Stories & Cast Interviews
Cab Calloway Awards
On Monday, May 19th, The Arts community of Westchester County came out to honor their own when the Cab Calloway Lifetime Achievement Awards were presented At Westchester Broadway Theatre.
George Puello, John Treacy Egan, Daniel Carlino
The Master Of Ceremonies for The stellar evening was Broadway actor, John Treacy Egan. Mr. Egan has starred in The Producers and Jekyl And Hyde and can be seen currently as Chef Louis in The Little Mermaid. George Puello, looking smart in his signature white tux and ruby red accessories, was the host and has organized this annual event since 2001. Cab Calloway was a resident of Elmsford for 34 years. His career spanned at least six decades and was highlighted by his work on stage, film, television and the recording industry. It is an honor to have the award bear his name. The recipients are recognized for their body of work, dedication and contribution to the performing arts in Westchester County. Invited performers for the evening included; John Coppola (Jersey Boys, Chicago company.) with twin, Tom Coppola, Scott Ramsey and Steve Loftus who all sang a ditty from Forever Plaid, The Lighthouse Youth Theatre, The Westchester Dreamcoats, Peter Iasillo, Alysa Haas, Shana Buxton, Danceworks (The Dance Company of WCC) and Karen Beals, singing George Puello's song, "In My Dream", as a moving tribute to the late Mort Clark. Mr. Egan sang excerpts from The Producers, as well as a selection from his newly-released CD "Count The Stars."
FOUNDER OF THE BRAMSON SCHOOL OF MUSIC. HIS WIFE BERENICE BRAMSON IS BEING HONORED POSTHUMOUSLY.
JOHN B. COPPOLA
FOUNDING MEMBER OF THE NEW ROCHELLE COMMUNITY THEATER (ESTABLISHED IN 1968). HE HAS SERVED IN MANY CAPACITIES FROM SET DESIGNER AND DIRECTOR TO PRODUCER.
SIR MORT CLARK (1928-2007)
HONORED POSTHUMOUSLY FOR HIS GREAT CONTRIBUTIONS TO NATIONAL & INTERNATIONAL AMATEUR THEATRE. HE WAS PROFESSOR OF SPEECH AND THEATER AT WESTCHESTER COMMUNITY COLLEGE FOR OVER THIRTY YEARS.
IN RECOGNITION OF HIS LIFELONG DEDICATION AS A MUSIC TEACHER AND MUSICAL DIRECTOR FOR OVER FORTY YEARS THROUGHOUT WESTCHESTER COUNTY. HIS WIFE,
JUDY GABERMAN, AN ACCOMPLISHED AUTHOR OF CHILDREN'S BOOKS, WIILL BE HONORED POSTHUMOUSLY.
SUSAN (RYAN) KATZ
FOUNDER AND EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF WESTCO PRODUCTIONS. HER FATHER SEYMOUR "SONNY" KATZ. A GREAT SUPPORTER OF THEATER WILL BE HONORED POSTHUMOUSLY.
FOUNDER AND PRODUCER OF YORKTOWN STAGE. A LONGTIME DIRECTOR/CHOREOGRAPHER AND ACTOR IN PROFESSIONAL AND
MUSIC TEACHER AND DRAMA DIRECTOR AT PORT CHESTER MIDDLE SCHOOL FOR THIRTY FOUR YEARS. MUSICAL DIRECTOR FOR MANY
COMMUNITY THEATER GROUPS IN WESTCHESTER.
DANCE PROFESSOR AT WESTCHESTER COMMUNITY COLLEGE FOR THE PAST THIRTY-FOUR YEARS. AND CO-FOUNDER OF DANCEWORKS WITH MOLLYANN FRANZBLAU
He knows what you're thinking!
With a showman’s flair, a comedian's wit, and capacities of a bona fide Mentalist, The Amazing Kreskin has, for over five decades, dramatized the unique facets of the human mind.
Born in Montclair New Jersey, Kreskin was fully fascinated with magic by the age of five. It was during childhood games, that Kreskin’s remarkable ability to find hidden objects emerged. This fascinating and unusual gift made him stand out among his peers, forcing him to assume the role of omniscient observer. Kreskin was able to harness and refine his gift and began to perform for neighborhood children. At the age of eleven, Kreskin revealed an uncanny determination beyond his years when he received permission to study the entire psychology section of his local public library. Kreskin credits the childhood influence of “Mandrake the Magician” comic books, radio/television pioneer Arthur Godfrey, and magnetic televangelist Bishop Sheen for the direction of his career.
By his teens, he was nationally recognized as “The World’s Youngest Hypnotist” allowing him to collaborate in psychological clinical studies existing in the realm of Parapsychology and the Power of Suggestion. From his early experiments, Kreskin developed a theory into his special talent; “In most cases, the phenomena of thought transference can be explained as a kind of hyperaesthesia –an almost unconscious raising of the threshold of one’s senses to a degree far exceeding one’s everyday feelings.”
Music has also served as an effective medium for Kreskin, who made his professional debut as a pianist at Carnegie Hall with Skitch Henderson and the New York Pops, later soloing as a guest artist with Symphonies throughout the U.S. and Canada.
From 1971 to 1975 his television series The Amazing World of Kreskin was broadcast throughout Canada and distributed in syndication in the United States. In the 1980s and 1990s, he came to prominence again through several appearances on Late Night With David Letterman. He is still active as a live performer, and appears annually on CNN to give his New Year's Day predictions for the coming year. One of his best known tricks is finding his check for a performance, which he instructs his hosts to hide before each show.
Kreskin is currently writing his thirteenth book, his long awaited and anticipated memoirs. Kreskin is also a voracious reader capable of consuming an average novel in less than 15 minutes with remarkable retention. In fact, in certain casinos, he is banned from the card tables, not, they say, because of his mind reading skills, but because of Kreskin’s ability to memorize four decks of cards at once!
Special Performance for Children
For the past 33 years, Westchester Broadway Theatre has donated a matinee performance of one of its mainstage productions each year to the children residing in the area institutions in Westchester County. This year the children will be treated to our new musical production of "PHANTOM”.
THIS YEAR'S INVITES INCLUDE Andrus Children’s Home, St. Mary’s Rehabilitation Center, Green Chimneys, Edenwald, Hawthorne Cedar Knolls, Pleasantville Cottage School, Rockland Children’s Psychiatric Center, Lincoln Hall, Putnam Associated Resource Center, Cardinal McClosky Home and Diagnostic Center in Pleasantville. There will be over 400 children and chaperones attending this performance. Approximately 13,700 children & chaperones have attended since the program began. The children range in age from five up to eighteen. Some of the children reside in the institutions due to physical or emotional disabilities, where their emotional, behavioral, school and family difficulties can be assessed. Others live in residential treatment centers which offer long-term care and schooling. Each of the homes is contacted by a staff member of the theatre, and a need of the institution is met by the donation of gifts which are presented at the end of the performance. Proceeds for the gift donations come from our generous audiences during the holiday season. These gifts include: Computers, Color Printers, Digital Cameras, Video Cameras, TVS, VCRs, DVD Players, Microwaves, Stereo Systems, Super Nintendo Games, etc. In the past years a couple of unique requests came from several of the homes. St. Mary’s Rehabilitation Center requested eight strollers, while another requested a Pool Table.
The purpose for the donated performance is to give children residing in institutions a chance to see a fully staged musical show free of charge. At the intermission ice cream, cookies and sodas are provided. Each year we are gratified by seeing how involved the children become with the experience of watching live theatre. The reaction of the children and the appreciation of the staff is the reason the owners Bill Stutler and Bob Funking continue to donate this special performance, and fill the gift requests year after year.
Other contributions in 2007 included Gift Certificates totaling in the amount of $30,000 donated to local charities, schools and other deserving organizations. $4500 was raised for The Coalition To Salute America's Heroes and $10,000 Donated to Canines For Combat Veterans (NEADS).
Canines for Combat Veterans
Veteran Chris Strickland and his dog Ruthie, Frank Morganthaler, Sheila O'Brien (NEADS Executive Director) Bill Stutler & Bob Funking (WBT Owners).
On Friday, January 11, 2008, Westchester Broadway Theatre donated $10,000. to the program "Canines for Combat Veterans", which was initiated by NEADS, a service dog training organization located in West Boylston, Mass. This program provides service dogs for wounded veterans. Most of those veterans are victims of the current conflict in Iraq/Afghanistan. The majority of these wounded vets have suffered amputation, spinal cord injury or traumatic brain injury (TBI) and need assistance. Their service dog can retrieve items, open doors, turn lights on and off, provide balance while the vet is walking and assist the veteran going up and down stairs or getting up from a chair. It takes about 18 months to fully train these service dogs, at a cost of $10,000 per dog. This program does not receive any Federal, State or VA financial assistance and must seek donations to finance the effort.
The Eastchester American Legion Post 979 and VFW Post 2285 were the first contributions to the Canines for Combat Veterans Fund in Westchester. Frank Morganthaler and Bob Foster, each a member of the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign War Posts have valiantly led the fundraising effort to pair wounded combat veterans with trained service dogs. Westchester Broadway Theatre, with the help of our generous patrons, is proud to join the effort by sponsoring a dog for a deserving veteran! Contact NEADS at 978-422-9064. or email@example.com. The website: www.neads.org
To help those who are unable to afford the cost of a service animal, we created a guide that breaks down the total costs of obtaining a service dog, and provide a list of several alternative methods for financing these costs..