A SPECIAL ONE NIGHT ONLY EVENT!
By: Michele Black and Dawn Deines
When life long friends and founders of REAF (Richmond Ermet Aids Foundation) Barbara Richmond and Peggy Ermet lost their only sons John Richmond and Doug Ermet to AIDS, their desire was to honor their memory by doing something to show gratitude to the agencies that came along side their sons in their time of need. Richmond and Ermet immediately contacted many of John and Doug’s friends with an idea of producing a benefit to help raise funds to support the agencies that provided invaluable services to their sons. Among those friends were Ken Henderson and Joe Seiler who when approached by Richmond and Ermet to spearhead the venture, both Henderson and Seiler without hesitation readily accepted the challenge. It was from that meeting that “Help Is On The Way” was born and 21 years later has been the most successful and largest AIDS benefit of its kind in Northern California.
REAF’s “One Night Only” cabaret series with touring Broadway shows started in 1999. They have partnered with Broadway Cares from the very beginning. “Phantom will be the third cast we’ve worked with this year” mentioned Henderson. While touring casts do benefit shows all across the country to raise funds for Broadway Cares, according to Henderson, there are no other cities where they partner with agencies like REAF who handles all the details, from getting the theater, the publicity, the box office, etc. This helps maximize the funds raised.
“The biggest challenge has been to get people to realize these special benefits are not concert versions of the touring show, but original, one-of-a-kind cabaret style shows featuring cast members from those shows. This show with the cast of “Phantom of the Opera” for example, will feature the entire cast singing only songs that have won Academy Awards for “Best Song from a Motion Picture”, said Henderson, Producer and Executive Director of The Richmond/Ermet AIDS Foundation (REAF),in a recent email question and answer session with TheHollywoodTimes.Net.
Henderson continued “When most of these casts come to San Francisco, they don’t know REAF, but they do know Broadway Cares, so they’re eager to support these shows and our partnership. To date we’ve worked with over 50 touring Broadway shows to produce these special “One Night Only” benefit cabarets.” Philanthropy and stellar entertainment take center stage as the touring cast of Phantom of the Opera, Broadway’s longest running show, joins REAF at 7:30 p.m. on September 21, 2015, at the Marines’ Memorial Theater in San Francisco for a special night of beautiful music and spectacular performances to raise funds for The Richmond /Ermet Aid Foundation and Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS
While major achievements have been made in the HIV/AIDS response at a federal level, organizations like REAF continue to make a difference at the local level, which touches the heart of many San Franciscans. Each year REAF has a process to determine the overall needs of agencies asking for funding. Henderson stated, “Our goal has always been to help fund agencies with urgent needs, and to try to spread the money around, so that no one agency is benefitting from most major similar benefits. Several agencies have reported that the funding REAF provides has helped them weather crises situations that may have caused them to close their doors without REAF’s help.” It is a top priority of REAF as well as extremely personal to Henderson to insure these resources are kept open and available to those that so desperately need them. When asked what makes REAF so unique and successful, Henderson responded, “I think it’s that we don’t give up, and that we always deliver a quality product. People continue to come to our fundraising events because, in addition to raising funds, we give them great quality entertainment. We also offer a great deal of variety in what we do. From the fabulous receptions before and after the performances, to the performances themselves, there is something for almost everyone to enjoy. We are always looking for new faces to present, new talent and new experiences. But most of all, we don’t give up! If something isn’t working out as planned, we work harder.”
REAF is thrilled to have the very talented Chris Mann (The Phantom) who was a finalist on NBC’s “The Voice” and whose album, “Roads”, was number one on Billboard’s Heatseakers Chart; Other notable performances include singing for President Obama with the National Symphony.
Katie Travis (Christine Daae) most recently performed in the role of Cosette in “Les Miserables” atThe Muny in St Louis before beginning her U.S tour with “The Phantom Of The Opera” Travis’ beauty and versatile soprano are bound to captivate and take the lucky listener to heavenly places.
Audiences here in San Francisco and around the U.S. will have the great fortune to see this stellar cast perform in Phantom of the Opera.
However, only a select few will have the unique opportunity to support REAF’s one night only extravaganza “Oscar Unmasked.” So, don’t hesitate, get your tickets right away! You won’t want to miss it!
WHO: The San Francisco Cast of “The Phantom Of The Opera” Songs from The Phantom of the Opera will not be performed.
WHAT: REAF’s “Oscar Unmasked” – An Evening Of Academy Award Winning Music
WHEN: Monday, September 21, 2015 @ 7:30pm
WHERE: Mariner’s Memorial Theater -609 Sutter Street, San Francisco, CA 94102
Ticket Information /Availability –
Ticket price- $30- $75
Call 415-273-1620 or
Online – www.reaf.org