The ninth annual Night of A Thousand Judys – the Pride concert honoring icon Judy Garland with tributes and songs from her legendary career as a movie star, recording artist, and stage performer – will be presented again this year as an online event, streaming tonight, Thursday, June 24, at 8:00 pm. Produced by Dan Fortune and Adam J. Rosen, the virtual show will benefit The Ali Forney Center, the nation’s largest and most comprehensive agency dedicated to helping LGBTQ homeless youth.
Written and hosted by Justin Sayre (a writer, performer, and fixture of NYC’s downtown cabaret scene), with music direction by pianist, arranger, conductor , singer/songwriter, and ten-time MAC Award winner Tracy Stark, the 2021 concert will feature performances by Alan Cumming (Cabaret; TV’s The Good Wife), Vivian Reed (two-time Tony nominee), Sam Harris (Grease), Mary Testa (three-time Tony nominee), Karen Mason (Sunset Boulevard; Netflix’s Halston), Nathan Lee Graham (Zoolander) Jose Llana (The King & I), Margo Seibert (Octet), Jane Monheit (two-time Grammy-nominated vocalist), Grace McLean (The Great Comet of 1812; Alice by Heart), Kevin Smith Kirkwood (Kinky Boots; The Wiz), Nadia Quinn (Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson), Duchess Trio (Jazz Journalists Association’s Vocal Group of the Year), Gabrielle Stravelli (award-winning vocalist), and Kim David Smith (Joe’s Pub; Club Cumming).
“We’re all getting back to normal, but maybe we can make a new normal,” said Sayre. “A normal where LGBTQIA kids don’t experience homelessness at such a larger rate than most. Maybe our new normal can be better, for these kids. Maybe we can insist that it is. We all had to stay at home this year to be safe. We all deserve a home where they can be safe. That’s what the work, that’s the new normal that The Ali Forney Center is fighting for. We’re all honored to help them creating this new normal.”
Named in honor of the gender-nonconforming teen who fled his home at 13, became an advocate for the safety of homeless LGBT+ youth, and, tragically, was murdered in Harlem in 1997, The Ali Forney Center assists more than 2,000 youths per year through a 24-hour Drop-In Center, located at 321 W. 125th Street. Providing over 70,000 meals annually, medical and mental health services through an on-site clinic, and a scattered site housing program, the AFC’s goal is to give them the support and services needed to escape the streets and to begin to live healthy and independent lives.
In conjunction with the benefit concert is an online auction featuring original images of Judy Garland. For the 5th year, the event team has been collaborating with artists, illustrators, and painters from around world; the 2021 selection of auction lots (with bidding closing on July 7) includes contributed works from Austria, Portugal, The Netherlands, Slovenia, Canada, and the US.
So enjoy the Night of A Thousand Judys, which will be broadcast live, free of charge, and remain online for a month after tonight’s 8:00 premiere (Thursday, June 24), then make a difference by making a bid on a work of art and making a donation to this important cause.