Music Feature

Broadway Stars Host Annual Covenant House Fundraiser

by Parissa Zecher
Satisfy your love for theater while supporting Philadelphia's local at-risk youth. Photos by Alex Telischak
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Theater enthusiasts won’t want to miss an exclusive performance coming to Philadelphia next month. On May 14th, Broadway stars including Rita Harvey from "Phantom of the Opera," Lawrence Clayton from "Les Miserables," and Danny Zolli from "Jesus Christ Superstar," will be sharing their talent for the 7th annual Covenant House charity event at the Kimmel Center. Be prepared to not only satisfy your love for the theater in just one night, but to also see your favorite thespians take the stage and leave you speechless, and all for a good cause.

Last year,  A Night of Broadway Stars raised over $200,000 for the Covenant House Pennsylvania, which has been providing services for thousands of suffering, homeless, runaway and trafficked youth in the greater Philadelphia area since 1999. This year the organization hopes to raise $500,000 to go towards operational costs, program development, and to help the organization continue their success as the leaders in outreach services in the Philadelphia region. 

Two.One.Five, along with Covenant House’s honored sponsors and staff, got a dazzling sneak preview earlier this month of what A Night of Broadway Stars will have in store for its audience.

Neil Berg, famed Broadway lyricist and composer, hosted the pre-show cocktail event at the KPMG Building in Center City, Philadelphia. With a lead on the piano, Berg’s wife and notable singer, Rita Harvey, and fellow Broadway performer Lawrence Clayton, sang a few songs including a striking duet from the Phantom of the Opera, to give guests a taste of the May 14th’ show.

Harvey, who has worked for years in perfecting her craft like her fellow Broadway performers, explains her involvement and why she has performed at almost every annual Covenant House charity event: “It’s become near and dear to our hearts. We did the first one and meeting the kids just did it for me, it really changes all your priorities when you meet them and you see what they’ve been through and that they’re overcoming it. All anyone needs is a chance.”

A notable highlight of the evening was when Andrew, a teenager now able to attend Penn State in the fall, shared his moving story and how he was able to get back on his feet through the Covenant House’s youth program. In reference to other kids like Andrew and what A Night of Broadway Stars is like, Covenant House executive director, Cordella Hill, commented, “The coolest thing is they work with John Asselta and with Neil. We’ll take 3 or 4 young people and they’ll tell their story just like he did up on the stage in front of everybody.”

Hill has been involved in the organization’s Philadelphia location since its start. Their services consist of an outreach team, a 51-bed crisis center and transitional housing. “We probably sleep about 60 kids at our crisis center, or shelter. They get food, medical service, education, vocation, and pastor ministry. You name it, we do it and if we can’t do it, we assess and we’ll connect you with someone who can. You can stay there as long as you need to, as long as you’re working.” On the journey Hill has seen since the launch of Covenant House, she explains, “It began with a cell phone, a car and a store-front in Kensington. Now that site we had in Kensington is a 21-bed facility. We’ve been working.”

Hill was excited to let us in on what A Night of Broadway Stars would consist of. “We have a group of kids that come from Philly, kids that come from New York, and kids that come from New Jersey and they actually learn one of the songs and they perform that song with the Broadway stars. They actually spend 3-4 days to a week with the stars learning the show and rehearsing. It becomes almost seamless in terms of the stars really get to know the kids and the kids get to know the stars and they find out they have more in common than they think. It uplifts everybody. What we do isn’t sexy or beautiful. The show is amazing, you leave the place feeling really, really good.”

So don’t be shy—come out and indulge! You won’t want to miss an unforgettable performance in support of the efforts of Covenant House Pennsylvania in helping Philadelphia’s homeless and runaway youth!

To order tickets email Aileen Callahan at: acallahan@covenanthousepa.org

For more information on Convent House Pennsylvania, please visit www.covenanthousepa.org

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