Broadway stars will assem- ble Monday in Fullerton for a benefit concert to aid victims of Typhoon Haiyan, which has tragically affected millions in the Philippines.
The concert will be pro- duced by the Rotary Interna- tional District 5320 Charita- ble Foundation, along with the Muckenthaler Cultural Center in Fullerton.
Zoot Velasco, executive di- rector of the center, and his wife, Monette Velasco, both play major roles in planning the event.
During the second national Broadway tour of Miss Saigon, Monette Velasco was able to
meet and network with many from the Broadway world, quickly evolving the event from a small to large scale event.
Zoot Velasco said when Typhoon Haiyan happened, he suggested the idea to his wife to put on a benefit at the Muckenthaler Cultural Center.
After talking with Rae Shirer, district governor for Rotary’s Orange County Dis- trict 5320, Zoot and Monette Velasco decided to make it a district-wide event.
“What started as a small idea quickly grew,” Zoot Velas- co said.
Rotary is an international organization, including clubs in the Philippines.
Through Rotary, men and women volunteers dedicate themselves to serving their community.
Zoot Velasco said when Ro- tary holds an event to raise money for disaster relief, it dif-
fers from other major organi- zations such as the Red Cross or the United Nations when it comes to how the money gets distributed.
“When you give money to them it usually goes to claims to bring aid over,” Zoot Velasco said.
He also explained that most times, governments take in the money, but it gets lost in the process due to officials staff- ing large non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
With Rotary, on the other hand, every donation goes to the relief. The money from the benefit will directly be taken to the Rotary Club in Manila. There, they will distribute it directly to the clubs in the Philippines in the most affect- ed areas.
Zoot Velasco said they have tried contacting some clubs in the affected areas, but have had no luck due to lack of service.
“It was suggested that we do it through the Manila club, because they were not in the affected area,” he said. “They’re the largest club from the largest city in the Philip- pines, and they can distribute it to those clubs without hav- ing to worry about phone ser- vice or internet service. They can actually drive the money over there.”
The event will include Broadway stars of Miss Sai- gon, Wicked and Les Misera- bles. Performers include Kris- tine Remigio, Jon Jon Briones, Monette Velasco, Joyce Bau- tista-Nanshaw and Deedee Magno.
Magno, in particular, is said to be one of the most notable guests. She previously ap- peared on the Mickey Mouse Club, and played Nessarose in Wicked. She also appears on the soundtrack of Disney’s Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular, and is a member of the pop group The Party.
Other performers include Richard Kinsey (Javert, Les Miserables), Los Angeles Op-
era singer Teresa Brown and many more.
“This event makes me proud to work at a nonprofit,” said Allison Town, director of mar- keting for the Muckenthaler Cultural Center. “We were able to put together an amaz- ing show in a very very short amount of time for people who are in dire need of help.”
Shirer said it is wonderful to see different community organizations come together. After Zoot Velasco talked to Shirer, they decided it was best to move to a bigger venue to accommodate a larger au- dience.
The event will be held at Plummer Auditorium at Ful- lerton Union High School. Tickets will be $50 per per- son and may be purchased through the Muckenthaler Box Office at TheMuck.org or by calling (866) 411-1212 or (714) 738-6595.