Sunday, June 25, 2017

‘LOVE’ AFFAIR

An important fundraiser for Broadway in the Hood comes to the Smith Center for the Performing Arts.

The cast of From Broadway with Love -- PHOTO BY JERRY METELLUS

The popular Broadway in the Hood theatrical production company is hosting “From Broadway with Love” — its first fundraiser at the Smith Center for the Performing Arts — on July 8 at 3 p.m.

Renowned for putting on plays (“The Color Purple” and “Ain’t Misbehavin’”) that highlight the talent of local Las Vegas performers, Broadway in the Hood has collaborated with some of Las Vegas’ finest entertainers for the fundraiser — including Bubba Knight, Deniece Williams, Clint Holmes, Reva Rice, Antonio Fargas, and Earl Turner. Tony Award winning actor and choreographer Savion Glover will lead a star-studded tribute to his idols, Sammy Davis Jr. and Gregory Hines.

“The reason we are doing a fundraiser is because there have been an increase in budget cuts by our supporters with the government, and Broadway in the Hood is not necessarily financially secure,” said Broadway in the Hood founder/CEO, Torrey Russell. “So, I initially reached out to Mr. Bubba Knight and said, ‘Mr. Bubba — we need help! We need to see who is willing to help us actually raise funds to help Broadway in the Hood survive for the next few years.’ Mr. Bubba is very familiar with our production company, because he starred in our “The Color Purple” cast. He replied with, “Absolutely, I will see what I can do.’ Next thing I know, I was blessed to be in a meeting to discuss the fundraiser with Clint Holmes, Earl Turner and Mr. Bubba.”

Russell added: “I came up with the concept of ‘From Broadway with Love,’ to honor the people who have paved the way for us to do what we do. I mean entertainers such as Lena Horne, Ella Fitzgerald, Sammy Davis Jr. and so many more. All of whom took the brunt of racism, hatred and going through the back door to perform on stage for those who didn’t necessarily look like them. They paved the way so that we can now have opportunities in entertainment.”

Broadway in the Hood is in i third season performing at the Smith Center, and has been widely acclaimed for its commitment to diversity.

“It’s funny: I have attended other productions, and you are correct when you say we bring diversity — because we do,” said Russell. “But the great part about it is that we are not ‘whitewashed.’ I hate to put it that way, but I just mean we are very proud. It is not easy being black and proud in this industry, or any industry that is not geared toward us. This is why every chance I get, when we have an opportunity to do a production, I include as many people as I can. This show will feature 300 locals and also people from our Canadian production company. We are so excited.”

Tickets for the “From Broadway with Love” fundraiser range from $19-$100. For additional information contact, go to www.thesmithcenter.com/shows-tickets/broadwayinthehood.

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