Covenant House hosts a Night of Broadway Stars
For once, it was all good for the often beleaguered Mayor Vincent Gray.
That hasn’t been the case too often for the mayor, who's been embroiled in controversy almost since he took office. But last week, Gray returned to his roots and was honored for what he accomplished there.
The occasion was “A Night of Broadway Stars” a gala event honoring Covenant House, the international organization which dedicates itself to helping homeless young people find work, homes and hope. It awarded its first “Lizzie” award to Gray, Covenant House Washington’s first executive director from 1995 to 2005.
In the course of Gray’s mayoral campaign, one of the first things you found out about him was how much pride he took in his tenureship of Covenant House. “The importance of Covenant House in my life is hard to overstate,” he said in accepting the award. "I am better for my time at Covenant House… We set out to serve the suffering children of the streets and become a voice on behalf of all young people who are themselves homeless and otherwise at risk.”
It was an occasion for honoring the young people themselves, who recited poetry, sang amid Broadway pros, and were visible evidence of the effect of hope fulfilled.
The event, held at the ARC, a state-of-the-art performance space in the heart of Anacostia and next to Covenant House Washington, was indeed a performance of “A Night of Broadway Stars.” It was a song-filled presentation of musical numbers from enduring Broadway hits like “Phantom of the Opera,” “Les Miserable,” “Chicago” and “Jesus Christ Superstar.”
Broadway composer, lyricist and producer Neil Berg put “A Night of Broadway Stars” together, bringing along performers Robert Dusold, Craig Shulman, Ted Louis Levy, Danny Zolli, as well as Frankie Valli, Roger Cohen, Alan Greene, Natalie Rita Harvey, Capathia Jenkins and others.
The combination of empowering music and empowering setting, along with the presence of young men and women who have been helped by Covenant House provided a bracing dose of optimism, probably and especially for the mayor.
Co-chairs for “A Night of Broadway Stars” were Ms. Linda Mercado Greene, Mrs. Judy Greenberg and Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Miller, and Judith Terra and Mrs. Virginia Williams acted as honorary co-chairs.