Dorothy and Bill Berloni and Broadway Legends Honor The Humane Society of New York and Seth Rudetsky at Feinstein’s/54 Below
Seth Rudetsky, Ana Gasteyer
by Sandi Durell
In a fun-filled, heart-warming and so very much needed event, The Humane Society of New York and all it does for our rescue pets with the help of Dorothy & Bill Berloni, was the focus in this fourth year of ‘Best in Shows’ honoring the untiring work of pianist/conductor/comic Seth Rudetsky with its Sandy Award. Seth is a committed animal rights activist working through action and advocacy. The event took place at Feinstein’s/54 Below, the room filled to capacity, overflowing with supporters.
As pianist for the event, the honoree had to work the night away but didn’t seem to mind at all as the talent on stage, one by one, performed in their efforts to raise the much needed funds for the Humane Society of New York. The evening opened with Joanna Gleason and her parodied rendition of “But Beautiful,” and continued on with impersonations by Christine Pedi of some of the great ladies of song as the crowd roared in recognition. Adam Kantor (The Band’s Visit) sang “Here I Am” to Trixie – who responded accordingly! Betsy Wolfe, with rescue Sheik, sang “Like Me” while Marc Shaiman at the piano offered up the simple and perfect song, D-O-G, written by a friend.
Back to Seth Rudetsky who interjected throughout with his humorous spontaneous lines. Seth has a rescue kitty, two rescue doggies and a new doggie named Mateo he and husband James met when they organized an outing to the local animal shelter in Puerto Rico while on Seth’s Big Fat Broadway cruise! You can’t keep a good man away from a doggie in need.
The joyous evening flowed on as Karen Ziemba took the stage with “The Doggie Song” – my dog loves your dog…., followed by Hugh Panaro with “Not While I’m Around.” Most adorable was Kate Rockwell who had a long list of wants in a dog when she asked Bill Berloni to find her a rescue, which he did, as she tearfully sang “Times Like This” to her baby. The Disney Duet “He’s A Tramp” was artfully sung by Sierra Boggess and Lindsay Mendez. There was a break at this point for Bill to run an auction raising additional funds for the Humane Society of New York and it’s gratifying to know there are so many animal lovers who eagerly raised their hands to help the cause.
Performances continued with James Snyder adorably singing to a rescue “Girl, Can I Kiss You With Tongue???” followed by a very tired Andrea McArdle (the original Annie now a Granny – hard to believe!) who had a very busy day of flying to get to the event, singing “Wherever He Ain’t.”
Ana Gasteyer is a very funny, funny lady taking the stage with her dog who likes to chew on just about anything and everything, reading a long list of items to make sure are not left exposed, before presenting the Sandy Award to her good friend Seth Rudetsky. But the evening still wasn’t over. Sierra Boggess returned with “Think of Me” and a shout out to her cats Celi and Olivia. The evening did come to a happy ending with Kevin Chamberlin as the Cowardly Lion in “King of the Forest.”
There’s nothing like ‘Best in Shows’ – you leave with a full heart, feeling happy, fulfilled and knowing that our dogs and cats and other pets are front and center in the thoughts of the Humane Society of New York with the help of Bill & Dorthy Berloni and Seth Rudetsky, who epitomizes the connection the Broadway community demonstrates toward animals.
BTW – you can see Bill Berloni’s latest trained pet on Broadway, the goose in The Ferryman.
Best in Shows – October 15, 2018
Photos: Maya Werner
Filming/Editing: Sandi Durell