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Broadway Talent to Headline Province’s Sept. 30 Benefit

NEW YORK – Talented stars  from some of the most popular shows on Broadway, including Les Miserables, On the Town, Smokey Joe’s Cafe, Scotland, PA, and The Bridges of Madison County, are scheduled to perform at the second annual Night of Stars hosted by the development office of Holy Name Province.

The flyer for the event. (Photo courtesy of the FriarWorks website)

Proceeds of the star-studded event will benefit HNP’s dozens of outreach ministries that serve more than two million poor and marginalized individuals through immigration assistance, education, food centers, breadlines, soup kitchens, health care, shelters, residences and other facilities and programs in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and other states around the country where Holy Name Province and its friars have a presence.

The stage is set for the Night of Stars to be an extraordinary evening of A-Listers from the theater world performing pop culture songs, iconic Broadway tunes, and numbers from their respective shows. The 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. event on Monday, Sept. 30, at Second on Sixth Avenue in Manhattan, will also feature a reception with cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and desserts, and a meet-and-greet with the Broadway stars.

Sponsorship, ticket and other information can be found at www.nightofstars.org or by calling 646-564-3841.

The bright lights of Broadway – complete with theater-quality sound, stage and theater-style seating to accommodate the anticipated 250-plus guests – will take over Second, one of Manhattan’s most popular event venues.

“Everyone was awestruck by last year’s show. This year will be equally spectacular,” said David Convertino, OFM, executive director of the HNP Office of Development, who noted that the Broadway talent lined up for this year’s event, like those who performed at the 2018 benefit, are all award-winning and nominated actors.

“Last year, we exceeded our goals and expectations through the generosity of HNP’s friends and supporters. We hope to do the same this year,” David added.

The Sept. 30 event will add a silent art auction that will feature the artistic talents of Barry Langley, OFM, a parochial vicar at Holy Name of Jesus-St. Gregory the Great Church on West 96th Street, who is renowned for his quilting, and Michael Reyes, OFM, currently a full-time art student who lives at the 31st Street friary and whose oil on canvas works will be on the auction block.

Connecting with Supporters
Night of Stars was conceived as a way to connect Holy Name Province with its own supportive constituents.

Sponsorship opportunities for the Sept. 30 event. (Photo courtesy of the FriarWorks website)

“This is an outstanding event that connects us with people who respect and support the work that we do as friars with the poor and marginalized, and who want to participate in the mission of the friars and help us continue our presence and work,” David said.

“The loyalty and generosity of our supporters and donors is nothing short of amazing. Their trust in the friars is wonderful and humbling, and we are so grateful for these relationships because they help us reach more than two million people in need every year, as well as care for our elderly and infirm friars,” he added.

Danny Gorman, this year’s Night of Stars project manager, characterized the event as a wonderful occasion to enjoy a Broadway-caliber show and, at the same time, hear about the amazing work of the Franciscans.

“At least 30 friars from around the Province will be in attendance to provide personal contact and information to guests.   This has been an inspiring place for me to be, learning so much about the friars’ outreach ministries of caring for the poor,” said Gorman, an HNP Development Office staff member and freelance theatre director. “This event is an incredible opportunity to recognize the great work they do – and what better way to celebrate and support this work than with an elegant cocktail reception, musical performances, and rubbing elbows with the stars.”

Noting that last year’s participating performers were from Hello Dolly, Oklahoma, Avenue Q, Come From Away, and the Summer: The Donna Summer Musical, Gorman added, “Mondays traditionally are dark on Broadway, so this tells you about the exceptional character of these individuals – that they are giving up their only night off to perform at this benefit. It also says a lot about the friars – how people are willing to help and support what they do.”

Award-winning Broadway director Lonny Price will return for the second year to direct the Night of Stars performance, whose score will be lead by musical director and composer Grant Sturiale.

Other Development Initiatives
While the Night of Stars is a major fundraising event for the Province, the development office also coordinates a number of initiatives throughout the year, according to assistant director Ed Chaudron – including the Franciscan Challenge, whose proceeds support the education of men in formation, ministries that serve the poor, and care for retired and infirm friars.

Now in its sixth year, friars from the HNP Development Office spend a weekend at parishes and ministries where Franciscans serve. They present the homily at Masses – usually as a team of two or three friars – and provide information about the Province, formation, elder care, and the work that friars do with the poor, immigrants and marginalized, Chaudron explained. They also distribute brochures to help encourage parishioners to contemplate a financial pledge.

“It’s not a hard-sell, on-the-spot basket collection. While we certainly accept one-time donations, we ask people to take home the brochure and consider pledging a gift to the Franciscan Challenge,” Chaudron said.

“Pastors graciously allow us to appeal to their constituencies. People at the parishes really look forward to the Franciscan Challenge because they enjoy the team preaching approach, and because it reminds them of the communal aspect of the friars doing things as brothers,” he said.

In addition, the development office has resumed book publishing as part of the St. Anthony’s Guild, which has always been an effective fundraising vehicle mostly through direct mail appeal to supporters and friends of the Province. In revitalizing the St. Anthony’s Guild Press, the development office is publishing a series of “Simply” books – meditations and histories about Franciscan saints – including Simply St. Francis, Simply St. Anthony, Simply St. Clare, and Simply San Damiano. At $9.95, each 36-page book is available in hard copy and e-book at the HNP Development Office’s virtual store, thefranciscanstore.org.

Stephen Mangione is a frequent contributor to HNP Today.

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