Help is on the Way XXIII: Puttin’ on the Glitz
Herbst Theatre, San Francisco, August 20, 2017
For 23 years now, the Richmond Ermet Aid Foundation has been fundraising to provide much needed services for a host of local service organizations in the Bay Area. This year’s spectacular gala benefitted Meals on Wheels San Francisco and the Positive Resource Center. Always a vibrant mix of classy hors d’oeuvres, silent art auction, concert and after party with the stars, Help is on the Way celebrates the very best of San Francisco philanthropy while supporting the performance arts both local and imported.
Local favorites included jazz vocalist Paula West with her signature tribute to Bob Dylan’s “Rolling Stone”; the always bold and brassy Leanne Borghesi performing a bawdy version of Kander & Ebb’s “Everybody’s Girl” and Jason Brock, three-time winner of the Bay Area’s Best Male Cabaret Singer who sang “The Greatest Love of All”.
In recent years, HIOTW has branched out to include acts like Salsamania, dance artists and world salsa champions; violinists Eileen Blum and Lea Bourgade; and David Engel who replicated Gene Kelley’s famous Singing in the Rain dance routine. Musical Director Michael Orland, most famous for his American Idol stewardship brought along Trent Harmon, season XV winner and Jessica Sanchez (season XI). From Broadway, David Burnham (Wicked, Light in the Piazza), Garrett Clayton (God Looked Away) and Tony winner Levi Kreis (Million Dollar Quartet). Lisa Vroman (Phantom of the Opera) who performed in the very first REAF benefit, recreated her very popular Mirror Medley (“I Feel Pretty”/ “The Jewel Song” (Faust).
Maureen McGovern has become a HIOTW favorite and sang a blues medley that included a lovey “Blues in the Night”. Carole Cook, now a sprite 93 years old, took the audience through her career with Lucille Ball via video clips, performing her ‘hit’ “Hey Look Me Over”. All in all, HIOTW is an important fundraising event for San Francisco and is a critical reminder that the cause continues.