More than $500,000 was raised in support of older foster kids needing permanent families with the help of Broadway and Hollywood heavy-hitters this week at the St. James Theatre, including Tina Fey, Jane Krakowski, Darren Criss, Tituss Burgess, Megan Hilty, Caroline Rhea and many more.
The inaugural event, hosted by Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley with BeachBody.com, supported youth in foster care through You Gotta Believe, New York’s only nonprofit specifically focused on finding permanent families for youth in foster care aged 10 year and older, and the Council on Adoptable Children (COAC).
This one of a kind event raised necessary funds for and awareness about the plight of kids in foster care, particularly those ages 10 to 21 years whom many consider unadoptable because of their age. A new video of the difference that family can make is being launched today as a thank you to the supporters.
The star-studded evening included special performances of “A Song for You” by Tituss Burgess, “Defying Gravity” from Wicked by Eden Espinosa, “Stronger” by Rachel Crow, and “Do Re Mi” from The Sound of Music by Megan Hilty. Composer Marc Shaiman joined Hilty on-stage for a special performance of “Second Hand White Baby Grand” from Bombshell.
The audience erupted in laughter as “30 Rock” and “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” duo Tina Fey and Jane Krakowski took to the stage for a Seth Rudetsky-signature deconstruction of “Don’t Cry Out Loud.” Krakowski sang each lyric as Fey followed up with her interpretation of the meaning.
Another highlight of the evening was a live auction – hosted by Caroline Rhea – to have a personal performance from Darren Criss on stage at the event. After a bidding war between two spirited women that brought the tally up to $11,000, Criss joined Rhea on stage and offered to sing a second song if both of the competing bidders could win. The bidding landed at $15,000 each – for a total of $30,000. One of the winners sent her 7-year-old daughter on-stage to claim the prize, who blushed and giggled as Criss serenaded her with The Carpenters classic “Close to You” and “Teenage Dream” by Katy Perry in front of the packed theater.
Additional performers and supporters for the evening included Lisa Lampanelli, Lilla Crawford, Debra Monk, Andrea Martin, Santino Fontana, Tony Yazbeck, Rachel York, Ruthie Ann Miles, Jennifer Simard, Jose Llana, Christine Pedi, Barrett Foa, Kate Shindle, Howard McGillin, Janice Huff, Antwone Fisher, Charlene Tilton, Tony Shellman and Alec Mapa.
In New York City, there are about 1,300 kids waiting to be adopted right now. There are an additional 700+ kids on the verge of aging out alone — many of whom were deemed ‘unadoptable’ by the system long ago. As each day goes by, they are one day closer to being pushed out onto their own without a family safety net unless an adoption takes place.
Every year nationwide, nearly 25,000 kids age out of foster care in the U.S., left on their own to make it into adulthood without the safety net of a forever family to provide the security and comfort most of us take for granted. As many as 50 percent of kids who age out of foster may experience homelessness and other dire outcomes.
Sponsors for the evening included Jujamcyn Theaters, Something Rotten!, Playbill, Inc., The Knickerbocker, Blue Fin, A+E Networks, Barbara Baekgaard & family, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, Cablevision Systems Corporation, Cyndx, LionTree, Rosie O’Donnell, The Shubert Organization, Time Warner Cable, Jonathan and Lizzie Tisch, Daryl Roth and Burba Hayes.
For more information, visit www.yougottabelieve.org and follow at @AdoptOlderKids.