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Legacy Stories from Those Making a Difference Now and for the Future

 

 
Joining the Colleen Dewhurst Legacy Society is a deeply personal way to ensure that the values that mean so much to you in your lifetime extend far into the future. We’re sharing some legacy stories with you in the hope that they will inspire you to share yours. Our first is from Amy Rosenthal.

Legacy Joy

I’m watching the opening number from the 2015 Gypsy of the Year. The line taps in perfect unison but for the first 30 seconds they’re only visible from the knees down. Before the curtain even goes up the rest of the way, a smile gets planted on my face where it will stay for the next seven minutes. The curtain rises, the story unfolds and my heart is about to burst as the dancing becomes more exuberant and joyful. When the “stage manager,” at first awkward, joins the line and lets it rip during “Shut Up and Dance,” his entire body lights up with surprise and jubilation and triumph. And at the end of the number I am laughing out loud and clapping and crying.

I’m crying because those dancers are giving their all for me. I’m crying because their joy is contagious. I’m crying because I’m flooded with more than 50 years of memories since seeing my first Broadway show.

I’m a member of the Angels Circle and the Colleen Dewhurst Legacy Society. So you might call me a “supporter” of Broadway Cares. But I’m more than that. Broadway is in my DNA. And Broadway Cares is part of who I am.

When I was 8 years old my parents took my brother and me to our first Broadway musical – the original How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. Can you even imagine seeing such a big show when you’re a little girl? I was so lucky. My parents would take us to a show every year and it was the best adventure ever: a trip on the Long Island Railroad, a fancy lunch at a restaurant in the theater district (wow!) and then A SHOW. Always an amazing show with big bright scenery, wonderful music, the most fabulous singers and dancers! Oh my god, the dancers! How they moved, so graceful and joyful and in perfect unison. My little girl heart could barely contain it all.

As I grew up, I grew into the theater. My mom had become the historian and archivist for the Actors Equity Gypsy Robe and my aunt (her sister) was a theatrical agent. So I got more than a glimpse backstage. I became immersed in theater. When I was old enough to earn my own money and head into the city, I discovered TKTS. After my first year of college I got a good summer job and every Saturday I took the train in to see whatever musicals and plays were on the board.

Eventually, my work took me out to Minneapolis. Although the touring productions are sensational today, they certainly weren’t 30 years ago. So I’d fly home for long theater weekends and my mom and I would see four shows in three days. That’s when she introduced me to Broadway Cares. Mom was an enthusiastic supporter and a red ribbon ambassador. She taught me all about the wearing of the ribbon and the red buckets and the Christmas catalog. I discovered the Broadway Flea Market & Grand Auction, where I bid on actual stage props from The Phantom of the Opera and a backstage photo op with The Phantom. (I still have the props and pics!)

My aunt had clients in several shows and she fed my passion. In 1994 she and mom and I went to London for a theater binge, seeing seven shows in seven days. Among them Phantom, Miss Saigon, and Sunset Boulevard. The trip of a lifetime!

I mailed Broadway Cares holiday cards, bought snow globes and hats and got the autographed posters with my red bucket donations. And then I proudly and happily joined the Angels Circle. I introduced a friend to Broadway Cares, and HE joined the Angels Circle. We’d fly in together for Gypsy of the Year or Easter Bonnet Competition – sometimes both. I started using Care-Tix to make my trips back home especially meaningful – great seats to a show AND a donation to Broadway Cares. What could be better than that?

I’ve enjoyed giving in creative ways. When Something Rotten! came to Minneapolis, a big donation to Broadway Cares got you a backstage tour plus Q&A and pics with Rob McClure. When Hamilton toured, tickets were hard to come by. But as a season subscriber here in Minneapolis I was entitled to purchase one extra pair. I told my friends and auctioned off that pair to the highest bidder. That money went to Broadway Cares.

And I followed my heart and wrote Broadway Cares into my estate planning. That was easy. Family. Friends. Charity. That’s whom you take care of. They’re not just words in a legal document. They’re feelings and emotions and love. They express who I am now. And how I’ll be remembered after I’m gone.

It all comes down to joy. Some days you might feel like you need to dig a little deeper to tap that joy, but it’s there in your heart. Just like that awkward stage manager. He’s finding his footing and then he kicks it into high gear. Kaboom! A joy explosion! You’ll capture that feeling when you make a legacy commitment to Broadway Cares. Hey, you already know the real joy is in the giving. So kick it into high gear and make it last a lifetime.

– Amy Rosenthal
March 2021
 

 
Please email Nick Mayo mayo@broadwaycares.org to share your legacy story.