Broadway Benefit May 3 to Help Kosovo War Victims

by Randy Gener
Published on
April 1999

A powerhouse lineup of personalities from the worlds of Broadway, Hollywood, politics, sports, media and music will descend Monday, May 3 on Broadway’s Kit Kat Club, 124 West 43rd Street, for an American Red Cross benefit to aid the victims of the Kosovo war.

Kirk Douglas, Keith Richards, Art’s George Segal, New York Daily News owner Mort Zuckerman, Ingrid Rockefeller, Art Buchwald, Polly Bergen, Dr. Ruth Westheimer and David Hasselhoff are expected to participate in the Red Cross benefit which will run 7 PM to 1 AM.

The event was conceived and organized by The Lion King’s Simba, Jason Raize, who is co-producing the event with public relations maven Bobby Zarem. Admission will be first-come, first served (except for VIP passes), but everyone must make some kind of donation.

“I came up with the idea because we needed to do something to alleviate the pressure of the situation in the Yugoslav region,” Raize told BroadwayNow. “As I watched the news every morning, it slowly became clear to me that we really needed to respond to the event 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 your breakfast every morning without wondering what we can do as a community.”

Raize said the Red Cross benefit is intended to spur people to call the Red Cross’ 1-800-HELP-NOW line with a donation.

The benefit, he said, will be “a big social evening with people coming and and going participating.”

Ambassadors from Albania and Princess Elizabeth of Yugoslavia are expected to speak, along with New York congressmen, senators and political figures from the United Nations.

As the evening’s program slowly shapes up, Raize revealed that 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.

“There will be a number of great events to spice up the evening,” Raize said. “A deejay will be there to play club music. It’s a chance to get together, see a show and come out support 1-800-HELP NOW.”

Any form of donation, Raize said, will be “greatly appreciated at the event. There will be certain admission passes available for a lot of people to come in the club, but I think a lot more money will be raised through the Red Cross line than we would ask from the public at the door.”

Other society figures expected to show up in the event are HBO Original Pictures president Colin Callendar, film producer Stan Dragoti, record publisher Denise Rich, film producer Keith Barish, Mary and Mike Wallace, Wendy and Leonard Goldberg, Marquee Group president Bob Gutowski, Ann and Mick Jones, Zoe Caldwell and husband Robert Whitehead, Fran and Barry Weissler, Pia Lindstrom, singer Tom Postilio, Minnestota Twin’s Marty Cordova and Ragtime star Dara Paige Bloomfield.

Even though this benefit is Raize’s first producing experience, he said that he “definitely has strong interests in causes. The entertainment community is a very tight community,” said Raize. “It would be the 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.”