Six Degrees of Marvin Hamlisch - An All Star Celebration was presented yesterday, October 4th at Symphony Space. Produced by Murphy Cross, Paul Kreppel and Bonnie Kole, the starry evening will benefit The Actors Fund and honored longtime Broadway Musical Director and keyboardist Fran Liebergall who is living with MS. Guests who appeared with Mr. Hamlisch included Lucie Arnaz, Kelly Bishop, Liz Callaway, Victor Garber, Lesley Gore, Robert Klein, Priscilla Lopez, Robert LuPone, Donna McKechnie, Donna Murphy, Jack Noseworthy, Donald Pippin, Billy Stritch, Sammy Williams and more. Ron Abel served as the evening's Musical Director. The evening was directed by Ms. Cross & Mr. Kreppel.
The Actors Fund is a national human services organization that helps everyone - performers and those behind the scenes - who works in performing arts and entertainment, helping nearly 12,000 people directly each year, and hundreds of thousands online. Serving professionals in film, theatre, television, music, opera, radio and dance, The Fund's programs include social services and emergency assistance, health care and insurance, housing, and employment and training services. With offices in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, The Actors Fund has - for over 125 years - been a safety net for those in need, crisis or transition. Visit www.actorsfund.org.
Fran Liebergall was subbing as the pianist/musical director for the Off-Broadway production of Godspell at the Promenade Theatre when Marvin Hamlisch saw the show. He immediately asked her to assist him by being rehearsal pianist for a workshop he was doing at Joe Papp's Public Theater. That show was A Chorus Line. That chance meeting was the beginning of a 35 year relationship with Mr. Hamlisch, A Chorus Line and Broadway.
Fran was A Chorus Line's original rehearsal pianist and pit keyboardist and eventually became the Music Supervisor and was involved in ACL auditions and the teaching of all new cast members. Fran has travelled internationally for A Chorus Line and has played at the White House on two occasions. This also began her long association with Michael Bennett which continued on Ballroom, Dreamgirls and Scandal. She was musical supervisor & associate conductor for Mr. Hamlisch's productions of They're Playing Our Song and The Goodbye Girl and was involved in the original workshops of his musicals Smile and Sweet Smell of Success. Many of the artists participating in this all star event are doing so in gratitude to her skills, talents and patience in the early development of those productions.
Fran is currently living with Multiple Sclerosis which for the past several years has limited her abilities to volunteering her time teaching and lecturing, which she enjoys immensely.
BroadwayWorld was on hand for the benefit and brings you photo coverage below.
Photo Credit: Walter McBride