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"[T]he greatest gift that people in our industry can give is that of visibility. If we can take action, we can motive people in the world to do so also."
--Jason Raize, BroadwayNow feature on the Kosovo benefit







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Kosovo Benefit

 
Jason Raize - American Red
                                Cross logo In his first venture as a producer, Jason conceived and organized New York City's first major benefit for victims of the war in Kosovo. The event's main goal was to build awareness of the American Red Cross's 1-800-HELP-NOW line, through which people could donate toward relief efforts. Co-produced by publicist Robert Zarem, the benefit took place at the Kit Kat Club (Henry Miller's Theatre) on May 3, 1999.
"I came up with the idea because we needed to do something to alleviate the pressure of the situation in the Yugoslav region," Jason said in an interview with BroadwayNow. "As I watched the news every morning, it slowly became clear to me that we really needed to respond to the event[s] that are happening out of there. When you see the horrors people face, how their lives are being torn apart, there's no way you can continue to [eat] your breakfast every morning without wondering what we can do as a community."

The event featured performances and speeches from musician Isaac Hayes, psychosexual therapist Dr. Ruth Westheimer,  and singers Gloria Gaynor and Deborah Gibson, among others. Attendees included Princess Elizabeth of Yugoslavia, record producer and composer Quincy Jones, and CBS Television CEO Leslie Moonves.

While a complete list of performers and speakers was not published after the event, Jason told BroadwayNow prior to the event that participants would also include Kirk Douglas, Keith Richards, George Segal, Mort Zuckerman, Ingrid Rockefeller, Polly Bergen, and David Hasselhoff. In addition, Albanian ambassadors, New York congressmen and senators, and United Nations political figures would speak. BroadwayNow wrote, "Art Buchwald will wash dishes, Deborah Gibson will perform, Gloria Gaynor will sing 'I Will Survive,' Metropolitan Opera star Aprile Millo will perform an aria, Byron Janis will perform on the piano, and American Ballet Theatre stars Ethan Stiefel, Keith Roberts and Angel Corrella will dance several numbers."

The benefit also received coverage in USA Today, and may have been featured on an episode of E! Fashion Emergency (please contact the webmaster if you can verify this).



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