Only Make Believe, the non-profit organization that brings laughter and imagination to children suffering from chronic illnesses and disabilities in New York City and D.C., hosted their 13th annual Make Believe On Broadway gala on Monday, Nov. 5th, to great success! The funds raised during the gala will allow Only Make Believe to provide 600 shows with more than 6,000 children in the NYC and D.C. areas! Christopher Meloni hosted the event with honorees being Sir Ian McKellen, Guy Chiarello, and Petra Nemcova. It was quite the night full of performances by Matthew Broderick, The New York Gay Men’s Chorus, Broadway Kids Care, Ashley Brown (the original Mary Poppins), Seth Rudetsky, just to name a few. The night ended with Nemcova attempting to teach Meloni how to walk down a catwalk while wearing heals, right before the cast of Memphis performed a mash-up of Jersey Boy’s songs! To check out photos from the gala, please visit: http://on.fb.me/SqP3l7
Since 1999, Only Make Believe has brought interactive theater performed by professional actors to over 25,000 children and families in 50 hospitals in the New York tri-state area. With celebrity support from Jude Law, Mike Myers, Sir Ian McKellen, Julia Stiles, Rachel Weisz, Alan Cumming, Kathie Lee Gifford and more, Only Make Believe has brought joy and hope to the hearts of families and children facing hard times.
Dena Hammerstein founded the non-profit Only Make Believe in 1999 in memory of her late husband, Broadway producer and director James Hammerstein, son of Oscar Hammerstein part of the legendary musical writing and composing duo Rodgers and Hammerstein. The organization was created to bring live interactive theater free-of-charge to children living with chronic illnesses and disabilities. Only Make Believe provides one-hour shows performed by teams of professional actors, once a week for six weeks, free-of-charge to hospitals and other medical institutions. In only 13 years, this organization has expanded from performing at just one hospital for 100 children to reaching over 25,000 children in 50 hospitals and now being represented in three hospitals in the Washington D.C area.
Only Make Believe’s interactive live performances encourage children to participate and perform alongside actors, transporting them from a hospital to the enchanting world of make believe. Director of Child Life at New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center explained, “It was truly wonderful to see the patients clapping, singing and dancing to the music when often times we just see them lying in bed.” While Only Make Believe does wonders to help bring happiness to the lives of children suffering from chronic illness and disease, it also helps to bring joy back into the hearts of parents. One parent explained, “After each play, I feel like a new person who’s ready to face life. This show helps me gain my sense of humor again.” For children and their families, Only Make Believe strives to uphold the principle that freeing a child’s imagination is a valuable part of the healing process.
For more information, please visit: www.OnlyMakeBelieve.org