Talkin' Broadway V.J.


Coordinating a cavalcade of benefits and distributing hundreds of stuffed animals to hospitalized "kids of all ages" might sound like a bear, but Ruby Rims wouldn't have it any other way. Rims is the founder of Teddycare, and each year, he puts on fund-raisers featuring cabaret's top singers, such as Tom Andersen, Jeff Harnar, Karen Mason, KT Sullivan and Julie Wilson.

And the cost of admission to cabaret's cuddliest shows? A brand-new teddy bear, a $10 cover and a $10 minimum. Walk into any Teddycare benefit and you'll see dozens and dozens of bears lining the walls and the floors. Ruby collects them all and takes them to New York hospitals; dressed as a bear, he gives the toys away to children with leukemia and cancer, and grownups in AIDS wards and hospices.

In the past nine years, Ruby has passed out more than 5,000 teddy bears, and it's the adults who are especially grateful. He recalls once giving a bear to a prison inmate with AIDS who cried because "no one ever gave me anything." Ruby says, "Imagine how different the world would be if we all gave everybody something."

Ruby is also a multi-MAC Award-winning drag queen, and you might've seen him all dolled up in a recent Adidas TV commercial.

Hosted by Ruby, this year's Teddycare shows will be held Nov. 26, Dec. 3, 10 and 17 at 8 and 11 p.m. at Judy's Chelsea, 169 Eighth Ave., New York City; (212) 929-5410. The proceeds will go to benefit the Village Center for Care. If you can't make the show, but would like to contribute a new teddy bear, send it to:

Ruby Rims
400 W. 43rd St., 10F
New York, NY 10036.

Each Friday show usually features about eight singers, doing two songs a piece. Just to give you a sense of who's performing when, here's an abridged listing:

  • Nov. 26 at 8 p.m. - Judy Kreston, David Lahm, Marta Sanders.

  • Nov. 26 at 11 p.m. - Andre De Shields, Eric Michael Gillett, Sidney Myer.

  • Dec. 3 at 8 p.m. - Tom Andersen, Mary Foster Conklin, Julie Wilson.

  • Dec. 3 at 11 p.m. - Charles Cermele, Rick Crom, KT Sullivan.

  • Dec. 10 at 8 p.m. - Bobby Belfry, David Gurland, Jeff Harnar.

  • Dec. 10 at 11 p.m. - Jack Donahue, Alix Korey, Karen Mason.

  • Dec. 17 at 8 & 11 p.m. - Steven Brinberg as Streisand, Tommy Femia as Judy Garland, Richard Skipper as Carol Channing.

Also for the first time, Teddycare comes to San Francisco on Sundays, Dec. 5, 12 and 19 at 7:30 p.m. at the Plush Room, 940 Sutter St. Willis Moore will produce three shows to benefit Shanti, a Bay Area AIDS organization, and children hospitalized at S.F. General Hospital during the holidays. Admission, once again, is a new teddy bear and $10. (415) 885-2800. And here some highlights:

  • Dec. 5 at 7:30 p.m. - Wesla Whitfield and Mike Greensill, Meg Mackay and Billy Philadelphia, and City Supervisor & mayoral candidate Tom Ammiano.

  • Dec. 12 at 7:30 p.m. - Lina Koutrakos, Danny Williams, Maye Cavallaro.

  • Dec. 19 at 7:30 p.m. - Sharon McNight, Shane Kelly and Ruby Rims.

Our last column featured an interview with Scott Miller about the publication of his new book, Deconstructing Harold Hill, An Insider's Guide to Musical Theatre. Click on the title to read the interview.

See you Monday!

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