PHOTO CALL: Lindsay Mendez, Derek Klena, Julia Murney, Seth Numrich, Tom Kitt and More Sing Backstage for Christmas

By Matthew Blank
December 18, 2012

ASTEP/Artists Striving to End Poverty's Dec. 17 Backstage for Christmas cabaret, set in a rehearsal room backstage at Broadway's largest theatre, included performances and stories from a starry lineup of talent.

The lineup included songwriters Tom Kitt (Next to Normal) and Andrew Lippa (The Addams Family, Big Fish), plus Golden Boy star Seth Numrich, and the previously announced Tituss Burgess (The Little Mermaid, Guys and Dolls), Derek Klena (Carrie, Dogfight), Lindsay Mendez (Dogfight, Godspell), Julia Murney (Wicked, The Wild Party), Ali Stroker ("The Glee Project") and more.



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Lindsay Mendez and Derek Klena
Photo by Monica Simoes



Access to the 6:30 PM show, an intimate and acoustic cocktail-party-style event, is through the Stage Door entrance of Broadway's Foxwoods Theatre at 214 West 43rd Street (between Seventh and Eighth Avenue). The door leads to a performance space in the theatre.

The cabaret — which had extremely limited availability — is a hot ticket for people who like musical-theatre stars, holidays songs and a unique behind-the-scenes theatrical experience. "Expect your favorite holiday songs, and some musical surprises," according to ASTEP. (Jonathan Groff, originally announced for the show, dropped out due to a conflict.)

Backstage for Christmas: A Holiday Cabaret was produced and music-directed by Drama Desk Award-winning orchestrator Mary-Mitchell Campbell, who is also the founder and executive director of ASTEP. Appearing with pianist Campbell will be Damien Bassman (drums/percussion).

The evening featured refreshments and a silent auction that included opportunities to bid on Broadway tickets and backstage tours.

The new 2012 concert builds on the foundation of the popular ASTEP New York City Christmas benefit concerts created by Lynne Shankel (Bare, Altar Boyz, Cry-Baby, Summer of '42, Paper Mill's Once On This Island) and preserved on CD by Ghostlight/Sh-K-Boom. This year, there's a different set of songs and celebrations — plus a few hits from the New York City Christmas album, which will be available for purchase at the event.

For more information about ASTEP visit asteponline.org.

 

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"New York City Christmas: A Benefit Album for ASTEP," on the Sh-K-Boom/Ghostlight label, is a special labor of love created by music director, orchestrator and arranger Lynne Shankel. Over the years, in several venues in Manhattan, she brought together some of the best musicians and singers in the Broadway community, including "American Idol" star Constantine Maroulis, Little Mermaid star Sierra Boggess, and Tony nominees Raul Esparza and Orfeh, plus more. The album is available for purchase through iTunes, Amazon.com, and sh-k-boom.com.

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ASTEP was conceived by Broadway music director Mary-Mitchell Campbell and Juilliard students "to transform the lives of youth using the most powerful tool they had — their art." Today, ASTEP connects performing and visual artists with underserved youth in the U.S. and around the world "to awaken their imaginations, foster critical thinking, and help them break the cycle of poverty."