By Pamela Price
One Night Only, an annual benefit event of Jewish Family Service of the Desert, pulled out all the stops this year to show donors a fun evening while raising money to ensure at-risk schoolchildren receive counseling to succeed in school, so that homebound seniors are able to maintain their independence through supportive services, and in order for families and individuals to have access to low cost mental health counseling and substance abuse counseling.
Michael Childers, who nearly four years ago offered to produce One Night Only for JFS, brought together dozens of Hollywood and Broadway’s most talented performers April 18 to celebrate the music of the Gershwins.
The event, held at the McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert, was sold out for the fourth year (this was the fifth annual event), filling all 1,110 seats in the house.
The combined commitment of co-chairs Barbara Fromm and Sherry Schor, plus the effort of more than 30 sponsors, helped to raise $170,000 for the programs of JFS.
“Thanks to the efforts of supporters, contributions are making a difference in the lives of more than 2,000 men, women and children who depend on JFS for support,” said Don Levy, president of the JFS board of directors.
Making One Night Only even more remarkable is the fact that performers volunteer their time and talent.
The evening began promptly at 6:30 p.m. with Ron Abel providing the event’s musical direction and signature arrangement. He performed George Gershwin’s Prelude No. 2, setting the stage for Ira Gershwin and George Gershwin’s timeless music, including “’S Wonderful,” “The Man That Got Away” and “Our Love is Here to Stay.” The cast didn’t miss a beat.
“If you love cabaret and Gershwin, America’s great composer, the only place to be in the desert was right here,” wrote Barbara Wisbey after the evening’s conclusion, in the Bottom Line magazine.
“The desert is a like a perfect martini when it comes to entertainment,” wrote Wisbey, who hasn’t missed an event since its inception five years ago. “The applause was unstoppable.”