On Tuesday, May 3rd, 150 Canavan Foundation supporters gathered for the annual Theater Gala to see the start-studded cast of "Shuffle Along - Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 - And All that Followed" on the day that the show was nominated for 10 Tony awards. The gala sold out, with proceeds going to support the Canavan Foundation's work in promoting early and complete genetic carrier screening for Canavan and other Jewish genetic diseases.
During dinner at Barbetta before the show guests were treated to a fascinating dialogue between Canavan Foundation board member Seth Gelblum and the show's writer and director, George C. Wolfe, about the challenges of taking the music from the nearly 100-year old original musical and writing a new book that traces the making of that 1921 musical.
At dinner, Canavan Foundation President Orren Alperstein shared the remarkable progress the Canavan Foundation has made this past year in outreach efforts, highlighting the foundation's success in distributing over 50,000 brochures to synagogues around the country and the continued progress of our NY Metro Ob-Gyn program. Orren also described the research the foundation has been conducting with Ob-Gyns, recently pregnant women, and synagogue leadership to judge the effectiveness of our programs and plan our future activities.
Orren also offered a personal tribute to Randy Yudenfriend Glaser, President of the Jewish Genetic Disease Consortium, who passed away last month after a long disease. Randy was a tireless advocate for Jewish genetic disease research, screening and treatment and will be missed by everyone who works in this field. You can download Orren’s complete comments here. To see all the evening's photos and download your favorites, click here.
On Thursday, April 23rd, the Canavan Foundation's 2015 annual Theater Benefit was Peter Morgan's play "The Audience," starring Oscar-winning actress Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth II. Mirren created the role in the play's original London production, and is now bringing it to New York. The play breaks the silence on 50 years of the Queen's weekly secret meetings with Britain's prime minsters, from Winston Churchill to David Cameron. Canavan Foundation supporters met for dinner before the show, which included a fascinating Q&A with Patrick Healy, "New York Times" theater journalist, and they met again after the show for a celebratory drink. Join our mailing list to be updated on other Canavan Foundation news, and an invitation to next year's gala.
Here are photos from the 2015 Theater Benefit:
On April 29th, 2014, 150 supporters of The Canavan Foundation
gathered for our annual Spring Theater Benefit to see Lorraine Hansberry’s “A Raisin in the Sun,” at the Ethel Barrymore Theater. Once again, the gala sold out, with proceeds going to support the Canavan Foundation's work in promoting early and complete genetic carrier screening for Canavan and other Jewish genetic diseases.
As an added bonus, the morning of the gala the production was nominated for five Tony awards, including nominations for each of the three female leads: LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Anika Noni Rose and Sophie Okonedo.
During a fascinating Q&A at dinner at Ruby Foo's we heard from Executive Producer Joey Parnes about the challenges of mounting a revival of a beloved classic, having a 59-year-old Denzel Washington take on the role of a 35-year-old man, and the ways in which the world has -- and hasn't -- changed in the half century since "Raisin in the Sun" premiered on Broadway. At dinner Canavan Foundation President Orren Alperstein recognized long-term board members Deedy Goldstock and Pat Hirschorn, who have served as co-chairs for the Theater Gala for 20 years.
The sold-out performance lived up to all the hype and the rave reviews, with remarkable performances by the entire cast. The play still poses vital questions about racism, assimilation, and what becomes of a dream deferred.
After the performance we celebrated with prosecco, cheese and fruit at the Glass House Tavern across the street from the theater.
The Foundation would like to thank everyone who joined us for dinner and theater, or who were not able to be there in person but who made financial contributions all the same.
Below are a few photos from this year's dinner before and reception after the theater. We hope to see you at next year’s Theater Benefit!
On April 24th, 150 supporters and friends of the Canavan Foundation gathered in New York City for our annual Theater Gala. The Gala sold out, which will go a long way to funding our vital work promoting Jewish genetic disease screening, especially our program to identify, visit, educate and support more than 1,000 OG/GYNs in over 400 practices in the New York metropolitan area.
During dinner we were treated to a fascinating dialogue between Canavan Foundation board member Seth Gelblum and the show’s producer, Michael David. Michael talked to us about the process of translating the show from London to New York, the challenges of working with a cast of children, and how the theater business has changed during his 40-plus years as a producer.
Canavan Foundation President Orren Alperstein was able to thank Shivani Nazareth of Counsyl, the genetic screening firm which recently gave the foundation a substantial grant to support our outreach and education program in the New York metropolitan area. Shivani is featured in the two videos on this website which explain the genetic screening process and the options available to carrier couples.
Supporters then walked down the block to see “Matilda,” which more than lived up to its rave reviews. Everyone was impressed by the energy and creativity of the show and the remarkable performances by all the cast members. “Matilda” has been nominated for a dozen Tony awards, and it's certain to have a long and successful run.
A smaller group finished off the evening with wine and cheese at Angus’s Café Bistro right across the street from the theater, comparing impressions of the show and the performances, especially the young woman who did an amazing job of bringing Matilda to life.
The Foundation would particularly like to recognize board members and event co-chairs Deedy Goldstock and Pat Hirschhorn, without whom this event would never have been possible, and finally, thank everyone who joined us for dinner and theater, or who were not able to be there in person but who made financial contributions all the same.
We hope to see you at next year’s Theater Benefit!
The Canavan Foundation Spring Theater Gala
Every spring Canavan Foundation supporters gather for dinner and a Broadway show. This is our major fundraising event. The producer or director joins us for a fascinating pre-show Q&A over dinner and we generally gather after the show for dessert and drinks nearby. In recent years we’ve been to “The Addams Family,” “War Horse” and “Death of a Salesman”.
Photos from previous years: