‘With Love, Now And Forever!’ a CATS Special Event for Broadway Covid Relief

“Jellicle Cats come out tonight
Jellicle Cats come one, come all
The Jellicle Moon is shining bright
Jellicles come to the Jellicle Ball
Jellicle Cats come out tonight
Jellicles come to the Jellicle Ball”

Nearly 35 years after their first performance, the CATS  third national tour has reunited for a very special virtual theatrical event, WITH LOVE, NOW AND FOREVER! CATS4COVIDRELIEF, a fundraiser for the Broadway Cares Covid-19 Emergency Assistance Fund, which supports The Actors Fund. 

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More than 30 former cast members from CATS National 3 have joined forces to collaborate and create an upbeat, inspiring celebration of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s international musical phenomenon, CATS.

This special reunion will feature a contemporary take on the opening number, “Jellicle Songs for Jellicle Cats,” testimonials of hope from cast members of how they were helped by The Actors Fund, and a spectacular, new performance of the show-stopping “Memory” performed by Grammy Award-winner Leslie Ellis (‘Grizabella’) and award-winning playwright/actress, Christine Toy Johnson (’Sillabub’). There will also be a fun Halloween surprise with “The Naming of Cats.”

Donations made during the stream will help those onstage and behind the scenes get health care, emergency financial assistance and counseling during the pandemic and work stoppage. Joining the company for the musical celebration are hosts Brian Stokes Mitchell, Chairman of the Board for The Actors Fund, and Tom Viola, Executive Director of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

When Tony Award-winning director/choreographer Michael Bennett passed away in 1987 from HIV/AIDS, this tribe of ‘Jellicle Cats’ heard the call to action and created a one-night-only event that celebrated the career of Bennett titled, One Singular Sensation: A Tribute To Michael Bennett.

In a time before Broadway Cares or Equity Fights AIDS, CATS National 3 raised $36,000 in one amazing, not-to-be-forgotten night for the Kansas City Good Samaritan Project that specifically helped those battling HIV/AIDS. Adjusted for inflation, that would be over $82,000 today.

As we continue to battle COVID19, this tribe has come out WITH LOVE, NOW AND FOREVER! a video event conceived and produced by award-winning director Jonathan Cerullo (The Boys from Syracuse, Legs Diamond Broadway Reunion), scripted by Christine Toy Johnson (Come From Away, Bombay Dreams), Broadway choreographer JoAnn M. Hunter (Disaster!, School of Rock), award-winning choreographer James Walski (Trip of Love), and entrepreneur Austin Jetton.

 

 

“In revisiting my love affair with ‘Memory’ for this benefit, I was surprised and humbled by how powerful collaborating with my former castmates combined with the emotion of the current global unrest and social injustice would have on me,” says Leslie Ellis, who played Grizabella.  “I am deeply moved to have been a part of this benefit that aims to raise money and awareness to help everyone in our community who is in need right now.”

Please join the Jellicle Ball and this special celebration of CATS and community – WITH LOVE, NOW AND FOREVER! CATS4COVIDRELIEF – a fundraiser for the Broadway Cares COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Fund supporting The Actors Fund on Friday, October 23 at 8 PM ET / 5 PM PST.

If you could see your way to making a donation of any amount – what we do together makes a difference! – please visit broadwaycares.org/catsbenefit.

 

AT THIS PERFORMANCE

Mark Agnes, Jay Alger, Deborah Geneviere Athens, Joanna Beck, Anthony Vincent Bova, Lisa Dawn Cave, Jonathan Cerullo, Leslie Ellis, Robert Barry Fleming, Jack Gaughan, David Geist, Adrea Gibbs, JoAnn Hunter, Austin Jetton, Christine Toy Johnson, Aja Kane, BK Kennelly, Deidre Lang, Brian Liddicoat, Charmaine Liddicoat, Karen Longwell, Kari Nicolaisen, Bill Nolte, Donna Pompei, Cathy Sue Pyles, Rachelle Rak, Arminae Reames, Edward G. Robinson, Randy Slovacek, Julie Stiel, Beth Swearingen, Fred Tallaksen, Amiee Turner, James Walski, Matt Zarley.

 

A special point of Pride for theOUTfront, our own frequent contributor, Randy Slovacek podcaster/writer of the acclaimed LGBTQ blog, The Randy Report as the Magical Mr. Mistoffelees.

“And you’ll all say:
Oh! Well I never! Was there ever
A cat so clever as magical Mr. Mistoffelees!”

 

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