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Rock Musical Weaker People Presented at Stephen Sondheim Theatre March 19 to Benefit Operation Respect

By Andrew Gans
March 19, 2012

A one-night-only performance of the fantastical rock musical Weaker People... A Dangerous Notion plays The Stephen Sondheim Theatre, home to the current Tony-winning revival of Anything Goes, March 19.

Produced by What's the Benefit? Inc., the 8 PM performance benefits Operation Respect, which was founded by Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul and Mary fame.

The musical performance features the talents of Christina Caravella, Chris Causer, Paul Daniel Cloeter, Warren Freeman, Stephanie Gandolfo, Jessica Gallo Murphy, Kario Pereira-Bailey, Lexy Romano and Jennifer Tanarez. Nicco Franklin directs with musical direction by Paul Daniel Cloeter and sound design by Asa Milbankx and Ali A.B.

The rock musical features a book by Molly C. Blau with Ben Bartolone and music and lyrics by Cloeter.

Weaker People, according to press notes, "unapologetically addresses the realities of bullying in our education system and in our society."

"We are thrilled to be working with Peter Yarrow and Operation Respect on our second Broadway benefit. What's The Benefit? inc. felt compelled to throw our support behind their cause and encourage a discrimination-free learning environment. More specifically, we have been inspired by Peter's commitment to instigating change through love and artistic expression-a commitment that reflects our own mission," Paul D. Cloeter, co-executive director, said in a previous statement.

Operation Respect's "Don't Laugh At Me" Program is used in 22,000 schools throughout the world where it focuses on "assuring each child and youth a respectful, safe and compassionate climate of learning where their academic, social and emotional development can take place free of bullying, ridicule and violence."

The evening also features a book signing at the theatre with Peter Yarrow and complimentary food sponsored by Pret-A-Manger.

Doors open at 7 PM for a one-hour cocktail reception with complimentary food and drinks.

Tickets for the event are $70 ($50 for groups of 6 or more) and $40 for students. VIP tickets, priced $150, include special seating and an after-show party at Peter Yarrow's home. To purchase tickets visit http://www.whatsthebenefit.org or http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/230431.


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Thursday, June 23, 2011; Posted: 03:06 PM - by BWW News Desk

KEEPERS-A-BROADWAY-BENEFIT-Finds-New-Life-In-The-2011-New-York-City-International-Fringe-Fest-20010101

What's The Benefit? inc is proud to announce that their original musical KEEPERS has been selected for the 2011 New York International Fringe Festival.

KEEPERS takes a surprising look at the joys of child adoption and the tragic disconnect that sometimes surrounds it. It is based on testimonials collected from around the world.

"Participating in the New York International Fringe Festival marks the opening of an exciting new front for What's The Benefit? inc. and for socially conscious theatre," says Executive Director Paul D. Cloeter. He, along with Co-Executive Directors Nicco Franklin and Molly C. Blau formed the not-for-profit What's The Benefit? inc. after recognizing how many talented performers fall through the cracks.

"We wanted to find a way to give high-profile opportunities to exceptionally talented artists... and to create original, intelligent art that highlights important causes while doing it," said Franklin.

KEEPERS was originally performed at Broadway's Studio 54 in support of Spence-Chapin Adoption Services (www.spence-chapin.org)-an organization that matches children worldwide with loving parents and advocates for orphans in developing countries.

Blau expressed her excitement at being selected by FringeNYC for inclusion in this year's festival, "By presenting multiple performances of KEEPERS in the Fringe, we have the perfect opportunity to highlight this important issue to a much wider audience than was originally possible at the one-night benefit gala."

Director Chris Causer is returning to the project after directing KEEPERS' original benefit at Studio 54, "Adoption is an issue that deserves a voice. Our powerful cast speaks truth to each and every theme that falls under this emotional avalanche."

FringeNYC runs August 12-28 in Manhattan. Check their website: www.fringenyc.org as well as www.whatsthebenefit.org/Events for updates on specific show dates, times and venue information for KEEPERS.


KEEPERS: A Broadway Benefit Premiers at New York's Legendary STUDIO 54 Theatre with Hosts Marilyn Sokol and Cynthia Basinet


Think story lines are being recycled on Broadway? You haven't heard these stories!

New York, NY (I-Newswire) October 28, 2010 - The theatre world is buzzing about What's The Benefit? inc.'s production of KEEPERS at Broadway's STUDIO 54 this Monday, November 1st 2010. KEEPERS, a dynamic exploration of how lives are affected by adoption, is raising funds and awareness for Spence Chapin Adoption Services, a 100-year-old nonproft that finds adoptive homes for children in need here and in countries around the world.

The night will begin at 7pm with a press reception and red carpet. An art exhibition, featuring some of New York's most talented up-and-coming artists will be on display while guests enjoy complimentary drinks and food generously sponsored by Pret A Manger.

The main event follows: A seventy-five minute piece of musical theatre based on true testimonials collected from across the globe-- introduced by Emmy and Obie winning actress Marilyn Sokol. The exceptionally talented cast of KEEPERS has recently been announced and includes (alphabetically): Molly C. Blau, Paul Daniel Cloeter, Pilita Danesh, Booth Daniels, Thomas Dolan, Nicco Franklin, Alice Grindling, Billy Holly, Sarah Rosenthal, Sasha Sloan, Forest VanDyke and Melissa Zimmerman.

Sloan and Rosenthal are appearing together for the second time since their run in RAGTIME together at the Kennedy Center, Washinton D.C.

Director Chris Causer makes his New York directing debut with a piece that is as humorous as it is heart-wrenching. "Adoption is an issue that deserves a voice. Our powerful cast speaks truth to each and every theme that falls under this emotional avalanche."

Three of the show's creators, Molly C. Blau, Paul Daniel Cloeter and Nicco Franklin are also performing in the cast. "It has been a privilege to see KEEPERS develop from an idea into a meaningful, tangible creation. We are proud and blessed to be working with such gifted artists as both writers and performers!"

The creative team is rounded out by Daniel Wolpow and Spencer LaValee who composed music and contributed to the book, respectively. KEEPERS will be accompanied by the accomplished pianist Chris Blacker.

The evening wraps with words from the internationally renown jazz singer and Noble Peace Prize nominee Cynthia Basinet, who will host a brief auction to raise additional funds for Spence Chapin Adoption Services. Featured in the auction is a Philippe Valy jacket from his Drama Desk Awards collection, signed by many nominees and winners including Faith Prince, Cheyenne Jackson and many others.

For ticket information, log onto www.whatsthebenefit.org