I’m excited to see my longtime friend Rachelle Rak being honored at this year’s Broadway & Ballet HERO Awards.
I’ve known Rachelle, a force of nature, for 30 years. And the LGBT community could not have a more staunch ally 🙂
Via press release:
HIV Experience Resources Organization (HERO) is proud to present the fourth annual Broadway & Ballet HERO Awards on October 16th at 8pm at Stage 48, 605 West 48th Street. This year’s honorees are Broadway star and legend Rachelle Rak, and ABT principal and international ballet star, James Whiteside. Receiving the John Adams HERO Award for best Broadway debut is the star of Wicked, Michael Campayno, and the 2017 HERO Partner Award will be presented to The Jed Foundation (JED) for protecting the emotional health of teens and young adults, helping them grow into healthy thriving adults.
This spectacular event will feature 15 original performances and a cast of over 30 stars from the worlds of Broadway and ballet including: (honorees) Rachelle Rak (Fosse, Sweet Charity, Broadway Hero Awardee), Michael Campayno (Wicked, John Adams HERO Awardee), ABT Principal and International ballet star, James Whiteside (Ballet Hero Awardee), Casey Trenary (ABT Soloist), Michael-Leon Wooley (Little Shop of Horrors, American Buffalo, The Princess and the Frog), Michael Cusumano (All Shook Up, Chicago, American in Paris), Patrick Boyd (Grease, The Wizard of Oz, Gypsy, Touch: A Love Story), Sean Stewart (American Ballet Theatre), Alina Faye (American Ballet Theatre alumni), Jose Sebastian (American Ballet Theatre), Luis Villabon (A Chorus Line), Morgan Stinnett (soloist with Connecticut Ballet, member of Ajkun Ballet Company), Cristy Candler (Rock of Ages, Chicago), Georgina Pazcoguin (New York City Ballet Soloist), Brandon Leffler (Wicked, On The Town, Cinderella), Chris Messina (Jersey Boys, A Bronx Tale), Jesse JP Johnson (Wicked), Neil Starkenberg (Mamma Mia), Travis Nesbitt (Alter Boys), Seeley Stephens (American Idol Finalist), Evan Lacombe (The Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall), Gabrielle Salvatto (Ballet West Demi Soloist), special performances by principal dancers from Ballet West, Olympic Gold Medalist in Gymnastics, Icaurs-Ioannis Melissananidis, The Boy Band Project, the dance department of Pace University with an opening number choreographed by Madeline Rodrigue, and more!
The show will be hosted by Matty Maggiacomo (Television Journalist and Brand Manager of Barry’s Boot Camp), with technical direction from Tommy Mazza, produced by Stephen Leff. Sponsors include; Logo, NewNowNext.com, Biem- Biemteam.com (mobile phone STD care), DRA (Dancers Responding to AIDS), Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, and Hugh Hysell- TheMenEvent.com. Tickets are $25 for General Admission and $100 for VIP Seated and are available at www.hivhero.org.
“Nicknamed “Sas”, Rachelle began her dance training at the age of 2 under the direction of her mother, Rosalene, at the Rosalene Kenneth Professional Dance Studio in Pittsburgh. She is labeled a Triple Threat on Broadway for her immeasurable talent in dance, singing, and acting. Rachelle was presented with an award by Dance Educators of America for her contribution to the world of dance. She has had a huge impact on the Broadway Community. A few of her impressive credits, include leading roles in: “Fosse”, “Sweet Charity”, “Flashdance”, “The Jack Cole Project”, “Chicago”, “A Chorus Line”, “Catch Me If You Can”,” Cats”,” Starlight Express”, “West Side Story”, “Smokey Joe’s Café”, “Trip of Love”, “Thou Shalt Not”,” Oklahoma!”, “The Look of Love”, “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels”, “Sessions”, and “An Evening at the Carlyle.” Choreography credits include Norwegian Cruise Lines, Off Broadway: “An Evening at the Carlyle” and “Sessions”-Additional Choreography, Lifetime: “Dance Moms”, Fringe Festive “Vote the Musical” Benefits: “Broadway Bares”, Concerts: Staging for Cheyenne Jackson-Carnegie Hall. Her One-woman show “I’m In” Le Poisson Rouge, Nightclub shows “The Love Fest”, “Splash Around The World”, “VaVoom,” and web series on Broadway.com” I Love Rak n Roll”.
James Whiteside joined the corps de ballet of Boston Ballet in 2003 and became a second soloist in 2006. He was promoted to first soloist in 2008 and to principal dancer with Boston Ballet in 2009. Whiteside then joined American Ballet Theatre as a Soloist in September 2012 and was named a Principal Dancer in October 2013. Whiteside’s repertoire with Boston Ballet included Principal roles in George Balanchine’s Theme and Variations, Coppélia, Ballo della Regina, Rubies, The Four Temperaments (Sanguinic), Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux, Who Cares?, Serenade, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Symphony in 3, and La Valse; Maina Gielgud’s Giselle; Mikko Nissinen’s The Nutcracker and Swan Lake; John Cranko’s Taming of the Shrew and Romeo and Juliet; Marius Petipa’s The Sleeping Beauty and Raymonda Act III; Antony Tudor’s Dark Elegies; Jirí Kylián’s Bella Figura, Sarabande, Petite Mort and Sechs Tänze; Twyla Tharp’s In the Upper Room; Mark Morris’ Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes. He created roles in Jorma Elo’s Brake the Eyes, Plan to B, Carmen, Slice to Sharper, and In On Blue; Helen Pickett’s Eventide and Etesian; and Mark Morris’ Up & Down. His repertoire with the American Ballet Theatre includes Principal roles in La Bayadere, Cinderella, Le Corsaire, Don Quixote, The Dream, Giselle, The Nutcracker, Raymonda Divertissements, Romeo and Juliet, The Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, Sylvia, The Tempest, and Manon, as well as roles in Bach Partita, Gong, Theme and Variations, Duo Concertant, Fancy Free, Chamber Symphony, Sinfonietta, Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes, In the Upper Room, With A Chance of Rain, and Symphony in C.
A Pittsburgh native and recent graduate of Carnegie Mellon School of Drama, Michael Campayno made his Broadway debut in Wicked in the role of Fiyero. He debuted on television as Rolf in NBC’s live telecast of The Sound of Music starring Carrie Underwood and can be heard on the cast recording. His stage credits include Carnegie Mellon University productions as well as productions at Pittsburgh CLO; he also played Lancelot opposite Robert Sean Leonard in Camelot. Film: Cheerleader.
JED is a nonprofit that exists to protect emotional health and prevent suicide for our nation’s teens and young adults. JED partners with high schools and colleges to strengthen their mental health, substance abuse and suicide prevention programs and systems. JED equips teens and young adults with the skills and knowledge to help themselves and each other and encourages community awareness, understanding, and action for young adult mental health. Learn More at jedfoundation.com
HIV Experience Resources Organization (HERO) is a completely volunteer-based non-profit 501(3)(c) organization founded in 2009 by Michael Cavnaugh, former vice president of Event Presentation at Madison Square Garden. HERO helps people find the most pressing, up-to-date information available critical to their health, including sharing extensive video coverage from current national and international AIDS conferences. HERO’s websites, HIVhero.org and HEROnews.org, provide local, national, and international resources and interactive tools which provide assistance in finding doctors, getting medication, mental health counseling, housing, financial assistance, medical insurance, and much more. It also serves as a portal site providing free content and video production, promoting the services, activities, and fundraising efforts of many community/partner organizations, including red carpet coverage of high profile events and one-on-one interviews. Seen throughout their video archive and messaging, HERO founded the #condomsarehot movement, with the help of stars such as Angela Lansbury, Matt Bomer, Mary Louise-Parker, Rosie Perez, David Hyde Pierce, Bebe Neuwirth, Blythe Danner, and many more to build more awareness for sexual health and STD prevention.