Bravo Organizes 'Broadway' Benefit Concert

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Bravo next month will stage a benefit concert to be telecast in March, with an eye toward making it an annual event.

Broadway's Best from Bravo
will be taped on Nov. 12 at Manhattan's Hammerstein Ballroom for telecast during primetime in March, Bravo Networks president Kathleen Dore announced Thursday.

The tribute to Broadway will benefit Bravo's Children's Theater Relief Fund by providing free theater tickets to events across the U.S. The effort will focus on the families of victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist acts.

A tie-in online auction from the concert also will contribute to the fund.

The concert will showcase 15 to 20 music stars performing tunes from a dozen musicals. Bravo senior vice president of programming and production Frances Berwick said they include Jill Scott, who will sing "Summertime" from Porgy & Bess
and Mandy Moore, performing "Adelaide's Lament" from Guys & Dolls.

Others stars on the bill: Shawn Colvin, John Hiatt, Cyndi Lauper, Lee Ann Womack and Trisha Yearwood.

Pfizer Inc. and General Motors Corp. will spend unspecified millions to co-sponsor the two-hour Bravo telecast. The companies, supporting their respective Cool Mint Listerine PocketPaks and Yukon XL Denali brands, will also receive on-site signage and ties to the attendant "Bravo on with the Show" grassroots public-affairs initiative, said Bravo senior vice president of marketing Caroline Bock.

"On with the Show," which began last spring as a way to bring theater education to children via workshops, has already visited half of its planned 20 cities and received operator support.

Cox Communications Inc. Hampton Roads, Va., director of public affairs Irvine Hill said the On with the Show workshop in his town drew 150 students aged 10 to 17 last July.

The system plugged the workshop via cross-channel spots and appearances on local talk shows. "It was the best thing we've ever done," he said, adding the operator would be interested in participating again next year.

Like the network's upcoming "Bravo on Broadway Festival," the concert — billed as "Bravo's biggest original performing-arts special ever" — will be touted with behind-the-scenes vignettes, Bock said, adding that Bravo will "hit the top 25 markets very hard with spot cable, print and radio, and a rich online site."

Elsewhere, Bravo has revamped its promotion for the Nov. 5 through Nov. 10 "Broadway on Bravo Festival," an annual programming stunt that will feature films based on Broadway plays such as Victor/Victoria, Camelot, Hello Dolly, The Music Man
and Gypsy.
The climate was not deemed right for the planned sweepstakes after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, said Bravo executive vice president and general manager Ed Carroll.

Instead, Bravo produced a half-dozen public-service announcements and 50 unscripted vignettes featuring Broadway performers. The two-pronged effort encouraged viewers to "come out and enjoy the theater," Carroll said. The spots all mention the festival's three sponsors: Visa International, Subaru of America Inc. and financial-services firm American Century Companies Inc.

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