July 30 , 2006

Nob Hill Masonic Center
San Francisco

CAST DETAILS

   
     

 

PERFORMERS

Susan Anton

Mary Jo Catlett

Carole Cook

Tyne Daly

Franc D'Ambrosio

Deborah Gibson

Tim Hockenberry

Leslie Jordan

Jordan Knight

Melody Lacayanga

Lorenzo Lamas

Nick Lazzarini

Michele Lee

Kimberley Locke

La Toya London

Jon Maher

Valarie Pettiford

Anne Runolfsson

Bruce Vilanch

Paula West

Ron Abel
Musical Director

David Galligan
Director

 

SUSAN ANTON

Lucie ArnazIt was over 30 years ago that Susan Anton first burst into public consciousness and, ever since she has been captivating theater, television, and film-going audiences with an ingratiating style and easy charm that is found among only a handful of performers. Her five and a half year tenure in Las Vegas as Special Guest Star with the Great Radio City Music Hall Spectacular and its renowned Rockettes, preceded by a 2 year U.S. national tour of the same production, makes her not only one of the most popular and glamorous stars on the Las Vegas Strip, but a true veteran of the theatre. During time off from the Radio City show, Susan headlined her own one woman show to sold-out audiences for two months at the prestigious Desert Inn Hotel and brought back to Las Vegas a type of entertainment rarely found there today.

Far removed from the glamour and lights of Las Vegas, however, was Susan’s early life…a life that bore more than just a slight resemblance to television’s Walton’s. The daughter of a police detective and the eldest of five children, Susan was raised in the small town of Oak Glenn, California on an apple ranch. Susan attended high school in the neighboring valley of Yucaipa. And, it was there, that her life began to change dramatically. On a dare from her high school boyfriend, she entered the Miss Redlands beauty contest. Entranced with the charisma of such performers as Doris Day, Susan Hayward, and Ginger Rogers, Susan elected to sing the torch song, “Since I Fell for You.” The powerful performance, aside from her intellect and obvious beauty, left the judges with no decision other than to award her the Redlands title. Susan continued her success in pageants by winning the Miss California crown in 1969 and went on to become second runner-up to Miss America in 1970

Susan appeared in numerous television commercials as the Muriel Girl. Her co-stars in those spots often included other budding stars such as Treat Williams and Tom Selleck. The campaign, hugely popular with the American public, was the catalyst for many appearances on the Las Vegas Strip, the first in which she headlined a production called “Turn it On” with French heartthrob Jean-Paul Vignon at the Hacienda Hotel. From that point forward, she appeared frequently on “The Merv Griffin Show” and quickly became one of Merv’s favorite guests. Susan’s appearances on Merv placed her firmly in the national spotlight and served as a launching pad for her transition into theater, films and television.

Susan made her Broadway debut by replacing Candice Bergen in David Rabe’s Tony nominated play “Hurleyburly,” directed by Mike Nichols. The show not only featured Susan, but a cast of both established stars and newcomers, including Danny Aiello, Kevin Spacey, and Frank Langella. Preceding “Hurleyburly,” she starred in the U.S. national touring company of the Neil Simon/Marvin Hamlisch musical “They’re Playing Our Song” and toured the U.S. with Elizabeth Ashley in “A Couple of White Chicks Sitting Around Talking”. She returned to Broadway in 1991 to co-star with Keith Carridine and the original Broadway cast of Tommy Tune’s Tony award winning musical “The Will Rogers Follies.”

Susan returned to the stage when she starred in Eve Ensler’s “The Vagina Monologues” at the Alcazar Theatre in San Francisco (June 2001), the Canon and Coronet Theatres in Los Angeles (August 2001) and the Cashman Center Theatre in Las Vegas (October 2002). She continues to perform in Las Vegas and around the country annually.

Susan first emerged on the big screen in the film “Goldengirl,” and went on to appear in such other films as “Making Mr. Right” (with John Malkovich), “Cannonball Run II” (with Shirley MacLaine and Burt Reynolds) and “New Jersey Turnpikes” (with Kelsey Grammer). And, as she has in every other medium, Susan has been a significant star on the small screen. For three seasons, she was part of the cast of the world’s most popular television series “Baywatch” playing the role of Jackie Quinn. She starred in the international series “Sail Away with Susan Anton”, as well as The Travel Channel’s “Las Vegas!” produced by Susan and her husband, Jeff Lester. She also hosted “Perfect Buns”, one of the most prominent exercise infomercials on television.
Susan’s other television credits include the Warner Brother’s series “Nick Freno, Licensed Teacher;” NBC’s “City Guys;” the critically acclaimed Steven Bochco series “Civil Wars;” as well as “Quantum Leap,” “Night Court,” and “Murder She Wrote.” She starred in ABC’s “Cliffhangers” as well as her own variety show on NBC, “Presenting Susan Anton.” She has displayed her comic abilities on Gary Shandling’s “Larry Sanders Show,” “The Ben Stiller Show” and “Blossom.” This is Susan’s first appearance in a “Help is on the Way” production.
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MARY JO CATLETT

Mary Jo CatlettA versatile actress and comedienne, Ms. Catlett's career has spanned film, television, Broadway and regional theater. Her film credits include "Serial Mom," "The Champ", "Best Little Whorehouse in Texas," "O'Hara's Wife" and "Semi-Tough." On television, she was nominated for an Emmy for her role as Mary Finnegan on "General Hospital", was a regular on "Diff'rent Strokes", and appeared in such shows as "Murder She Wrote," "MASH," "Mr. Belvedere," "Bob Newhart," "Night Court," "Matlock," "Gimme a Break," "Saved by the Bell", "Fantasy Island", "Maude", and "Kojak". On Broadway, Ms. Catlett was the original Ernestina in "Hello Dolly!", played Mabel in "Pajama Game," and appeared in "Canterbury Tales," "Lysistrata" with Melina Mercouri, "Fashion", "Different Times" (as six different characters), "Promenade", "Play Me a Country Song", and "Something's Afoot." In regional theater, Mary Jo appeared as Madame de la Grand Bouche in "Beauty and the Beast," as Lotte in "Lettice and Lovage", Lola in "Come Back Little Sheba" (for which she won a LA Drama Critics Award), Mama Rose in "Gypsy," Mother Superior in "Nunsense", Madge in "Philadelphia Here I Come" (another LA Drama Critics Award), Annie in "Annie Get Your Gun," and with Robert Morse in "How to Succeed in Business." Audiences may also recognize her from her over 30 national commercials. Ms. Catlett’s most recent role was that of Mrs. Puff in “Spongebob Square Pants.” This is her seventh appearance in "Help is on the Way."
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CAROLE COOK

Carole Cook
Carole created the role of Maggie Jones in the New York, Los Angeles and Tokyo companies of Michael Stewart and Mark Bramble's Tony Award winning musical, "42nd Street," and originated the role of Blanche Daly in Bernard Slade's Broadway hit, "Romantic Comedy." She was the first actress in the world to follow Carol Channing in "Hello, Dolly!," playing the role for two years in Australia and New Zealand. She also has the distinction of being the only actress to have played the title role in major productions of "Auntie Mame" and the musical version, "Mame." She co-starred in the Los Angeles and national companies of Oliver Hailey's "Father's Day," for which she received a Los Angeles Drama Critic's Circle nomination as Best Actress. She later went on to star in the Australian production of that play. She won Best Actress Awards in Los Angeles for George Furth's "The Supporting Cast," Jack Hefner's "Patio/Porch" and James Golman's "The Lion in Winter" directed by David Galligan at the Pasadena Playhouse and co-starring her husband of 37 years, Tom Troupe. In Elliot Martin's highly successful national tour of Robert Harling's "Steel Magnolias," Carole played the irascible "Quiser" for which she received a 1990 Helen Hayes Theatre Award. She has starred in many musicals including "Stop The World, I Want to Get Off," "Annie Get Your Gun," "Kismet," "Anything Goes," "Call Me Madam" and a few seasons ago starred in the New York production of "Radio Gals." She more recently appeared opposite Julie Harris in a hit revival of "Ladies in Retirement." Ms. Cook once again played "Dolly!" in Birmingham, Alabama's SummerFest Celebration and reprised the role in Oklahoma City in October.

Ms. Cook's feature films include: "The Incredible Mr. Limpet," "Palm Springs Weekend," "The Gauntlet," "American Gigolo", "Sixteen Candles," "Fast Money," "Grandview U.S.A.," "Summer Lovers," "Lost & Found" and she is the voice of Pearl in the animated Disney film, "Sweating Bullets." On television, Carole was Donna La Mar in "Cagney & Lacy," Cora in "Dynasty," a regular on the "Merv Griffin Show" and has guest starred on most major television series. She has toured extensively in her highly acclaimed one-woman show, "Dress Up." Lucille Ball who put her under contract to Desilu and changed her name from Mildred Frances to Carole, after Lucy’s friend, Carole Lombard, brought Carole to Hollywood. In 1995, Carole received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Baylor University. For the past 18 years she has been deeply involved in the fight against AIDS starring each of those years in David Galligan's S.T.A.G.E. Benefit in Los Angeles. This is her ninth appearance in "Help is on the Way."
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TYNE DALY

Spencer DayMs. Daly has won six Emmy Awards, has been nominated for fourteen and is one of the industry’s most acclaimed and respected actors. She received for Emmys as outstanding lead actress in a Drama Series for her role in “Cagney and Lacey” on CBS television, a fifth Emmy for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her performance in “Christy,” also on CBS. Her sixth Emmy was for Best Supporting Actress in a Drams in 2003 for her role in “Judging Amy,” appearing opposite Amy Brenneman, a role she also earned a 2001 and 1003 Screen Actors Guild Award nominations for, and five Emmy nominations before winning for an unprecedented sixth time.

Tyne’s other extensive television credits include starring roles in numerous movies including four Cagney and Lacey films, “The Perfect Mother,” “Kids Like These,” as well as “Intimate Strangers” for which she received an Emmy nomination, “The Entertainer,” “Larry” and “Bye Bye Birdie.” She has guest starred in many television series and starred in the CBS movie “The Wedding Dress.”

On Broadway, Ms. Daly has appeared in numerous productions including “Gypsy” for which she won Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards, and “Mystery School” for which she received a nomination from the Outer Critics Circle for Best Solo Performance. She also won a DramaLogue Award for her performance in a Los Angels production of “Come Back, Little Sheba.” Her feature film credits include “John and Mary,” “Zoot Suit,” “The Enforcer,” “Telefon,” he Aviator,” “Movers and Shakers” and “The Simian Line.” This is Ms. Daly’s second appearance in a “Help is on the Way” production. TOP



FRANC D'AMBROSIO

Spencer DayFranc most recently starred in the touring production of Barry Manilow’s "Copacabana." Prior to that he starred in the San Francisco production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Tony Award winning musical "The Phantom of the Opera. He can be recognized as Al Pacino's opera singing son, Anthony Corleone, in "Godfather III."

Franc's recording credits include the soundtrack to "Godfather III," a CD released by Cabana Boy Records entitled "Christmas Center Stage" benefiting Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and the Taylor Family Foundation. Franc’s performance on this recording earned him a Grammy consideration for “Best Vocal Performance by an Artist” in the classical category. His theater credits include the 1989 Broadway revival of Stephen Sondheim’s "Sweeney Todd," the off-Broadway productions of "Kismet" and "She Loves Me," as well as "A Little Night Music" at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles.

Television appearances include: "Live With Regis and Kathy Lee," "The Joan Rivers Show," "MTV Spotlight," and "Entertainment Tonight." He can be seen in the BBC's "Kurt Weill in Amerika." Franc can be seen and heard singing in Brian Boitano’s "Holiday Skating Spectacular." The Olympic Gold Medal skater also commissioned Franc to sing a new rendition of “Shannendoh/They Call the Wind Mariah” for his 1998 season. Sports fans have heard Franc sing the National Anthem at the Oakland A’s games, the Giants’ season opener, and the San Francisco 49ers. He also sang at the inauguration for San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown. Franc’s vocal talents attracted the attention of Luciano Pavarotti, which led to a personal invitation by the world famous tenor to sing for, and work with him, in his home in Italy. This is Fanc’s seventh appearance in a "Help is on the Way" production. TOP


DEBORAH GIBSON

Spencer Day Deborah Ann Gibson was born in Brooklyn, USA. One of four girls born to Joseph and Diane Gibson. The Gibsons wanted to afford the opportunities to their children not presented to them while growing up. So among many other things they gave all of their children was classical music instruction. At the very early age of four it was obvious to family and friends just the type of music prodigy she was. It didn’t take much time for everyone she came in contact with to realize just the type of tremendous force they were encountering. Over the years the world became aware that Deborah had grown to be a multitalented influence in the entertainment industry.

The "Original Pop Princess" Deborah exploded on to the pop music scene at the age of 16. An entertainment prodigy, Deborah became the youngest person ever to write, produce, and perform the number one single, "Foolish Beat”, a record she holds to this day in the Guinness Book of World Records. Among Deborah’s many impressive career achievements include her album Electric Youth which soared to #1 on the pop charts and her #1 hit single "Lost In Your Eyes". Over the past decade and a half, Deborah has had many album releases to both critical, and popular success some of these include 1990's Anything is Possible, 1993's Body Mind Soul, 1995's Think With Your Heart, 1997's Deborah, and 2001's "M.Y.O.B.”, and her most recent release, 2003’s Colored Lights a collection of songs from various musicals. Deborah has sold over 16 million albums world wide.

In 1992 Deborah set her sights on the theater. She immediately landed the role "Eponine" in the Broadway Production of Les Misérables to rave reviews. Upon completion of her run on Broadway she turned to London's West End, breaking Box Office records in the London Production of "Grease" as Sandy. She returned to the U.S. to the national touring companies of Grease and Funny Girl as "Rizzo", and "Fanny Brice" respectively. Deborah triumphantly returned to the Broadway stage as ”Belle", in Beauty and The Beast, followed by the role of “the Narrator" in Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, then taking the leading role in the Broadway production of Rogers and Hammerstein's "Cinderella".

Being incredibly versatile, in October 2002, Deborah again graced the stage as "Velma Kelly" in Chicago, the temptress of prison row showing the world a completely new side to Deborah. Her favorite and most ambitious role to date was "Sally Bowles" in the Tony Award Winning revival of Cabaret at Studio 54, “Deborah portrays Sally with Gritty Gusto, Verve, and Self Possessed Ease". (Billboard magazine). Certainly her most challenging, and vampish performance to date.

Most recently Deborah has been concentrating on television and composing. She was seen on Fox's “Skating With Celebrities” with Kurt Browning. She is also the composer and lyricist on two new musicals in pre-production for Broadway. "Skirts", written by Hillary Carlip and Katie Ford, and "The Flunky", written by Jimmy Van Patten. Deborah looks forward to seeing both productions on the Broadway stage in the near future. She is currently recording a new CD to be released soon.

Among Deborah’s many philanthropic activities, she founded the Pustizzi Alzheimer's foundation in honor of her late Grandfather Albert Pustizzi. Additionally, Deborah lends her tireless efforts to numerous children's charities including the T.J. Martell Foundation, the Make a Wish Foundation, Pediatric AIDS. Deborah often performs benefit concerts to raise both money and awareness for these and various other charitable organizations. This is Deborah’s 1st appearance in a “Help is on the Way Production.” TOP


TIM HOCKENBERRY

Jill & MichaelTim Hockenberry, a musician who has been referred to as "one of the best singers in the Bay Area...," moved West in 1990 and began performing as a jazz and R&B vocalist. While he predominately performs in both public and private venues, Tim also works for numerous advertising agencies both as a commercial singer and music producer. He has performed and/or produced commercial music for numerous clients including Wal-Mart, Time Magazine, Subway, Kawasaki, The Kirstie Alley show, 'Fat Actress', Fantasy Springs Casino, the NFL Network, The Oakland A's, and KC Masterpiece, as well as original music scores for numerous independent films.
In 2004 he released two original songs on a recording featuring Bob Dylan's music entitled 'Mostly Dylan' along with supporting musicians including Bonnie Raitt, George Marinelli, and Ricki Fatar. Also in 2004, Tim recorded a holiday single entitled 'Christmas By The Bay' with composers Nolan Gasser and Clark Sterling. The song enjoys major radio airplay on over three hundred radio stations throughout the country during the holiday season.

He is currently signed as an artist with Warner Brothers' independent label, About Records, and is due to release his first recording with them in early 2007. This is Tim's fourth appearance in a "Help on the Way" production. TOP


LESLIE JORDAN

Jill & MichaelIn 1982, Leslie Jordan stepped off a Greyhound bus from the hills of Tennessee, said “hello” to Hollywood and has never looked back. With hundreds of television shows, films and commercials to his credit, he has become a familiar face on the entertainment scene. Audiences will recognize him from his performance as “Brother Boy” in the feature film version of Del Shores’ adaptation of his play “Sordid Lives’” with Olivia Newton-John, Delta Burke and Beau Bridges. In addition to numerous guest starring appearances on television, he can be seen in recurring roles on “Boston Legal,” “Will and Grace,” and “Reba,” and he starred in the ABC Family movie “Chasing Christmas,” this past holiday season.

On stage, Mr. Jordan won the Ovation Award, The Garland Award and The Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award for his portrayal of “Preston Leroy,” the aging, sodden barfly in Del Shores hit play “Southern Baptist Sissies.” He will reprise that role in repertory with the role of “Brother Boy “ in “Sordid Lives” at the Zephyr Theater in Los Angeles in early 2006. His autobiographical one-man show “Like a Dog on Linoleum” ran for six months at the Elephant Asylum in Los Angeles, at the Bailiwick Theater in Chicago, and this spring will be returning to the 14th Street Playhouse in Atlanta, and just completed a successful run in San Francisco.

Mr. Jordan has also enjoyed considerable success as a writer. His play “Hysterical Blindness and other Southern Tragedies that have Plagued My Life thus Far” ran to sold-out houses in Los Angeles and had a successful seven month run Off-Broadway at the Playhouse on Van Dam in New York. His screenplay “Lost in the Pershing Point Hotel” won the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival’s Production Grant Award, winning the competition from over 600 other scripts. Subsequently, it was made into an independent film that is currently being distributed by Northern Arts Entertainment. This is Leslie’s fourth appearance in a “Help is on the Way” production. TOP


JORDAN KNIGHT

Jill & Michael
Maybe the idea of Jordan Knight singing love songs seems like old news – after all, his voice has adorned some of the most romantic material on record, whether on the classic hits of New Kids on the Block or on the solo CDs that has established him as a star in his own right. Even so, Love Songs is the perfect title for his new Trans Continental Records/Element 1 album, with distribution partner EMI, for more than one reason. First of all, this collection consists of nothing but songs about love. The music reflects this message, from the yearning of its first single, “Where Is Your Heart Tonight,” to the whispered intimacy he brings to the Phil Collins classic, “One More Night.” More than that, Love Songs draws deep from the well of experience. More than just a pop phenomenon, Jordan has grown through family life and fatherhood to appreciate the richness of love. And with that, his artistry has more than risen to the test of conveying this through music.

Of course, the promise has always been there, from his first taste of fame in the late eighties. The expressiveness, urgency, and technique he brought to singing on “Step by Step,” “I’ll Be Loving You (Forever),” and “You Got It (The Right Stuff” established him immediately as an exceptional singer and entertainer. But there was potential in these performances too. With each year it became clearer as his recordings and concerts broadened their emotional range. Learning the lessons that all great singers learn over time, and adding to that a new understanding of what love really means, made Love Songs an inevitable – and unforgettable – step forward. “In the past my albums and shows combined love songs with upbeat songs, dance tunes, and the like,” he explains. “But I always made sure to include a set onstage where I went to the piano alone and sang love songs. The funny thing was that more and more people told me that this was their favorite part of my show. And that was cool because it was often my favorite part too: I could concentrate on singing from my heart, on connecting with my audience and playing whatever I wanted.”

With support from his label, Jordan began thinking about building his first-ever theme album around the concept of love. From the start, it felt right: “Back when I began as a singer, a love song basically said, ‘me, me, me,’” he says, laughing. “It was adolescent, about looking for love rather than giving it. But, of course, I was young too, a teenager, so I that was how I heard those songs. Quite naturally, as you grow up and mature, you stop thinking that way. You don’t take things, like the lyrics of a song, for granted. And you start to see those songs in a refreshing new light.” Reflecting on lessons he’d learned, artistically and personally, and drawing inspiration from Luther Vandross and his other favorite ballad singers, Jordan conceived an approach to Love Songs unlike anything he’d ever attempted. It would be, in his words, “almost like a coffee table book, something that would add to the quality of your day. Maybe you’d listen to it as you’re driving somewhere on a Sunday afternoon or when you’re with people you care about at home. It’s an adult album. I’d never gone this route before, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized it comes from the way I live my life today.” With that, he went to work, writing new material and thinking about tunes by other artists that fit this concept. Early in the process, he noticed that the covers he wanted to include in Love Songs seemed to come more from a rock background than the R&B he had favored on his previous releases. “I wasn’t thinking much about it at the time,” Jordan says. “I just went on what I felt without analyzing it. But looking back, I think I leaned toward things like George Michael’s ‘Careless Whispers,’ and Foreigner’s ‘Waiting for a Girl Like You, because they have simpler chords than the ones I usually use. That opens up the melody and leaves fewer restrictions on what I can sing, which was more important to me on this record than it had ever been before.” Working with producer Aaron Accetta, he laid down basic tracks in Florida, often playing the keyboard parts himself. The sound they created is a definite departure: a piano-based progression, over a strong rock backbeat and Clapton ballad feel on “I Wish,” a plucked-string figure that pushes Jordan and duo partner Deborah Gibson toward a passionate exchange on “Say Goodbye” … You get the picture. Love Songs combines Jordan’s proven, hit-making vocal skills with a willingness to take chances and reveal himself as an artist with a message that speaks to every listener, no matter how old or young, who has savored the full flavor of love.

Now, does this mean that Jordan is through with the dance moves, sizzling grooves, and showmanship that helped establish him as a prodigy superstar? Or with doing the unexpected turn in the public eye, as in his recent residency on VH1’s The Surreal Life? Not at all, he answers. “I definitely love working with rhythm. That visual of dancing to the beat is a very big part of who I am. “But Love Songs is different. This is strictly about the music and my voice. These songs speak directly from how I feel, from me to you. Right now, as a singer, nothing is more important to me than that.” This is JORDAN’s first appearance in a “Help is on the Way” production. TOP


MELODY LACAYANGA

Jill & MichaelMelody is 23 years old and is from Daly City, CA. She started dancing at the age of 5, but found a love for it once she reached high school. She attended the School of the Arts, under the direction of Elvia Marta where she trained in classical and contemporary ballet, modern jazz blues and Afro-Hatian. She was also a member of The Dance Company of San Francisco, where she trained in lyrical, jazz and modern with Chris Jacobsen, whom she also assisted around the nation. Melody moved to Los Angeles to pursue her dance dreams in the fall of 2003. She has since performed as a back-up dancer for Jerry Reid, has done numerous shows for Doug Caldwell, traveled to Dallas, TX as a member of Justin Giles' company, "Soul Escape," and just recently finished the debut of Mark Mesimer's dance company, "Evolution." Melody's greatest accomplishment, thus far, is taking second place on Fox's hit television show, "So You Think You Can Dance."
. This is Melody’s first appearance in a “Help is on the Way” production.TOP


LORENZO LAMAS

Jill & MichaelLorenzo was born in Santa Monica, California to actors Fernando Lamas and Arlene Dahl. He grew up in Pacific Palisades, attending public schools. At age twelve, Lorenzo enrolled at Admiral Farragut Academy in New Jersey, graduating in 1975. He continued his education at Santa Monica City College, participating in both Swim Team and Drama Classes.

In 1976, Lorenzo left college to study acting at Tony Barr's Workshop in Burbank. This led to various “bit” parts on television shows such as “Switch” and “Dear Detective.” His first big break came when Alan Carr cast him in the successful musical “Grease.” His next leading role was in the independent feature, “Take Down.”

Though Lorenzo is well remembered as the male lead on CBS's long-running hit show “Falcon Crest,” he re-established himself as an action star incorporating his martial arts land athletic abilities in many Canadian movies such as “Snakeeater,” “Swordsman” and “Final Impact.” In 1992, Stephen J. Cannell developed “Renegade” for Lorenzo, a series that lasted for five years. Since then, he has starred in two popular syndicated series, “Air America,” and more recently, “The Immortal.” Audiences may also have seen him as one of the judges on the reality television show “Are You Hot?” This is Lorenzo's first appearance in a “Help is on the Way” production. TOP


NICK LAZZARINI

Jill & MichaelGrowing up in the Bay Area, Nick Lazzarini started dancing at the age of 4. He has danced with such notable companies as Mia Michaels RAW in Europe and Dee Caspary IV and Evolution dance companies in Los Angeles. Nick was the master of ceremonies for the FIFA World Cup, was a featured soloist at Herb Caen day with the 49er Gold Rush, starred alongside the late Pat Morita in "Adventures with Kangaroddy", and his most recent television triumph was on Fox's hit TV reality series "So You Think You Can Dance" where he walked away the winner and America's favorite dancer. Nick continues to inspire young dancers everywhere as he teaches and performs across the country.
This is Nick’s first appearance in a “Help is on the Way” production.

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MICHELE LEE

Michele LeeMichele has starred on Broadway, in feature and television films, recorded and performed in concerts and variety specials with legends of the entertainment industry. Although known worldwide for her Emmy-nominated role as Karen in the landmark CBS series “knots Landing” (now the second-longest running prime time dramatic series in history).

Ms. Lee’s career began on the stage when discovered as a teen by David Merrick and brought to New York in the musical “Vintage ’60.” At age 19, Ms. Lee starred in “Bravo Giovanni” with Metropolitan Opera’s Cesare Siepe, which led to her breakout role as Rosemary in the original “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” with Robert Morse. In 1974, she appeared on the Broadway stage in Michael Bennett’s musical “Seesaw.” Her performance won her a Tony nomination, the Drama Desk and the Outer Critics Award for Best Actress. Ms. Lee has starred in and produced numerous films for television, including CBS’s Emmy-nominated “Big Dreams and Broken Hearts: The Dottie West Story,” “When No One Would Listen,” and “Scandalous Me: The Jacqueline Susann Story.”

In 1996, Ms. Lee became the first woman to produce, direct, write and star in a motion picture for television. Lifetime’s “Color Me Perfect” won the prestigious Christopher and the Gracie Allen Award presented by the American Women in Television and Radio. Other television films include “Dark Victory,” “Bud and Lou” and Neil Simon’s “Broadway Bound.” Ms. Lee was named the NATO Star of Tomorrow for her debut in the movie version of “How to Succeed…”, starred with Dick Van Dyke in Carl Reiner’s cult classic “The Comic” and in the Disney favorite “The Love Bug.”

In 2002 Ms. Lee completed her long run in Charles Busch’s Broadway hit, “The Tale of the Allergist Wife” opposite Linda Lavin and Tony Roberts. For her performance as the mysterious and enigmatic Lee Green she earned rave reviews and a Tony nomination. She was last seen in Universal’s “Along Came Polly” opposite Ben Stiller and Jennifer Aniston. This past August she received a Hollywood Bowl standing ovation when she starred as “Mame" in the Jerry Herman musical of the same name.

In November Ms. Lee opened her rave reviewed autobiographical musical act, “Catch the Light” at Feinstein’s at the Regency in New York City. Ms Lee was recently presented a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. This is Michel’s second appearance in a “Help is on the Way” production.

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KIMBERLEY LOCKE

From Gallatin, TN native to TV and music star via the hit series "American Idol," Kimberley Locke quickly rose to fame when she became the second runner-up on season two of the Fox-TV competition. In addition to being featured on two cast albums, landing in third would find the Last-Girl-Standing taking part in the national Idol concert tour. Shortly after the tour ended, Locke released her Curb Records debut album "One Love," which features the #1 Billboard Single Sales hit "8th World Wonder," as well as "Wrong," "Over the Rainbow," and the new single, "I Could," (a top 10 AC smash). "8th World" became a top 10 AC radio and top 20 Pop radio hit, as well as a #1 Dance (Remix) smash. "Wrong" hit the top 40 Pop radio charts as well. Music videos for both tunes, as well as "Coulda Been," have been produced. Locke headlined her own "One Love Live" concert tour in support of the CD. A holiday recording of "Up On The Housetop" was #1 Billboard AC hit for 4 weeks in December 2005.

March 2005 found her on tour for GSN (Game Show Network) hosting contests wherein winners received scholarship funds. GSN/Bank of America's "Get Schooled" toured shopping malls in large US cities through June '05. The cable net aired a documentary hosted by Locke in September '05. Kimberley recorded "A Dream Is a Wish" for the DisneyMania 3 album and appears in the accompanying TV/DVD special as well. Also for Disney, she duets with Peabo Bryson on "Wishes," for a Disney/Make-a-Wish CD (both in-stores).

Signed with Ford Modeling Agency, Kimberley is in her second year as spokes-model for the popular fashion retailer Lane Bryant and is currently seen in the national campaign. She is currently recording her follow-up album to "One Love," which debuted at #16 upon its release. Titled, "Based on a Ture Story" Locke co-write 9 new songs for the project teaming with collaborators who have helmed hits for Whitney Houston, Jesse McCartney, Destiny's Child, Anastasia, Backstreet Boys, Patti LaBelle, and more. The sophomore set includes the first single, "Supawoman," and will be released on Curb Records in summer '06 featuring writers/producers: Denise Rich, Matthew Gerrard, Danielle Brisbois, Mark Feist & Damon Sharpe, and Allan Rich & Jud Friedman. www.kimberleylockeweb.com. This is Kimbereley’s first appearance in a “Help is on the Way” production.

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LA TOYA LONDON

Jill & MichaelComedic, sagacious, welcoming, and astonishing are words that describe the short, petite, and stunning songwriter and songstress, La Toya London. With her chocolate colored skin and brilliant smile that illuminates the television screen and stage, London was voted a top performer not only on TV, but also on her summer 2004, American Idol World Tour. La Toya’s composed demeanor and buoyant approach to her performances while touring made her a favorite to watch and work with.

For months, La Toya London captivated audiences across the United States and world when she delivered powerful, show-stopping performances—seemingly with ease—on the 2004 season of the hit reality show “American Idol”. Her talents even managed to ignite the razor sharp tongue of none-other than the program’s most infamous judge, Simon Cowell, to go so far as to hail La Toya as the odds-on favorite to win the 2004 competition. But as fate would have it, millions of American voters along with the show’s celebrity judges were dumfounded as La Toya was unceremoniously voted off the show at what seemed the crest of her success in the final weeks of competition.

This pitfall proved not to be the end. Along with La Toya’s millions of loyal TV viewing fans, a number of record labels had also fallen under the hypnotic spell of this young Chanteuse’. Peak Records, in partnership with Concord Records (the last record label of the late-great Ray Charles), instantly signed La Toya to a recording contract. There she made a home with fellow legendary label mates, Regina Belle and Miki Howard. Her debut album Love & Life, are a collection of timeless, original R&B and soul classics fused with songs, written by La Toya. The CD, which will be in stores September 20, 2005, will no doubt establish her as a victorious star.
Raised in Allen Temple Baptist Church, La Toya has been a natural singer since the age of four. London was born in San Francisco, but has lived in East Oakland majority of her life. She graduated from Skyline High School, where she was in the same arts program made famous by actor Tom Hanks. La Toya has participated in several choirs, including the Youth Choir at Allen Temple Baptist Church, the Oakland Youth Chorus and Skyline Gospel Choir.

London has spent the last several years perfecting her craft, performing live with her band both in the United States and overseas. Throughout her singing career, La Toya has shared the stage with such superstars as Elton John, Whoopi Goldberg, Barry Manilow, Gladys Knight, Nancy Wilson, Chaka Khan, Rachel Farrell, Goapele and the legendary Burt Bacharach. She is also featured on the top-selling “American Idol Season-3 Greatest Soul Hits” CD.

La Toya was given the opportunity to co-host “Access Hollywood” in 2004, and displayed her comedic side. In the height of the elections, she participated in the DeclareYourself.com PSA advertising campaign along with Andre 3000 and Christina Aguilera. It was directed by legendary photographer David LaChapelle. Also Oakland mayor, Jerry Brown, declared May 4th, La Toya London Day, and she officially received the key to the city of Oakland on June 15, 2004. During the summer of 2004, La Toya along with the rest of the top 10 contestants of American Idol, not only toured across the country, but also Canada, Hawaii, and Singapore.

La Toya has showcased her vocal talents at the Richmond/Ermet AIDS Foundation, 100 Black Men fundraising gala, NABFEME PRESENTS Women Who Jam, FOX-TV Good Day Atlanta, WGN-Chicago, Vibe Music Festival, California State Fair and the Clear Channel holiday party. London has also performed the national anthem for numerous NFL teams and the Atlanta Braves. She was also a featured performer at the 2005 Super Bowl NFL Commissioner pre-game party. She celebrated the late Ray Charles’s life during Concord Record’s Grammy party, by singing a tribute song for him.

La Toya has immersed herself in career pursuits designed to mold her into a true triple-threat. Most recently, she has added “actress” to her resume. She played one of the lead roles as Chastity in the Latarras R. Whitfield stage play Issues: We All Got ‘Em that toured nationally Spring 2006. La Toya was simply outstanding earning rave reviews from city to city. After a stirring performance in New York, La Toya is currently being considered for roles in the Broadway production of "The Wiz" and "Rent". La Toya London is no longer an "American Idol." She has her sites set on becoming a true American Icon. This is La Toya’s third appearance in a “Help is on the Way” production. TOP


JON MAHER

Jon MaherJon is a versatile actor, performer and interpreter who has made a niche for himself within the entertainment industry. Recent theater work includes West Coat premiers of “The Language of Flowers,” “Hot Mikado,” and “ The Actor’s Fund.” Additional theatre credits include “Brush Up Your Shakespeare” performed before the opening of Los Angeles Shakespeare Festival, “Hoboland,” “She Had it Coming,” “The Gay 90’s…” and the West Coast premier of “F.L.O.W.” Jon is frequently referred to as The Sign Language Guy for his interpreted performances in productions such as “Self Defense,” “The Mysteries,” “The Exonorated,” “The Guys” “Spoon River Anthology,” “Master Class,” “Angels in America,” “Death and the Maiden,” “By Jeeves,” LosAngeles Master Chorale, Dream Foundation, S.T.A.G.E., and numerous other events. Film credits include “Baby Sitters Club,” “Carlton’s Death,” “Farce,” “Kiss Me Later,” and “June.” Television credits include “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” “The Pretender,” “The Red Cross Christmas Special,” “Twice Tried,” “The Marilu Show,” The Mo Show,” and “Comedy Tonight.” He is also a past winner of the Great West Comedy Competition. This is Jon’s seventh appearance in a “Help is on the Way” performance.

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VALARIE PETTIFORD

Jon MaherRadiant, Queens-born triple-threat Valarie Pettiford has illuminated stage, screen and television. She was principal dancer under the legendary Bob Fosse in his final productions “Dancin'” and “Big Deal,” the latter of which she was also dance captain. She was later Tony-nominated and Outer Critics Award-nominated for her starring role in the retrospective “Fosse”. Her Broadway/touring resume sparkles with highlights such as “Sophisticated Ladies,” “Chicago” (London West End), “West Side Story” and “Grind.” In movies, she’s shined in Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Cotton Club,” “Like Mike” and a thunder-stealing turn in “Glitter” playing Mariah Carey's jazz singer mom. She has just wrapped work on the new feature film “Step Show.” On television she has enjoyed a multitude of credits, including the daytime drama “One Life To Live”, the hit sitcom “Frasier”, the acclaimed dramatic series’ “The West Wing,” “The District” and “CSI:Miami”, as well as her current prime time residency on UPN’s “Half & Half” playing "Big Dee Dee Thorne,” for which she is a three time NAACP Image Award nominee.

Ms. Pettiford earned NAACP, Vancouver Readers Sun Award, and Roby Award honors for her portrayal of “Julie” in “Showboat”. She regularly graces venues from the Kennedy Center to the Geffen Playhouse, Actors Theater of Louisville and Yale Repertory. Ms. Pettiford also lends her talents to any number of charitable benefit performances. Now a Los Angeles resident, she was a marvel of versatility in her one-woman show, “Finding My Voice”, at Pepperdine University. She just won rave reviews as “Queenie” in the West Coast premiere of “Wild Party.” Ms. Pettiford can also be seen performing two one-woman shows this summer, June 9th and 10th at the Gardenia Theatre, and July 8th at the historic El Portal.

Ms. Pettiford’s latest endeavor is her stunning debut CD, “Hear My Soul,” filled with some of the finest compositions of all-time. It’s an overview not only of the distinguished alto’s career, but also her life. Valarie’s most telling asset is her verve for fresh opportunities. So much so, that one accustomed to seeing her excel in one medium would be positively floored to discover what she has also achieved (and is still achieving) in another. This is Valarie’s second appearance in a “Help is on the Way” production. TOP


ANNE RUNOLFSSON

Jon MaherAnne Runolfsson is one of those rare artists whose unique versatility has allowed her a distinguished career not only in the theater but also in recording studios, intimate cabaret spaces, and concert halls throughout the world.

Recently on Broadway she is starred as Carlotta Giudacelli in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Phantom of the Opera,” the longest running show in Broadway history. Prior to that she made a splash in “Victor/Victoria” as standby to Julie Andrews and Liza Minelli. She performed the title role over 120 times to great acclaim and went on to recreate the role in the National Tour which began in Seattle and Houston. Other Broadway and National Tour credits include: James Joyce’s “The Dead,” “Les Miserable,” “Cyrano-The Musical,” “The Secret Garden,””Aspects of Love.” Off-Broadway and Regional credits include: “Listen to My Heart,” “Rags,” “Jack’s Holiday,’” Cather County,” “A Little Night Music,” “Showboat,’ and “Funny Girl.’ She has been affiliated with projects in development at Lincoln Center, Second Stage, Manhattan Theater Club, New York Theater Workshop, The McCarter Theater, and Playwrights Horizons.

She has appeared as a soloist at Carnegie Hall, Radio City Music Hall (with Tenor Jose Carreras), The Kennedy Center, Town Hall, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, The National Theater in Iceland, Rainbow and Stars, The Russian Tea Room, Bay Street Theater, The Pump Room, The Cinegrill, The 92nd st. Y, and with The National Symphony, The Orchestra of St. Lukes, The National Symphony of Canada, The Hong Kong Philharmonic, The Cincinnati Pops, Oklahoma City Philharmonic, The Buffalo Philharmonic, and the Symphony orchestras of San Francisco, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Seattle, Indianapolis, Toronto, Milwaukee, Utah, Detroit, San Diego and St. Louis among many others. She was the featured soloist for the “Lord of The Rings Symphonic Suite” (singing in Elfin), In 1998 she was awarded the MAC award (Manhattan Association of Cabaret) for Best Female Vocalist, and in 1993 was a Drama League Honoree for her work in” Cyrano.” If you watch morning television you most likely heard her singing the theme song for the “Rosie O’Donnell Show.” Her debut album, “At Sea,” was critically acclaimed nationwide and can be purchased at annerunolfsson.com. This is Anne’s second appearance in a “Help is on the Way” production. TOP


BRUCE VILANCH

Lisa ViggianoBruce Vilanch is a two-faced fella: Bearded, he is one of the most sought-after comedy writers in Hollywood, winner of a bunch of Emmys and noted as the “Hollywood Square” just to the left of Whoopi. Shaved, he spent two years as Edna Turnblad, Baltimore housewife and superstar, on tour and on Broadway in the smash musical adaptation of the John Waters film “Hairspray.”

Most recently, Bruce was seen on VH1’s popular fitness and nutrition reality-series, “Celebrity Fit Club,” which finished its third season. Participating in a type of extreme-makeover-body-edition, the Celebrity Fit Clubbers went through 100 days of Fit Club training. Along the way, they learned about fitness, diets and nutrition.

Who knows what Bruce will look like for his next performance? In addition to “Hairspray,” he has appeared in such legendary epics as “Ice Pirates,” “Mahogany” and “The Morning After.” A frequent guest on talk shows, Bruce won his Emmys for co-writing back-to-back Oscar shows with Billy Crystal. He’s written 16 Oscar-casts so far, as well as a number of Tonys, Grammys, and even Emmys, although he never got an Emmy for writing an Emmy – that would be award-show incest of the lowest order. His bizarre career was documented in the film “Get Bruce!,” released by Miramax and perpetually available on Buena Vista Home Video.

Bruce’s one-man show, “Almost Famous,” tickled Off-Broadway audiences for three months and has made a number of appearances around the country. He is frequently mistaken for Brad Pitt. This is Bruce’s fourth appearance in a “Help is on the Way” production. . TOP



PAULA WEST

Stefanie PowersPaula West has been thrilling national and international audiences with her heartfelt renditions of well-known standards and unique interpretations of dynamic jazz songs. With a particular dusky soulfulness, West has captured the hearts of critics and audiences alike from coast to coast. Known and respected for her creative and distinct repertoire, West adds her own depth and drama to whichever song she chooses for the moment, creating whole new frameworks of meaning for American favorites.

Born into a Marine Corps family, Paula West grew up in San Diego. "My parents didn't have a lot of jazz records. My father liked to listen to classical music. Moving to San Francisco, she attended singing classes and jam sessions. Drawn to songs with interesting harmonics and literate lyrics, West always keeps two things in mind - communication with the audience and an intelligent approach to lyrics.

Paula has performed to sell-out houses annually at The Empire Plush Room in San Francisco and at The Oak Room in New York's Algonquin Hotel, increasing her exposure via films, radio broadcasts and performances in France, Italy and Switzerland. West has also sung at major jazz festivals and has shared the bill with numerous jazz luminaries including Rosemary Clooney, Stacey Kent, Mose Allison, Freddy Cole, Jimmy Scott, Oscar Brown Jr., Rita Rudner, Mavis Staples and Dave Frishberg.

Paula’s recent appearances include Birdland, The Blue Note, Jazz at Lincoln Center, (NYC) Sculler’s (Boston), Jazz Aspen and a performance at The White House in a salute to American writers. Steven Holden of The NY Times comments: “…Ms. West has blossomed into a savvy and blues interpreter and is as persuasive an illustration as I’ve seen that an inspired collaboration between singer and musicians can charge a career and send it hurtling in the right direction.” Paula has worked with such jazz greats as Bobby Hutcherson, Bill Charlap, Frank Weiss, Mulgrew Miller, Peter Washington, Eric Reed, Victor Lewis, Bruce Barth and Regina Carter. Paula’s next NYC gig is at the Algonquin beginning on Oct. 24, 2006.

Critically acclaimed CDs include “Temptation”, “Restless” and “Come What May”, which received the California Music Award for Outstanding Jazz Album, as well as guest appearances on Eric Reed’s “Max Jazz Christmas” CD, “Merry Magic,” and Frank Mantooth’s final project, “Ladies Sing for Lovers,” featuring Karrin Allyson, Ann Hampton Callaway, Sheila Jordan and Oleta Adams.

West has been featured on numerous television programs including A&E’s “Breakfast with The Arts” and also on The Oxygen Network. Her film appearances include Chris Columbus’ “Bicentennial Man” starring Robin Williams and The Lynn Hershman film “Teknolust” starring Tilda Swinton.
This is Paula’s seventh appearance in a “Help is on the Way” production. TOP


RON ABEL, Musical Director

Ron won both the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle and L.A. Weekly Theatre Awards for his score for "Twist of Fate." His other well-received stage musicals include "Is This Your Life?," "Rockwell: Life on a Palette" and "To Sir, With Love". Ron is the co-creator of the Off-Broadway musical "Blame it on the Movies." His musicalization of the Dumas classic "Camille" premiered in Los Angeles. Film and television credits include composing, arranging and/or orchestrating for Michelle Pfeiffer, Kim Basinger, Lily Tomlin, Bea Arthur and Carol Burnett. He wrote the television theme songs for "Animal Court" and "Nitecap." Ron was also the on-camera musical director for ABC's "Nitecap" as well as "Name That Tune." As an actor, he appeared on the hit series "Cheers" in a featured role. He scored and supervised film music for "Awakening Pictures." Ron music directed and arranged the long-awaited albums from Petula Clark and Helen Reddy. He helmed the debut album of actress Linda Purl as well as producing a first album for television favorite Stephanie Kramer (Hunter). He co-produced the album "George and Ira Gershwin: A Musical Celebration."

As arranger and conductor, Ron has appeared live on-stage with Bette Midler, Johnny Mathis, Liza Minnelli, Shirley Jones, Lucie Arnaz, Sam Harris, Mandy Patinkin, Patti LuPone, Jason Alexander, Joely Fisher, David Hyde Pierce and opera diva Julia Migenes. He has music directed, arranged, orchestrated and conducted the annual S.T.A.G.E. benefits in L. A. for the past fifteen years. This is his seventh musical direction of "Help is on the Way."
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DAVID GALLIGAN, Director

David Galligan most recently staged “Rod McKuen in Concert” at New York’s Carnegie Hall as well as the new musical play “The Last of The Honky Tonk Angels” at the Globe in Los Angeles. Other recent efforts include “The Richard Rodgers Centennial-Something Wonderful” for the Actors’ Fund of America as well as “Mame” starring Carol Lawrence, Ruth Williamson and Sally Struthers, “Show Boat” starring Dale Kristien and Sean McDermott and “Brigadoon” for Musical Theatre West. His direction of the musical revue “Blame it On the Movies” which he co-originated with Billy Barnes and Ron Abel, played Off-Broadway, and he repeated the staging for a Pasadena Playhouse main-stage production, capturing an Ovation nomination for his direction as well as winning a Drama-Logue Award. He garnered additional Drama-Logue wins for “Lettice and Lovage” (Pasadena Playhouse), “The Gay '90's Musical” (Celebration) and “Lullaby of Broadway” (Tiffany Theatre). For the past nineteen years he has directed and co-produced the annual S.T.A.G.E. fundraisers for AIDS charities, saluting the theatre music of noted composers and lyricists. He helmed the S.T.A.G.E. Too benefit for The Actors' Fund of America, “Tap Your Troubles Away: The Words and Music of Jerry Herman” which followed “Kurt Weill: The Centennial” in 2000. He has co-produced five of the events as CD albums: Jerome Kern: “Life Upon the Wicked S.T.A.G.E.” Harold Arlen, “Over the Rainbow;” “George & Ira Gershwin: A Musical Celebration;” “ABC Adler, Bock & Coleman” and “Stephen Sondheim: A Celebration.” He also co-produced the new Actor's fund “Tap Your Troubles Away: The Words and Music of Jerry Herman” CD as well as recordings of “Kurt Weill: The Centennial” and Dale Kristien's first solo recording, “Beauty of Broadway.” Galligan has staged and directed several special events for the Mark Taper Forum and Ahmanson Theatres, and for the last five years he has returned to his native San Francisco to stage the “Help Is On the Way” AIDS benefits at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco. Among his other recent credits, the original musical “Vampire Virgins from Venus” and the writing and staging of Valarie Pettiford's new one woman show “Finding My Voice” He stage directed the Ford Motor Company’s special “Heroes for the Planet” starring Charlotte Church and Haley Joel Osment that aired on the A&E network. He also staged “IMPACT at Ford Field,” the opening extravaganza of the new Detroit Lion’s Stadium, starring Gladys Knight. He co-produced Pamela Meyers’ debut CD “The Chance to Sing” with Billy Barnes, Stephen Flaherty, Billy Goldenberg, Larry Grossman, John Kander, Shelly Markham, Stephen Schwartz, Charles Strouse and Joseph Thalken at the piano. This is David’s fourteenth staging of a “Help is on the Way” production.
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