On five warm evenings last summer, the Weehawken waterfront was transformed into a outdoor concert venue, with the backdrop of the Manhattan skyline and world-class acts such as Dr. K’s Motown Revue and Terrence Simein and the Zydeco Experience. The concerts, which were part of the annual Summer Concert Series produced by the Hudson River Performing Arts Center (HRPAC), were dynamic, family-friendly, but most importantly, free.
But, like most things in life, the concerts aren’t actually free – they’re paid for by HRPAC itself along with its sponsors, and now they’re asking for your help in guaranteeing that this summer, the concert series is as successful as it was last year. The center will hold its annual gala fundraiser at Weehawken’s Chart House on Saturday, May 11 at 6 p.m., and tickets are still available.
“Our board and our supporters look upon these concerts as a gift to the community and the region,” said Bruce Sherman, HRPAC’s executive director. “Obviously a lot of people can't afford certain entertainment and we bring wonderfully diverse and eclectic acts to the waterfront.”
HRPAC is an arts group that runs concert series and has a long-term goal of someday building a performing arts center on the Weehawken waterfront.
Aside from the obvious importance of raising funds for this summer’s concerts, Sherman said that the gala is also a great way to bring together both sides of HRPAC’s family – not just its benefactors, but also its beneficiaries.
“It’s an opportunity to bring the community together, in terms of bringing corporate sponsors and our patrons together,” he said. “It’s a very fun event that brings everyone together.”
“It’s a very fun event that brings everyone together.” - Bruce Sherman
‘Golden couple of Broadway’
Mazzie and Danieley are married, having met and fell in love on the set of The Trojan Women in 1996. Since then, they’ve become a bit of a power couple in the realm of musical theater, and aside from their stellar solo careers, have appeared together in “Candide,” “Camelot,” and “South Pacific.”
But the gala’s audience won’t have to worry about following a complicated storyline or remembering the names of a large cast. Mazzie and Danieley’s new cabaret, “He Said, She Said,” features the stars as themselves, and tells their own story. From how they met to how they fell in love, from their moments of doubt to their eventual eternal commitments to each other, “He Said, She Said,” is a love story on the most personal level.
But, perhaps more importantly, it’s got one heck of a soundtrack.
“It tells the story of our love story but through songs from the 1930s through the 1950s. They’re all Broadway standards with a swing feel,” said Daniely. “We sort of reshaped the tunes that some people will know but will be hearing them in a different way. Arranged to meet our story.”
Popular tunes in the show include “Too Close for Comfort,” “Cockeyed Optimist,” “Something’s Gotta Give,” “If I Only Had a Brain,” and “Bewitched Bothered and Bewildered.”
Though the show is technically a cabaret, Danieley said he categorizes it slightly differently.
“I guess it could be categorized as cabaret, but I tend to call it a theatrical concert. We tell a very specific story with a beginning middle and end,” he said. “Our evenings are always a story, and this particular one is a romance.”
Mazzie said that she and Danieley are especially excited about performing at the Chart House.
“As I understand it, the room we’re performing in has a really magnificent view of the city,” she said. “It’s always great to do this show with New York in the background, because of the type of Broadway and swing and jazz music in the show.”
Sherman said he is exceedingly excited to host Mazzie and Danieley.
“They give a great show. They’re very warm with the audience, and people love Broadway and cabaret music,” he said. “It’s multi generational in its appeal.”
“It’s really a wonderful event,” said Sherman. “A lot of times people feel obligated to go to these types of galas, but people always seem to really enjoy our benefits.”
Tickets are still available for the gala, and can be purchased at hrpac.org or by calling (201) 430-6881. HRPAC is sponsored in part by The Hudson Reporter.
Dean DeChiaro may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org