Two Broadway stars and one historic theatre combined for a magical autumn evening of song and even a little dance as stage and screen stars Bebe Neuwirth and Malcolm Gets entertained a sold-out audience October 13 at Bucks County Cabaret, a benefit for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.
The evening at the beautifully restored Bucks County Playhouse, which this summer reclaimed its place as the heart of New Hope, PA, after an exhaustive renovation, raised a remarkable $162,100.
Neuwirth and Gets alternated turns at center stage, working their way through an American songbook that included Kander and Ebb, Stephen Sondheim, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Noël Coward and more.
Neuwirth shined as she tapped into songs that helped shape her life and career. She began with a slinky version of “All The Jazz” from Chicago, a role that won Neuwith the second of her two Tony Awards (the first was for Sweet Charity). She sprinkled her set with other Broadway classics and standards, including a moving version of Jerry Jeff Walker’s “Mr. Bojangles,” often gliding into graceful dance poses, giving the audience just a hint of the incredible dancer she is.
“I grew up in New Jersey, just down the road in Princeton, and I never got the chance to perform here at this jewel of a theatre,” Neuwirth told the audience between songs. “So it is a huge, huge honor and kick to finally be able to perform here. And to do it for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS is just wonderful.”
Gets, a Tony Award nominee for Amour, showed his versatility by not only singing, but also taking a turn at the piano for a few songs. He offered the hilarious Hoagy Carmichael ditty “Huggin’ and Chalkin’, which was written by Clancy Hayes, and a medley of Sondheim’s “Another Hundred People” and “So Many People.” He closed his portion of the program with a simple and stirring rendition of “The Sound of Music.”
Neuwirth closed the show with Frank Loesser’s “Slow Boat to China” and a rousing rendition of Kander and Ebb’s “But the World Goes ‘Round,” which launched an enthusiastic standing ovation for both performers.
Neuwirth was accompanied by her music director Scott Cady; Gets was accompanied by music director was Alex Rybeck.
Following the performance, BC/EFA’s favorite auctioneer, Lorna Kelly, led a spirited live auction that included VIP experiences at Broadway Bares, The Book of Mormon and Neuwirth’s upcoming Golden Age at Manhattan Theatre Club, as well as a private in-home concert from Gets.
Neuwirth and Gets were each presented with a handmade Mercer tile, originated by Bucks County native Henry Chapman Mercer whose decorative ceramic tiles cover the Pennsylvania State Capitol. The tiles were given to Neuwith and Gets by entertainment sponsors Greg Kammerer and Fred White.
The evening began with cocktails for all outside the playhouse and concluded with a VIP reception at The Inn at Barley Sheaf Farm.
Bucks County, located about 90 minutes from New York City, has a history of support for those affected by HIV/AIDS. For seven years, the community supported Bucks County Cabaret and Broadway Cares is honored to become the beneficiary of the eighth edition of the spectacularly entertaining evening.
The Bucks County Cabaret Committee was chaired by David R. McShane. Its members were Scott Bass, Drew Desky, Bob Egan, Regan Hofmann, Jay Johnson & Irwin Weiner, Greg Kammerer & Fred White, Louis Licitra, John Moeller Jr., Pamela Morrison, John Rowe & Stephen Noonan, Ken Schaefer, Sam & Happy Shipley, Ron Strouse and David Witchell.