"A Night of Music"
Special One-Night Event At Birdland October 10

By Rob Lester

Also see Rob's article on Maude Maggart and Martha Lorin

Max von Essen
Once again, the tireless Jim Caruso is bringing an entertainment-stuffed evening to Birdland. On Monday, October 10, A Night of Music will precede the weekly "Cast Party" variety show. Christopher Sieber will appear on his day off from Spamalot as will theater star Max Von Essen, whose fast-moving career's most recent stops have included The Baker's Wife and Umbrellas of Cherbourg. California duo Jason and DeMarco will be their with their uplifting pop. Local cabaret performer performer David Gurland also is aboard, as are Dave Eggar and Noah Heldman.

The musical cross-section will raise money for a worthy charity. The Matthew Shepard Foundation, honoring the young gay man whose hate crime death in 1998 touched so many, will be the beneficiary. This is the third annual fundraiser for their educational outreach to promote tolerance. Randi Driscoll, Advisory Board Member of the Foundation says, "It's a night of music to celebrate and further the Foundation's work." Singer-songwriter Randi will also be onstage to sing "What Matters," which she wrote in response to the tragic loss of the 21-year-old in Laramie, Wyoming; the song was featured in the NBC-TV movie about the incident and will be available for sale as a CD single. Randi has performed the piece at many events all over the country for years now, employing it to raise consciousness and funds.

A mission of the organization is to raise children's awareness about bullying and hate speech via such projects as a new book promoting unconditional acceptance of others, knowing that attitudes of intolerance are instilled in the very young - and that's where there is tremendous potential for positive change. "We want to spread the word about the Foundation," Randi said of this third annual event. "Jim Caruso has been so helpful. We're so happy we can be at Birdland this year."

She wants to make sure people know the night is all about good music. "You get some show tunes, a few ballads ... It's a chance to see entertainers in a more intimate setting."

Tickets for the 7pm show are available for $25, $50 and $100. (A $10 food or drink minimum applies.) Advance tickets can be purchased at www.birdlandjazz.com. Birdland is located on West 44th Street, west of Eighth Avenue.

For more information on the Matthew Shepard Foundation, visit matthewshepard.org.

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