(From Photo above L-R: Linda M Greene, Ted Leonsis, Honorable Vincent Gray & Judith F. Terra)
“A Night of Broadway Stars” Presents Impressive Show That ‘Takes It to the Streets’ to Provide Support for the Covenant House
From the opening “Taking it to the Streets” number to an impressive “Rise Up” finale that combined Broadway cast members singing along with Covenant House Washington youth, Wednesday’s “A Night of Broadway Stars” Gala at THEARC featured performances from top Broadway stars to poignant stories told by youths about how the Covenant House has changed their lives for the better.
The program included a special presentation from Honorary Co-chairs, The Honorable Vincent C. Gray – who was the first Executive Director of Covenant House Washington — and Linda Mercado Greene and a welcome introduction from Judith F. Terra, the Gala Chair.
“For more than 17 years, Covenant House has helped more than 30,000 young people find hope in the world,” Terra said.
The Second Annual Fundraising Gala featured a special tribute to Washington-based Internet pioneer, venture capital investor and sports team owner Theodore “Ted” Leonsis, who was presented with the Covenant House’s highest honor, “The Covenant House Lizzie Award,” in recognition of his long-time philanthropy and support of a number of provider organizations, including the Covenant House.
“Ted is a pillar of our community and through his leadership and philanthropic generosity he significantly impacts the lives of many,” Gray said. “Last year alone, over 400 charities were supported through the Leonsis Foundation.”
In accepting the award, Leonsis called attention to the good work that organizations such as the Covenant House provide to help young people.
“It is shocking and sad that there are more than 2 million homeless youth in this nation; tragic that every year more than 5,000 kids lose their lives to the streets feeling unloved and unwanted,” Leonsis said. “Covenant House is literally a lifesaver – helping kids get off the streets and find their way forward.”
The evening was filled with high octave performances from an array of impressive Broadway Stars and was produced by composer and lyricist Neil Berg, who served as Master of Ceremonies. Berg’s credits include “The Prince and the Pauper” and “Grumpy Old Men.” Berg is the creator of “Neil Berg’s 100 Years of Broadway” – the number one Broadway touring concert in the US. Berg also has devoted himself to helping the Covenant House.
He was joined onstage in performances byRita Harvey (“Fiddler on the Roof, ” “Phantom of the Opera”), Ron Bohmer (“Phantom Of The Opera,” ” Sunset Boulevard,” ” Les Miserables”), Rob Evan (“Jekyll & Hyde,” ” Tarzan,” “Les Miserables”), and Sophia Ramos (“One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” ” The 12″) and other top Broadway performers.
Ramos told the audience a very touching story about how she left home and became a drug user and a woman came to her rescue and told her to come stay with her. The woman, “Molly,” literally saved Ramos’s life one day in the Park by throwing herself in front of Ramos to keep her from being stabbed by a man who was coming at Ramos with a knife.
“That’s why I am here; because other people stepped in to help me at a difficult time in my life, and that’s what the Covenant House does,” Ramos said, who has become a top singer on the stages and theaters of New York. She particularly wowed the audience with a soulful renditions of “Piece of My Heart” first made famous by the late Janis Joplin.
“As an Honorary Co-Chair of the Gala, and as a Board Member of Covenant House Washington, I am overwhelmed with the huge support we received,” said
Linda Greene. “I, personally, thank everyone who has contributed to the success of our event benefiting our homeless and at-risk youth to have the opportunity to live full and productive lives.”
“A Night of Broadway Stars” resonates with audiences by providing a star studded platform for youth to share their stories. Several of the youths told the audience of about 350 about how the Covenant House had changed their lives by taking them off the streets and providing the means for them to help improve.
“The youth tonight are so brave and it is their bravery that motives us and is a reminder of why the work of Covenant House Washington is so important”
said Carlette Mack, Director of External Affairs. “Without the support of our amazing donors we could not do the lifesaving work that we do. They are champions for these young people!”
The Covenant House Washington has gone from being a simple storefront in the Southeast area of Washington to multiple locations throughout the District of Columbia. Its vision is to protect young people from the streets and from dangerous living situations to help them successfully transition to adulthood. It relies on the support of individuals, foundations, businesses, and government grants to support their efforts.
All proceeds from the evening will benefit programs serving at risk and homeless young people in Washington D.C. The major sponsors who provided their generous support included their Marquee Sponsor Covenant House International. Platinum Sponsors included CareFirst, BlueCross, BlueShield, Georgetown University, Monumental Sports Entertainment, and PNC Bank.
Covenant House Washington is a part of Covenant House International, the largest privately funded agency in the Americas serving homeless, runaway,and at-risk youth. They provide a community of hope and healing to youth ready to transition from life on the streets to a life with a future. They rely on the support of individuals, foundations, businesses, and government grants to support their efforts to help youth in crisis.
– Christine Shepherd
Photos by Ronald Baker, Solid Image