barton, the duo Baul Point Pen (featuring Paul Peglar and Ben McLain), Mary Jo Catlett, James Darren, "Grey's Anatomy" star Loretta Devine, Sam Harris, Bill Hutton, Vicki Lewis, John Maher, Linda Michele, Valarie Pettiford, Stefanie Powers, "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" host Jai Rodriguez, Dee Wallace and the cast of Forever Plaid: Jeremy Bernard, David Engel, Roger Befeler and Larry Raben.
Original Kiss Me, Kate star Patricia Morison will open the second half of the evening singing "Embraceable You."
Expect such other Gershwin classics as "I Got Rhythm," "Someone to Watch Over Me," "They Can't Take that Away from Me," "Our Love is Here to Stay" and "Summertime."
The concert also features the presentation of the S.T.A.G.E. Producers Award to Michael Kearns, an actor, writer, producer, director, teacher and one of the four co-founders of S.T.A.G.E. The S.T.A.G.E. concerts are the longest continuously running AIDS benefit in the world. Proceeds from this year's event will go to AIDS Project Los Angeles.
The first S.T.A.G.E. benefit took place in October 1984, honoring the music of Leonard Bernstein. Subsequent presentations have paid tribute to Stephen Sondheim (1985, 1987, 1996), Jule Styne (1988), Jerry Herman (1989), John Kander and Fred Ebb (1990), Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart and Oscar Hammerstein (1991), Irving Berlin (1992), George and Ira Gershwin (1993), Harold Arlen (1995), Cole Porter (1997), Alan Jay Lerner, Frederick Loewe and Burton Lane (1998), Richard Adler, Jerry Bock and Cy Coleman (1999), Charles Strouse, Arthur Schwartz and Stephen Schwartz (2000), Jerome Kern (2001), Johnny Mercer (2002), Frank Loesser (2003), Andrew Lloyd Webber (2004), Marvin Hamlisch and Harry Warren (2005), Betty Comden and Adolph Green (2006), Stephen Sondheim (2007) and Burt Bacharach (2008).
The Wilshire Theatre is located in Beverly Hills, CA, at 8440 Wilshire Blvd. For ticket information call (866) 679-0958 or visit www.stagela.com.