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Pop the cork for the champagne! First Annual All Star Honors Benefit!




Bay Street Theatre held its First Annual Honors Benefit last night with some of the biggest names of the stage and screen converging at the Manhattan Penthouse in New York City to honor Joy Behar, Adrianne Cohen and John Downing, all members of Bay Street’s Board of Trustees. The evening was capped off by an amazing performance by the one and only LIZA MINNELLI to a standing-room only crowd.

The evening's show started off with a nod to the Theatre's Literature Live program.  The program brings American classic literature to the theatre stage. Thousand of students are bussed in, most of whom have never seen a live stage show before. Murphy Davis, Artistic Director, introduced Myles Stakowski, Hudson Galardi-Troy, Lily Spellman and Liz Oldak, all young actors who got their start at Bay Street Theatre performing Literature Live Productions. Oldak is now a music and theatre major at NYU.

CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM’S Susie Essman toasted her long-time friend, Joy Behar. Behar held court at her table with her husband Steve, Essman, Angela LaGreca, Nicole Guest, Robert Zimmerman, Joan Hamburg and Joan Gelman.

Next up was the SPIN CITY’S Richard Kind, who brought the house down when he toasted Adrianne Cohen.  Kind is also a Bay Street Board Member.  John Downing was honored by Bay Street’s Chairman, Frank Filipo. 

All three honorees who spoke made note of the incredible feat of keeping a non-profit theatre going for 20 years, especially one that offers new works and cutting edge productions.

Liza Minnelli performed some of her biggest hits including “CABARET.”  She received a standing-ovation from the crowd. 

Other stars who took over a few tables and shared some laughs included:  Polly Draper (THIRTYSOMETHING) & husband, ARSENIO HALL bandleader Michael Wolff, Charles Busch*, Daniel Gerroll*, Julie Halston* & husband Ralph Howard, Matt McGrath*, who is directing the American Premiere of MY BRILLIANT DIVORCE beginning this month at Bay Street Theatre. Others included Polly Draper, who is starring in MY BRILLIANT DIVORCE at Bay Street, and Kellie Overbey* & husband Joseph Shane. (*Artistic Associates for Bay Street Theatre).  The evening was sponsored in part by PCH Builders and Property Management.

“The passion and commitment that these Board Members give to us year after year, we couldn’t do it without them,” says Artistic Director Murphy Davis. “This is one small way we were able to say ‘thank you!’”

"It takes a village to keep a theatre going,” says Tracy Mitchell, Executive Director, “and it all starts with a supportive Board of Trustees.  While we were honoring 3 members, our entire board is the backbone of Bay Street, led by our inspiring Chairman, Frank Filipo."

“We hope to make this a yearly event,” says Mitchell, Executive Director, “and all proceeds benefit Bay Street Theatre.”

Photos by Barry Gordin/



Posted: April 11, 2012