Three notable Yale a cappella groups will showcase their talents for a good cause at a high-profile AIDS benefit concert in New York City on May 4.
The Whiffenpoofs, the Alley Cats and Whim ‘n Rhythm will perform at an event hosted by actor Nathan Lane, one of the stars of the Broadway smash hit “The Producers” and the voice of Timon in “The Lion King.” In 1994, he won Obie and Drama Desk awards for his portrayal of an HIV-positive patient with a love for music in “Love! Valour! Compassion!”
Andy Sandberg ’05, the show’s producer, said he first tried to contact Yale alumni to host the event but had little success. After landing Lane, he decided that it would be advantageous to have a host from “another realm beyond Yale that would appeal to the New York theater community.”
Sandberg, the business manager of the Alley Cats, first conceived this collaborative engagement in the summer of 2001 as an intern for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, or BC/EFA.
BC/EFA, founded in 1988, is the largest national fund-raising and grant-making organization for AIDS patient care. The parent organization works alongside the American theater community to raise funds and then distributes the money to various charities under their umbrella.
At a similar gala for BC/EFA in fall 2001, the Whiffenpoofs performed with two other Ivy League a cappella groups: Princeton’s Tigertones and Harvard’s Crocodillos. Sandberg said Broadway Cares thought the Whiffenpoofs gave the strongest performance out of the three groups.
“After being tapped into the Alley Cats, I considered how Yale’s most renowned a cappella groups might come together for BC/EFA,” Sandberg said. “This was the beginning of ‘Eli’s Comin’ to Broadway: The Best of Yale A Cappella.'”
In the summer of 2002, Sandberg returned to Broadway Cares as an intern and began arranging a benefit concert that would feature the Whiffenpoofs, Whim ‘n Rhythm and his own Alley Cats.
Kat Kunz ’03, the world tour manager for Whim ‘n Rhythm, said the event will be the biggest benefit concert that they have done.
“Performing at benefit concerts is a great way to give back to the community with the gift of song,” Kunz said. “It’s incredibly meaningful to help support a good cause.”
Sandberg is not new to the double duty of producer and performer. He has produced a number of shows at Yale. When questioned about the meaning of the headline for the benefit concert, “The Best of Yale A Cappella,” Sandberg said it was mostly for publicity’s sake.
Brian Cook ’05 of the Baker’s Dozen, an all-male a cappella group, took issue with the show’s name. He said the headline “is a difficult claim to make, because each group has such different sounds.”
“We’ve sung the national anthem for the L.A. Lakers and performed in the White House in a private concert for the president of the United States,” Cook said. “In fact, we will be making our second trip to the White House at the end of May.”
Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center
Sunday May 4th, 2003 at 8:30PM
“Inner Circle” (Rows A-F Orch.) – $100
General Admission (Rows G-T and Boxes) – $35
Student Tickets (Rows U-Z and Loge) – $15
Tickets can be purchased through:
Center Charge (212-721-6500)
*Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS (212-840-0770)