The live and in-person return of HNP’s annual Night of Stars was a box-office sensation! Leaving behind the virtual format of the past two years, a sold-out crowd of more than 150 guests, supporters and friars converged at Second Floor on Sixth Ave. in New York City for a dinner theater evening of spectacular live performances by some of Broadway’s brightest stars. The March 3 event raised a half-million dollars for the education of friars in formation, care for our elder friars, and Province programs and ministries that serve more than two million people annually caught in the net of poverty, homelessness, and mental illness.
“This was extra-special because I think everyone – friends, supporters and friars – was excited about Night of Stars returning as an in-person event of entertainment, networking and camaraderie,” said David Convertino, OFM, Director of HNP’s Office of Development, which organizes the annual fundraising affair. “With the ongoing pandemic causing so much human suffering, our work as Franciscans has taken on a greater urgency. The extraordinary generosity of our friends and supporters enables us to extend our outreach and services to the homeless, poor, unemployed, undocumented, and marginalized.”
This year’s Night of Stars playbill featured Broadway luminaries Jason Tam (Be More Chill, If/Then, A Chorus Line, Jesus Christ Superstar Live),Samantha Williams (Caroline or Change, Dear Evan Hansen), Christy Altomare (Anastasia, Mamma Mia!), Jay Armstrong Johnson (Phantom of the Opera, On the Town, Hands on a Hardbody, Catch Me if You Can, Hair), and Katie Ladner (Wicked, Sunset Boulevard). The cast was assembled by Danny Gorman, project manager of the HNP Development Office. The performances were directed by Tony-nominee Lonny Price, with musical direction by award-winning composer/conductor/pianist Joseph Thalken.
“Aside from meeting amazing Broadway talent, our guests and supporters have told us that one of the highlights of the evening is meeting Franciscans friars. We always make sure at least one friar is seated at every table because guests enjoy the conversation and stories of the brothers and their ministries,” said David, noting that plans are already in the works for next year’s Night of Stars.