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Photo Flash: 26th Annual S.T.A.G.E. Benefit

By Photo Flash: 26th Annual S.T.A.G.E. Benefit

May 6, 2010

Finale Original Cast
Photo by Chris Kane/

ORIGINAL CAST, the 26th Annual musical presentation of the Southland Theatre Artists Goodwill Event (S.T.A.G.E.), took place for one night only on Saturday, May 1 at the Luckman Fine Arts Complex of California State University, raising money for AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA).

S.T.A.G.E., the world's longest continuously running AIDS benefit, brings together names in theater, television, film and cabaret who donate their time and talent to the star-studded benefit, and this year was no exception. The concept of this year's show was performers doing songs they originated in musical productions.

The show opened with Valarie Pettiford doing "Life Is Just a Bowl of Cherries" from Fosse, followed by a production number from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat featuring Joan Ryan and Bill Hutton.

Pat Marshall sang two songs from Mr. Wonderful, David Engel did "Hanna's Tango" from La Cage aux Folles and Irene Graff sang "Love Revolution" from I Love My Wife, while Betty Garrett created a comic turn on "South American Take It Away" from Call Me Mister. Charlotte Rae took on "The Shape of Things" from The Littlest Review and Broadway legend Patricia Morison sang "So In Love" from Kiss Me Kate. Joan Ryan returned with two songs from Ruthless, while Ron Dennis, a member of the original Broadway cast of A Chorus Line, performed the little-known song "Confidence" which was cut from the show. Act One was rounded out by Vicki Lewis singing and dancing to "Shoeless Joe from Hannibal, MO" from Damn Yankees and Tony® winner John Lloyd Young doing a medley from Jersey Boys.

Act Two opened with a production number from I Had a Ball featuring Karen Morrow, followed by Nancy Dussault's rendition of "Make Someone Happy" from Do Re Mi, Sharon McNight singing "Hard to be Diva" from Starmites and Constance Towers performing "Hello Young Lovers" from The King and I. Dale Kristien reprised her role of Christine from The Phantom of the Opera while Sally Struthers along with Julie Johnson followed suit by performing a medley from their Always... Patsy Cline, and Tony winner Donna McKechnie did "The Music and the Mirror" from A Chorus Line. Davis Gaines sang a number from One, Two, Three, Four, Five followed by Melissa Manchester's "Unexpected Song" from Song and Dance and Michele Lee's "I'm Way Ahead" from Seesaw.

Rounding out the evening were performances by Carole Cook of "Before the Parade Passes By" from Hello Dolly! and a medley of songs from Gypsy by Tony winner Tyne Daly along with Jonathan Hadary. The entire company closed the show with "There's No Business Like Show Business" from Annie Get Your Gun.

David Galligan directed the production-his 26th-with musical direction from John McDaniel and Mary Ekler and choreography by Lee Martino and Dan Mojica.

The 2010 S.T.A.G.E. Producers Award was presented to Craig E. Thompson, Executive Director of APLA, for his long-standing commitment to the worldwide battle against HIV/AIDS. Thompson joined APLA as Chief Operating Officer in 1997 and became the Executive Director in July 1998. As the leader of one of the largest HIV/AIDS service organizations in the United States, he oversees all APLA operations, including health education and HIV prevention, government affairs, client and community services, fund development, finance and communications. Additionally, Jane Pupa and Jeff Sewalson accepted the 2010 S.T.A.G.E. Community Involvement Award on behalf of Continental Airlines in recognition of their long-time support of S.T.A.G.E.

S.T.A.G.E. has raised millions of dollars for HIV/AIDS organizations throughout Southern California over the last 26 years. One hundred percent of the net proceeds from ORIGINAL CAST will go to AIDS Project Los Angeles. One of largest non-profit AIDS service organizations in the United States, APLA provides bilingual direct support services, prevention education and leadership on HIV/AIDS-related policy and legislation. Founded by four friends in 1982, APLA is a community-based, volunteer-supported organization with local, national and global reach.

For more photos of the performences and reception, visit