André De Shields
Actor Richard Kind will be the host of Bay Street Theater’s 29th Annual Summer Gala, “A Starry Night,” which will be streamed online on baystreet.org and other live stream platforms on Wednesday, July 22, at 8 p.m., with a red carpet preshow beginning at 7:30 p.m.
The broadcast will include a telethon, with testimonials from actors and contributors as to the important role of Bay Street, as well as special performances from many luminary figures of the performing arts.
Proceeds from the evening will support Bay Street’s educational and theatrical programs — in addition, 10 percent of all proceeds will support the JBJ Soul Kitchen Food Bank in Wainscott, which has provided meals for thousands of food-insecure families across Long Island since it launched on May 11 of this year.
The theme of “A Starry Night” will be a celebration of the Broadway musicals of the 1970s, and it will pay comedic homage to the celebrity telethon specials popular at the time.
“For the past two years, Bay Street has celebrated Broadway by the decade in our summer gala, and this year we’re thrilled to explore the vibrant and innovative musicals of the 1970s,” says Bay Street Artistic Director Scott Schwartz. “Since this year the event will be broadcast online, we thought: how better to celebrate the 1970s than through a loving and satirical take on the telethons of that era? With amazing performances from leading artists of then and now, songs from beloved musicals by some of the greatest writers of all time, and a playful script full of surprises, Bay Street Theater is excited to share its 29th Anniversary Gala with our local audience and musical theater lovers everywhere.”
To write the script for the show, Bay Street recruited the talents of playwright Scooter Pietsch, whose new comedy, “Windfall,” was scheduled to be staged for its world premiere during the 2020 Mainstage Season, and is currently planned to be featured for the 2021 season.
Filming and editing of the script is by Rich Ficara, a director of photography and editor with more than 25 years of broadcast news experience, with work on NBC’s Nightline, World News Tonight, Good Morning America, and Frontline on PBS. Bay Street’s executive director, Tracy Mitchell serves as this production’s executive producer, having been an Emmy-nominated film and television producer for over 25 years before joining Bay Street.
“We are so excited to create a gala which everyone can enjoy from coast to coast — and hopefully donations will follow to support artists and keep theater thriving, even if it must be virtually these days,” Mitchell said.
Paul Anthony, Bay Street’s Sales and Sponsorship Manager, served as associate producer, boom operator, and writer of interstitial sketches.
Under the musical direction of Andy Einhorn, special guests will be performing numbers from some of Broadway’s biggest musicals of the 1970s, including “A Chorus Line,” “Jesus Christ Superstar,” “Evita,” “Godspell,” “Pippin,” “Sweeney Todd,” “Pacific Overtures,” “A Little Night Music” and “The Wiz.” Academy Award-nominated actor, producer, and director Bob Balaban will make a special appearance.
Key performers in the production include Raul Esparza (four-time Tony Award nominee and OBIE recipient), Ben Vereen (winner of the 1973 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical for his performance in “Pippin,” a two-time Golden Globe Award and a three-time Primetime Emmy Award nominee) Melissa Errico (Tony Award nominated actress, singer, and author), Betty Buckley (a multi-award-winning actress and singer), André De Shields (actor, singer, dancer, director and choreographer), Josh Young (Tony Award nominee and Theatre World Award-winner), and actors Hunter Parrish, Trent Saunders, Arianna Rosario and Omar Lopez-Cepero.
Richard Kind, who is known for his television roles in “Mad About You” and “Spin City,” and more recently “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” as well as Broadway plays “The Producers, “The Big Knife” (for which he received a Tony Award nomination) and “The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife,” is also a member of Bay Street Theater’s board of trustees. Bay Street audiences have seen him in its productions of “Enter Laughing,” “Romance,” “Travesties” and “The Lady in Question.” He has joined Bay Street for many past galas, where he has served duly as celebrity auctioneer.
For more information on taking part in Bay Street Theater’s 29th Annual Summer Gala, “A Starry Night,” visit baystreet.org.
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