When her mother was diagnosed with leukemia in 1989, artist/designer Jane Elissa created an endowment fund for leukemia/lymphoma and cancer research, along with a star-studded fundraiser to support it. She also launched Hats for Health, a collection of her unique handmade creations that have become best-sellers around the world, donating a percentage of sales to the important cause. On Monday, October 23, the 33rd Annual Jane Elissa Extravaganza returns to the Skylight Room on the 16th floor of the Times Square Marriott Marquis Hotel for an evening of performances, special honors and recognitions, live and silent auctions, raffles, and a selection of items for sale in the Jane Elissa Mini Boutique.
Hosted by Tony-winning producer Dale Badway (the Broadway revival of Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess) and TV soap-opera favorite Walt Willey (All My Children; General Hospital), with Max Greenberg serving as Creative Director, the fundraising event will feature Nick Fradiani (A Beautiful Noise: The Neil Diamond Musical) as this year’s “Breakout Shining Star,” special performances by Broadway’s Sean McDermott (Miss Saigon; Falsettos; Grease) and international actor Gian Marco Schiaretti (Notre Dame de Paris), and additional performances by Kristen Alderson (Annie; The Marvelous Wonderettes), Taylor Crousore (A Musical About Star Wars; NEWSical The Musical!), Max Sangerman (A Beautiful Noise), The Boy Band Project, singer Chris Pinnella, and more performers and celebrities to be announced.
The program will also honor the late star of General Hospital, Jackie Zeman – best known for her portrayal of the character Bobbie Spencer for 45 years – who died on May 9, at the age of 70, after a short battle with cancer. Zeman was a close friend of Jane Elissa and a long-time supporter of the fundraiser; her talent, presence, and commitment will be deeply missed but not forgotten.
Jane told me that she’s “proud to be able to create this event and share the wonderful talents of the Broadway and daytime stars who are committed to raising money for charitable causes.” If you’d like to meet the stars, enjoy the show, and bid on an array of original treasures in an intimate setting while contributing to a very worthy cause, be sure to mark your calendar for this year’s benefit. You, too, can make a difference in the fight against cancer.
The 33rd Annual Jane Elissa Extravaganza plays on Monday, October 23, 2023, at 7:30 pm (doors open at 6:45), at the Times Square Marriott Marquis Hotel, Skylight Room, 1535 Broadway, 16th floor, NYC. For tickets (priced at $95- 1000), or to make a donation, go online.