NEW YORK – After more than a year of cancellations of in-person events and raising funds through virtual platforms, the Holy Name Province Development Office is planning to once again raise the curtain on its popular “Night of Stars” – an annual event featuring cocktails and food, entertainment by Broadway performers, and the opportunity for networking with friars and Province friends and supporters.
The 2021 Night of Stars is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Sept. 27 at SECOND on Sixth Avenue, a venue in Midtown Manhattan not far from the historic Church of St. Francis of Assisi and the Provincial Offices. Proceeds from the fundraising event benefit the Province’s many outreach ministries and friars’ work with the poor; the education of young friars in formation, and the care of elderly friars who have served so many throughout their professed lives as Franciscans.
“Ticket sales, donations, and sponsorship contributions help us to continue our work in all three areas. Night of Stars is our only annual event that makes so much of our ministry possible,” said David Convertino, OFM, the Province’s director of development, who noted that this year’s event will be the fourth Night of Stars since its inception in 2018.
As in the past, the Night of Stars program will be highlighted by the performances of Broadway stars, but this year’s event will be structured a little differently. The atmosphere, according to Danny Gorman, coordinator of the Night of Stars, will have a dinner theater feel – with time for chatting, eating, and listening to great music.
Guests will be seated at tables in SECOND’S main hall, where friars will serve them a family-style meal, said Gorman, who noted that friars will also join the guests at their tables for an optimal chance to mingle.
Although the line-up will be finalized in the weeks ahead, organizers are anticipating that three Broadway performers will sing at next month’s event. Previous Night of Stars fundraisers have featured Broadway talent from acclaimed shows such as Come From Away, Avenue Q, and Hello Dolly.
Through the generosity of Province friends and supporters, the proceeds derived from Night of Stars events have exceeded expectations. Even last year’s event, which was held online as a virtual fundraiser because of pandemic-related physical distancing requirements, was successful.
“We brought the program online as a digital ‘Night of Stars Reunion,’ featuring the friars of Holy Name Province and some of our favorite performers from the two previous years,” said Gorman, adding that he and the friars think it is important to try to host an in-person gathering this year.
“We are eager to be back together this year after being apart for the better part of 18 months,” he said. “So much of our work hinges on our daily interactions with our constituents, our donors, and the poor who come to our ministry sites every day for assistance. While we, as an organization, learned to adapt and evolve during the pandemic as we made a push for online programming, there really is no substitute for gathering – safely – in person in support of our mission.”
“The Night of Stars has become the event of the season at Holy Name Province,” continued Gorman, who is working with other HNP Development Office staff members to organize the evening. “Our guests will enjoy a night of brilliant performances, delicious food and drink, and great conversation with the friars. And, they can feel pride in knowing that their financial contribution goes directly towards supporting the friars and the work that they do for those in need. It really is a win-win situation.”
The event is being held in a season when Broadway shows are opening. Some are opening as early as late August and others in September and throughout the fall,” said Gorman, who has worked in the theatre business.
Like past events, David is planning to serve as host at this year’s Night of Stars, while Lonny Price, an award-winning director and a friend of the friars, serves as director of the performances. Tickets can be purchased as full tables or individually on their website or by calling 646-564-3841.
Information about Holy Name Province’s outreach efforts and ways to support the Province can be found on FriarWorks.org. Through the years, the Province has conducted various types of fundraising campaigns to assist specific needs. Most recently, the HNP Development Office offered an online appeal called the Franciscan Challenge. In spring 2020 at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, it launched the Franciscan Relief Fund to provide $100 supermarket gift cards to unemployed individuals in the food, hospitality, entertainment, trades, and other industries who were struggling financially.
- “Generosity Abounds at Provincial Ministries During Pandemic” – March 19, 2021, HNP Today
- “Province Establishes Franciscan Relief Fund” – April 30, 2020, HNP Today
- “A Night of Stars – An Evening of Friend-raising” – Oct. 31, 2018, HNP Today