At Monday’s Arts for All benefit in Midtown, Academy Award winner Jennifer Hudson enjoyed performances by two singers who know what it’s like to walk a mile in her shoes.
First, Hudson (inset) cheered on Rema Webb, who stars alongside her in Broadway’s “The Color Purple.” Then she put her hands together for Jennifer Holliday, who plays the same role in the stage version of “Dreamgirls” that Hudson herself played in the 2006 film adaptation, co-starring Beyoncé.
According to one insider at the 42West theater, where it all went down, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house when Holliday was done.
“Holliday’s closing number from ‘Dreamgirls’ (‘And I Am Telling You’), brought the entire audience to their feet,” we’re told. “Many had tears in their eyes during the sentimental moment.”
Not one to grandstand, Holliday later met family members in the audience and smiled while photographers snapped away, without any regard for whether anything she said or did might end up on the Internet.
“I don’t know what a meme is, but whoever meme’d me let them do it,” she said to the fans that surrounded her. “Jennifer Holliday don’t take no selfless. I’m just real.”
The Following appeared in Broadway World on January 21, 2015
Photo Flash: Jennifer Holliday, Laura Benanti, Michael Cerveris, Rema Webb & More Support Arts-For-All
Jacob Langfelder in partnership with Arts-For-All, Jill Bernard and Rashad Chambers presented a one-night-only concert on Monday, featuring Tony and Grammy Award-winner Jennifer Holliday, along with FUN HOME Tony winner Michael Cerveris, Tony-winning star of the upcoming Roundabout Theatre production of SHE LOVES ME, Laura Benanti, and THE COLOR PURPLE’s Rema Webb, along with some of her fellow cast members, including Jennifer Hudson. BroadwayWorld has photos from the event below!
The concert was presented at 42West. The format was reminiscent of SiriusXM’s Broadway Names with Julie James, where listeners catch an inside glimpse through one-on-one chats with the stars. James hosted this star-studded Broadway Names LIVE!, music directed by Emmy Winner Michael Croiter. Also in attendance were Jennifer Hudson‘s fellow American Idol alum, Constantine Maroulis, as well as William Finn, and cast members from Disney’s THE LION KING and THE BOOK OF MORMON.
SUPERGIRL’s Laura Benanti offered a sneak peak of her next Broadway role, performing “Vanilla Ice Cream” from SHE LOVES ME. Michael Cerveris sang “Life On Mars” with Andrew Nielson on cello in tribute to the late David Bowie. THE COLOR PURPLE’s Rema Webb brought the house down singing “Change” from A NEW BRAIN with composer William Finn in the audience.
Holliday’s headlining set of eight songs included the classic “And I Am Telling You, I’m Not Going” which brought the sold-out crowd, including Hudson, to tears and to their feet. Afterward, Hudson joined Holliday backstage to congratulate and thank her for her “inspirational performance.”
For more information on Arts for All, visit www.Arts-for-All.org.
Photo Credit: Karen Sterling
Julie James and Anna Ostroff
Jessie Kilguss and Anna Ostroff with Arts-For-All
Jennifer Hudson and company
Broadway Names with Julie James Live is presented by Jacob Langfelder in partnership with Arts For All.
Holliday will be joined by special guests to be announced at a later date.
Holliday won the 1982 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her performance as Effie Melody White in Dreamgirls. She has also appeared on Broadway in Your Arms Too Short to Box with God, Grease and Chicago.
James is program director of Sirius XM Radio’s “On Broadway” and “Metropolitan Opera” radio station. She hosts “Broadway Names with Julie James,” where she “takes her listeners on the town, backstage and into the studio for fun, lively conversations with the biggest and best of Broadway and beyond.”
According to their website, “Arts For All offers accessible artistic opportunities to children in the New York City area who face socio-economic, physical, or emotional barriers to exploring the arts. Through Arts For All, professional artists work with youth organizations to build self-confidence, self-expression, teamwork, resilience, and creativity in children.”
For more information or to purchase tickets, click here.
The following was published in Broadway World on December 1, 2015
Jennifer Holliday Will Take Part in BROADWAY NAMES WITH JULIE JAMES- LIVE on 1/18
Jennifer Holliday has been proclaimed a Broadway legend by critics and fans alike. Her show-stopping, heart-wrenching performance of the torch ballad ³And I am Telling You, I¹m Not Going² in the 1981 smash hit, Dreamgirls, is considered one of the all-time best performances in a Broadway musical. The iconic role made Jennifer Holliday a household name and introduced her big, soulful voice to the world.
Holliday is showing the world a new musical look with her latest CD project, This Song Is You (Shanachie Records). The album showcases her extraordinary vocal range and mastery of multiple musical genres. Born and raised in Houston, TX, Jennifer went straight from the Pleasant Grove Baptist Church Choir, to the Broadway stage. One Sunday, while singing in the church choir, she was discovered by dancer Jamie Patterson who was touring in the national company of A Chorus Line. Jamie set up an audition for Jennifer in New York for the show Your Arms Are Too Short To Box With God. During the audition with the show¹s creator and director, Vinnette Carroll, Jennifer sang her favorite hymn, ³God Will Take Care of You.² And that He did. She was hired for the show that same day.
Jennifer toured with Your Arms Are Too Short To Box With God and then made her Broadway debut with the show. Jennifer came to the attention of many theater luminaries and critics, most notably the renowned Broadway director and choreographer Michael Bennett, the creator of A Chorus Line. As soon as he heard her sing, he knew he wanted to work with her. He invited her to participate in an untitled project that he was producing. Even though, at the time, Jennifer wasn¹t familiar with Bennett, and she was still performing in Your Arms Are Too Short To Box With God, Bennett¹s project sounded too good to pass up. The project turned out to be Dreamgirls, which had previews in Boston and opened on Broadway on December 21, 1981, at the Imperial Theatre. Her portrayal of Effie ³Melody² White, a role which she co-created, not only brought theatergoers to their feet for eight performances a week, but also garnered her a Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical and her first GRAMMY® Award for Best R&B Female Vocalist.
Julie James is an award-winning vocalist, theatre performer, voiceover artist and radio personality. Julie is the Program Director of Sirius XM Radio’s On Broadway and Metropolitan Opera Radio stations and hosts “Broadway Names with Julie James” where she takes her listeners on the town, backstage and into the studio for fun, lively conversations with the biggest and best of Broadway and beyond, including Hugh Jackman, Julie Andrews, Sting, Kristin Chenoweth, Rita Moreno, Neil Patrick Harris, Ben Vereen, Patti LuPone, Barry Manilow, Bernadette Peters, Daniel Radcliffe and many others. Julie has also performed internationally, recently playing sold-out engagements at New York City’s venerable 54 Below, singing the National Anthem at Fenway Park for a stadium of 34,000, has appeared with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Opera, Goodspeed Opera House, Long Wharf Theatre, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, St. Louis Repertory Theatre, in concert in Kazakhstan for its President, and headlined at New York’s famed Central Park Summerstage, Joe’s Pub at the Public Theatre and The Rainbow Room. Julie has hosted hundreds of events across America for clients including Saks 5th Avenue, Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s, and Lord & Taylor, and she was the exclusive spokeswoman for Tommy Hilfiger Woman for two years. Julie’s personality, stage presence and vocal style brought her to SiriusXM Radio where her voice is heard by millions each day as a host and on voiceovers, jingles and parody songs for various channels and “The Howard Stern Show.” Her ³Broadway Buzz² news updates air throughout the day on SiriusXm On Broadway channel 72, and ³Broadway Names with Julie James² premieres Saturdays 8pm EST with encores Sun 12pm, Wed 7am & Thu 9pm.
Arts For All offers accessible artistic opportunities to children in the New York City area who face socio-economic, physical, or emotional barriers to exploring the arts. Through Arts For All, professional artists work with youth organizations to build self-confidence, self-expression, teamwork, resilience, and creativity in children. To learn more, please visit arts-for-all.org
JENNIFER HOLLIDAY and more in a very special
BROADWAY NAMES WITH JULIE JAMES LIVE!
in partnership with ARTS FOR ALL
Monday, January 18, 2016
Doors open at 7:00pm
Performances begin at 8:00pm
42West 514 West 42nd St between 10th an 11th Avenues
April 24, 2015
Arts For All is mentioned in this lovely article on Sydell Rosenberg, whose poetry is the focus of our Haiku Programs. The article is published on Haigaonlne.com and is pasted below.
“Traditional haiga, Sydell Rosenberg (1929-96)
From the beginning, our signature feature has been the Traditional Haiga section. Here we feature multimedia haiga by our resident staff. Mary Rodning paints the image; Hiromi Inoue translates the haiku into Japanese and arranges for calligraphy; Seiso creates a musical setting for bamboo flute, and finally, Jasminka puts on the finishing touches by marrying calligraphy to image.
Our featured poet for this issue is Sydell Gasnick Rosenberg, who published her first haiku in 1967. The following year when the Haiku Society of America was founded, she was a charter member. Living in New York City lent many of her haiku a “city” sensibility. “In the laundermat”, a senryu that may qualify as her signature piece, first appeard in Modern Haiku (1971), It was republished in both editions of Cor van den Heuvel’s Haiku Anthology (1974, 1986) and in William J. Higginson’s Haiku Handbook (1985). More recently it was included in Haiku on 42nd Street (1994), a project in which short poems were showcased on shuttered movie theaters. Among her other writings were longer forms of poetry, puzzles and prose, especially short stories. IIn the 1950s, as Sydell Gasnick (her maiden name), she published a pulp novel, Strange Circle, under the male pseudonym, Gale Sydney.
Sydell’s daughter Amy Losak is active in preserving her poetry through children’s programs and workshops, notably Arts For All and The Children’s Museum of Art. In 2014, two haiku appeared in Tinywords, and Gene Myers interviewed Amy for the Haiku Society of America. Amy has created a website for Sydell, Haiku and Senryu, as well as a presence on Facebook and Twitter. Do take time to learn more about her by clicking on the links, and enjoy the three haiga we’ve put together here for you.”
December 17, 2014
A couple weeks ago, Arts For All’s Executive Director, Anna Roberts Ostroff was interviewed by Allison Plitt for an article in NY Parenting Magazine. You can read the entire article below.
By Allison Plitt
After years of seeing funding for arts education slashed from their budgets, New York City public schools got a big surprise this past summer when Mayor DeBlasio promised $23 million dollars would be spent on arts education for the 2014-2015 school year. Besides stating that the money would be used to hire 120 new, certified art teachers, DeBlasio also said the financial support would also be appropriated to improve art facilities in schools as well as create “new partnerships with cultural institutions.”
The city’s public schools aren’t the only recipients of this much-needed funding. Non-profit organizations that bring arts education into public schools have also received additional money from the city for this school year. One such organization, Arts For All, has been bringing free arts programming into public schools and youth organizations for nearly a decade. Seventy percent of the clients that Arts For All serves are public schools that lack access to an arts curriculum.
The services Arts For All provides are free of charge to its clients, so the organization has to focus a lot of effort on fund-raising.
“We’re always working really hard to get funding wherever we can,” admits Executive Director Anna Roberts Ostroff. “We have a number of wonderful private donors. We’ve also now secured city and state funding, which has been really helpful, and also corporate sponsors, and family foundations. We’re always out there looking for fund-raising opportunities to offer more quality art programs to the children we serve.”
The story of how this non-profit was created is an inspiring story in itself. According to Ostroff, Arts For All started as a small club at New York University and taught at a couple of organizations at the time. When Ostroff and the club’s other founder graduated in 2003, they realized no one was going to take over the club, but they really believed in the work they were doing and decided to try to continue to sustain the club.
For four years Arts For All worked with two established non-profit organizations that helped it expand its programming and grow.
“Back when we were first getting started, there was certainly a lot of us introducing ourselves to youth organizations,” recounted Ostroff. “It really did take a while for people to realize what we were doing. We weren’t trying to sell anything. We were trying to offer accessible programming to organizations that may not have had the opportunity to offer that to their students. We now have a waiting list of clients.”
By 2007, Ostroff said, “We realized we were ready to branch off on our own and became our own non-profit. As a non-profit standing on our own, we’re still pretty young, but we do have a history with some of our clients, our schools, and our programs that go back beyond 2007.”
In addition to increasing in size, Arts For All increased its clientele. Through an application process, a public school or youth organization can apply to have Arts For All come teach arts education in the classrooms. The board of directors reviews the applications to get a sense of what the organizations specifically need, who their students are, and why these organizations need arts programming to be accessible to children.
When Arts For All approves the organization that it knows will fit its mission, the staff works one-on-one with the individual school or youth organization.
“We basically will discuss with each of these organizations what age group is most in need of our programming and specifically what art forms the students would most respond to,” says Ostroff.
Arts For All offers a wide range of art programs from visual arts to dance and music to drama and film. The organization hires teaching artists who are not only talented in the artistic discipline, but who are also comfortable teaching their art form in challenging learning environments.
“We work really hard to then pair the right teaching artist with each school,” explains Ostroff. “We do work really closely with the schools and youth organizations to create unique programs that work for them whether in terms of the artistic disciplines, the lengths of the residency, and the specifics about what that teacher might want to focus on to enhance what they’re already learning in the classroom.”
Arts For All also does academic-based art programming. For instance, its Literacy through the Arts Program, which is one of its strongest programs, works with kindergarten through second-graders to help improve their reading, writing, and verbal expression. Literacy through the Arts Program also has a teaching artist tie the lesson plans in with the Common Core Standards and what the teachers are doing in the classrooms.
Giving an example of another academic-based program, Ostroff offers, “We’ve also recently created a haiku program that blends haiku poetry of the late Sydell Rosenberg, with either visual arts or music. This program is made possible because of a very generous donor, Amy Losak.”
Arts For All changed its mission statement two years ago to one that is now more specific about arts education helping children mature through the arts. The mission statement reads, “Arts For All offers accessible artistic opportunities to children in the New York City area who face socioeconomic, physical, or emotional barriers to exploring the arts. Through Arts For All, professional artists work with youth organizations to build self-confidence, self-expression, teamwork, resilience, and creativity in children.”
Ostroff explained the reason for the change.
“What was really important to the organization and to the board of directors was to put out our core values in our mission statement, so people had a really strong understanding of what we were doing through the arts,” she says. “We believe very much in art for art’s sake. However, our staff is doing a little bit more than that in teaching life skills through the arts.”
She adds, “We may or may not have someone in one of our classes that one day becomes a Broadway star or a famous painter, but that’s really not the goal of the work we are doing. We want all children to have access to the arts and feel all students, even if they don’t necessarily do this as a career going forward, can gain so much from having accessible arts programming.”
As for the mayor’s current support of arts education in public schools, Ostroff says everyone in her field is “very excited” to see an increase in funding, although she thinks there is still more work to be done.
“The biggest hope is that it can sustain and we can really start to see those results,” Ostroff observed. “As New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer recently stated in his State of the Arts report, last year, 419 schools in New York City still lacked one full-time, certified arts teacher, so we still have a long way to go.”
For more information about Arts For All, visit www.arts-for-all.org or call (212) 591–6108.
Allison Plitt is a freelance writer who lives in Queens with her husband and young daughter. She is a frequent contributor to New York Parenting.