2014 EIF Revlon Run/Walk

In keeping with the successful re-launch of The Young Professionals of The Actors Fund, we are proud to announce YP’s first volunteer opportunity of the year – the annual Revlon Run/Walk.

Each year, The Actors Fund has a major presence at the Revlon Run/Walk in New York City and in Los Angeles, building a large team of participants and hosting a booth at the finish line. The race was created in 1994 through the committed and collective efforts of the Entertainment Industry Foundation to raise funding for and awareness of women’s cancers. The EIF Revlon Run/Walk for Women has grown to become one of the nation’s largest fundraising events, and to date the annual events have distributed over $70 million for cancer research, treatment, counseling and outreach programs. Thanks in part to these funds, new treatments are being developed and lives are being saved.

In partnership with our participation, EIF donates $55,000 to The Actors Fund’s Phyllis Newman Women’s Health Initiative program. 

The Phyllis Newman Women’s Health Initiative (PNWHI) was created to address the myriad of concerns women face when dealing with a serious medical condition. When women come to The Actors Fund after a serious medical diagnosis they are often overwhelmed with concerns about their ability to work, family issues, managing basic bills as well as medical bills, and coping both physically and mentally with a challenging medical situation.

Last year’s race had over 100 participants in NYC and raised over $22,000. I hope you’ll join me in supporting this as a walker, runner, cheerleader or donor.

Thank you,

Heather

CLICK HERE TO DONATE!

The 2013 Actors Fund Team

The 2013 Actors Fund Team

Young Professionals is Re-launching in 2014!

Are you interested in seeing Matilda?

The Actors Fund Performance is Wednesday, February 12th at 8pm and Young Professionals (YP) members can order $50 tickets! Yours truly is hosting the YP Matilda pre-show reception at the New York Brewing Company which as a member you are invited to attend!!!
Matilda
2014 brings the official re-launch of the Young Professionals of The Actors Fund.  I’ve been appointed the Philanthropy Chair, which means I’ll be heading some fundraising and philanthropy events and really “giving back,” which is something I was hoping this group would turn in to; a community service opportunity, and even better because it’s for OUR community.
The new YP will strive to become a genuine resource for you and your social, professional and philanthropic development. YP will also become a fully integrated part of the overall Actors Fund organization. It’s going to be a great year and we’re so thankful for your continued support.
YOUNG PROFESSIONALS OF THE ACTORS FUND will strive to create a social, professional and philanthropic community of young adults who love and support arts and entertainment. Through diverse events – including performances, receptions, fundraisers and volunteer opportunities – members can connect with other arts enthusiasts and engage as a valued part of The Actors Fund.
Young Professionals will now center on three channels:
  1. SOCIAL – receptions and mixers, as well as casual outings such as trivia nights, to offer a social outlet for like-minded individuals
  2. PROFESSIONAL – networking opportunities, both in person and electronically, that can be used as a resource for members looking to build and grow a career in New York, in any industry
  3. PHILANTHROPIC (THAT’S ME!!!)- volunteer opportunities and fundraisers to allow members the chance to give back, get involved and reinforce the goals and mission of The Actors Fund

If you are interested in becoming a member, there are a few different membership levels. The lowest price is $50 for the year and they move up from there. With membership you’d have access to many Actors Fund Performances, YP pre-show receptions, as well as house seats and free tickets to film screenings.

Thank you again for your support of YP and The Actors Fund. I’m looking forward to an exciting year! CLICK HERE to join TODAY and be my guest for Matilda and the pre-show reception at the New York Brewing Company!!!

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The Jane Games: A Quaint Kick-Off

Check out the pilot for the new web series I am working on called  “The Jane Games” created by my friends Laura Riley and Jennifer Teska! The pilot features Laura Riley, Jennifer Teska, Elizabeth Devlin, Nora GustusonLori Kee, Mary Lane Townsend, Kristie Wortman and yours truly.

I play Dr. Russell, a recreation of “Lady Russell” from the novel Persuasion, who “helps” heroine Anne Elliot make her submission video for the new reality series “The Pursuit of Happiness.” Check out the full submission video below!

As you see the production value is lacking, which works ok for reality show submission videos but for the full series a production team has been hired, but they need your help! CLICK HERE to help bring the full series to life!

Stay tuned here for my future episodes. To watch the full series keep an eye on “The Jane Games” website and/or on “The Jane Games” Facebook page.

Thank you for your support!

At The Tone

I had the pleasure working with New York University student Lydia Bernatovicz on an audio show a few weeks ago and I’m excited to share it with you!

“At The Tone” is about a woman in her early twenties, who is navigating her life around her mother’s birthday. She accidentally left her phone at home, and now is listening to all of the voice mails that were left on her phone during the course of the day. Through the messages we learn more about her and her relationships with her family, friends, coworkers and significant others. I voiced Amanda, Samantha’s strong willed ex-girlfriend who ended the relationship but on reflection is now trying to get back together with Sam.

Thanks for listening!

SPARKLE – An All-Star Holiday Concert

I am having so much fun being a part of The Young Professionals of The Actors Fund! In the past couple months we have really gained some momentum… In October, we hosted The Actors Fund Community Arts Festival, which included a Halloween screening of the cult classic and ultimate “sleepover movie staple” Clue with an amazing talkback with Michael McKean and the director Jonathan Lynn.

Me with Michael McKean, Jonathan Lynn and the members of The Young Professionals of The Actors Fund Advisory Committee

Me with Michael McKean, Jonathan Lynn and the members of The Young Professionals of The Actors Fund Advisory Committee

I am so excited to see where we will go in 2014, in particular with the development of our social, professional and philanthropic sectors. But first, we have one more event to celebrate before the end of the year and it is my pleasure to invite you!

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“SPARKLE: An All-Star Holiday Concert” returns to NYC to help kick off the holiday season for the second year in a row! Featuring an all-star cast of performers from the worlds of Broadway, Television, Film and the music industry, this one night only extravaganza will once again take place at XL Cabaret and benefit the programs and services of The Actors Fund (www.actorsfund.org).

Currently scheduled to perform:

Legendary Tony Award Winner and 4-time Grammy Award Nominee
MELBA MOORE
(Purlie, Hair)

Tony Award Nominee and Emmy Award Winner
LIZ CALLAWAY
(Baby, Miss Saigon)

Tony Award Nominee
CHARL BROWN
(Motown: the musical, Jersey Boys, Sister Act)

Olivier Award & Ovation Award Winner
LESLI MARGHERITA
(Matilda: the musical)

One of the stars of the upcoming film version of “Jersey Boys”
ERICH BERGEN
(Anything Goes)

TITUSS BURGESS
(30 ROCK, The Little Mermaid, Jersey Boys)

RACHELLE RAK
(Abbys Ultimate Dance Competition, Fosse)

TELLY LEUNG
(GLEE, Godspell, RENT)

SHAYNA STEELE
(Hairspray, RENT)

ERIN QUILL
(Avenue Q)

BRANDI MASSEY
(Wicked, The Color Purple, Jekyll & Hyde)

JULIE GARNYE
(Lorna Luft’s Pink Party, the 2013 Academy Awards, Les Miserables & Chicago at the Hollywood Bowl)

KELLY KING
(Winner: 2013 Best International Singer  Viña del Mar International Song Festival  Chile, Billboard Top 20 Recording Artist)

THE GLAMAZONS
(America’s Got Talent)

“Motown: The Musical” cast members
SAYCON SENGBLOG and N’KENGE

plus this year’s celebrity reader of “Twas The Night Before Christmas”

Tony Award Nominee
RICHARD KIND
(Mad About You, Spin City)

and more!!!

The evening will once again be Produced and Hosted by TV Personality Scott Nevins (Bravo’s The People’s Couch, truTV Presents: World’s Dumbest) with Jesse Vargas serving as the shows Music Director and Arranger. The evening is made possible by the generous support from Presenting Sponsors Jim Burba and Bob Hayes.
TICKETS

VIP Tickets: $100 each
(includes premium seating & private post-show Meet & Greet with Cast).

General Admission: $65 each

Standing Room: $30 each
“Sparkle: An All-Star Holiday Concert” benefiting The Actors Fund

Sunday, December 1st 2013

7:30pm (Doors open at 6:30pm)

XL Cabaret  (512 w42nd street  between 10th/11th Aves.)

Drinks and an a la carte menu of food from KTCHN are available at the show.

*Cast is subject to change without notice

About The Actors Fund
The Actors Fund is a national human services organization that helps everyoneperformers and those behind the sceneswho works in performing arts and entertainment, helping more than 12,800 people directly each year, and hundreds of thousands online. Serving professionals in film, theatre, television, music, opera, radio and dance, The Fund’s programs include social services and emergency assistance, health care and insurance, housing, and employment and training services. With offices in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, The Actors Fund hasfor 130 yearsbeen a safety net for those in need, crisis or transition.

 

CLICK HERE to purchase tickets. I hope to see you there!

Photo shoot with Jimmy Allen

I spent a super fun afternoon shooting with my friend Jimmy Allen last week! Check out our favorite pics of the day…

The Wedding Bells

I just finished an awesome class with casting director Katja Blichfield (The Carrie Diaries, 30 Rock, High Maitenance) at Paul Michael’s The Network. She couldn’t have picked a more perfect scene for me to work on and I am so excited to share it with you!

Here I am as “Maria” in a scene from David E. Kelly’s The Wedding Bells.

 

And take 2 of the first half ;-)

And for a little fun, here is a quick under-5 scene I worked on in class our first week!

Mission District Food Tour with Avital Tours

When I take trips home to visit my family in the summer, we often take a driving trip somewhere not too far away. This year we took a few days to drive down to Northern California for some wine tasting in Sonoma County and to spend a day in San Francisco. I’ve been to San Francisco before, so I was looking for “out of the box” ideas for things to do. The idea of doing a food tour was on my list since San Francisco is definitely a foodie destination, in fact San Francisco has the most restaurants per capita in North America (sorry NYC, you’re number 3 behind Victoria, BC… way to go West Coast!)

With only one day in San Francisco I was on the fence about taking a food tour. The idea felt a little bit like I was bringing work on vacation, but after some thought I decided I really do think food tours are a cool thing to do and I do intend to do them in every city I visit when they are available and I really do like my J.O.B.

After a little research I decided on Avital Tours for being the highest ranked food tour in San Francisco on TripAdvisor. I chose their Mission District Tour because I had not visited the neighborhood on my previous visit and it was the furthest from an experience I could have in New York.

Here’s a look of what we got to try and experience. If you are ever visiting San Francisco I highly recommend Avital Tours… and if you’re ever in NYC… you always have a place on my Foods of New York Tour :-)

Classico Reserve from Tumalo Farms and Browning Gold from 5 Spoke Creamery at Mission Cheese

Stop #1: Classico Reserve from Tumalo Farms and Browning Gold from 5 Spoke Creamery and a craft beer at Mission Cheese

San Francsico’s Mission District has the greatest concentration of murals in San Francisco and perhaps in the world. A once “rough neighborhood” the murals were a way to discourage illegal graffiti.

From top down: Women's Building Mural Lexington Street Mural "Vamos Gigantes"

From top down:
Women’s Building Mural
Lexington Street Mural
“Vamos Gigantes”

Mission fig cocktail Greci & Folzani Prosciutto (Italy), rosemary bread, Summerset oyster (Washington) and pickled fruit and vegetables including pickled watermelon rind (very inventive)

Stop #2: Mission fig cocktail
Greci & Folzani Prosciutto (Italy), rosemary bread,
Summerset oyster (Washington) and pickled fruit and vegetables including pickled watermelon rind (very inventive) at Hog and Rocks

I really enjoyed the interactive element of the tour when we got to make empanadas at Stop #3: Venga! Empanadas. BTW, If my mom ever needs to change careers from nursing, she would make an excellent empanada maker… her technique comes from years of baking pies for holidays.

Me with tour guide Zev making empanadas My mom, Ti, making an empanada, my mom's empanada (it was the prettiest one)

Me with tour guide Zev making empanadas
My mom, Ti, making an empanada
my mom’s empanada (it was the prettiest one)

From top to bottom: Argentine beef empanada, Sweet corn empanada, Five pepper empanada

From top to bottom:
Argentine beef empanada,
Sweet corn empanada,
Five pepper empanada

The Mission Dolores is the most important landmark in the neighborhood. Founded in 1776, it is the oldest intact Mission in California and the oldest building in San Francisco.

Mission Dolores

Mission Dolores

Apricot jam with Point Rayes Original Blue cheese, a candy stripe fig Bi-Rite Market

Stop #4: Bi-Rite Market for Apricot jam with Point Rayes Original Blue cheese
a candy stripe fig

We finished it off across the street at Bi-Rite Creamery, where we got to cut the line to try what GQ Magazine names one of the top desserts in the WORLD: the salted caramel ice cream, which was to die for…

Salted caramel ice cream

Salted caramel ice cream

Thank you Avital Tours for an awesome introduction to San Francisco’s Mission District! I can’t wait to visit the neighborhood again on my next visit.

Suggestion: Grand Meadow of the Park

My musical improv team Separate Beds has applied for the upcoming New York Musical Improv Festival (October 17-20 at the Magnet Theater).

Separate Bed

Check out the video we made for our application. If you’ve yet seen me do Musical Improv, here I am in action with some of my favorite people creating a complete 25 minute musical.

And keep your fingers crossed we will be chosen to perform in the festival!

Suggestion: “Grand Meadow of the Park”

Featuring: Jeff Cumberlin, Amanda Mayer, Tobin Mollett, Sarah Nisbett, Michael Short and yours truly.

“Suggestion: Grand Meadow of the Park” from Brad Benson on Vimeo.

Step Into Your Light with Beth Wittig

Last year, I spent 9 months working with health coach Beth Wittig one on one; since health and wellness is a never ending journey I decided to sign up for Beth’s upcoming and inaugural group class “Step Into Your Light: 8-Week Best Body Jumpstart Group Membership Experience.”

Beth Wittig

If you are a lady working in the arts, I would like to invite you to join me for her 8 week program starting on Monday, September 30th.

The class will focus on:

  • Feeling free with food. 
  • Developing an intuitive and pleasurable relationship with your body and food that is easeful. 
  • Feeling full in the other areas of your life; relationships, social-life, self connection and creativity.            
  • Feeling unburdened and weightless. 
  • Feeling slimmer, lighter and like your light is shining. 
  • Feeling on purpose with your life goals. 

Sounds pretty awesome, huh? Registration ends September 23rd and the program is limited to 10 women, so time is of the essence. If you are interested e-mail coach@bethwittig.com or schedule a Breakthrough Session with Beth to learn more. Click here to schedule.

I am such a fan of Beth and can’t wait to hang out with her again in class! She has an awesome personal and down to earth approach.

Testimony for Beth

Click HERE to read the full testimony I wrote for Beth last fall and click HERE to check out Beth’s blog and sign up for her newsletter.

And I hope to see you on September 30th!