When 1,100 fans showed up for the inimitable and long-awaited sixth annual “Michael Childers Presents One Night Only” benefiting Jewish Family Services of Desert on April 24 at the McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert, it was obvious from the moment the curtain rose that this was a smash. This year’s theme, “Music of My Life,” choreographed by Mark Esposito, included big-screen clips of Michael Childers providing his spin on several songs such as “Everybody’s Talkin’” from the 1970 film, Midnight Cowboy, personalizing the repertoire of music and dance.
Danny Gurwin opened the event with “The Happy Time,” and it turned out to be just that. Not only was the two-hour production in two acts from Kaye Ballard to Loretta Devine and Naturi Naughten stunning, but it was obvious that all of the moving parts were in sync.
It began the evening before at the Rancho Mirage residence of Helene Galen at the cast party when Galen, with Jamie Kabler, welcomed guests on a perfectly moonlit desert evening framed with swaying palm trees. While the party was set to wrap at 9 p.m., guests were still around the piano long afterwards.
Michele Anstadt reported that nearly $200,000 was raised for Jewish Family Services of the Desert, eclipsing last year’s profit.
Among the donors were presenting sponsor Wells Fargo, platinum sponsors Annette Bloch, Helene Galen, Barbara and Jerry Keller and Harold Matzner, gold sponsors Katherine and Judd Malkin, Dorothy and Melvyn Lefkowitz, Donna MacMillan, Bobbi and Mike Resmo and Denise Roberge and producer sponsors Leo Milmet and the Jewish Community School of the Desert, Rebecca Benaroya, Drs. Terri and Bart Ketover, Faye and Herman Sarkowsky, Nina and Robert Wernick, Linda and Manny Rider, Lynn and Bob Zimmer, Angie and Harvey Gerber, Leslie and Gordon Diamond, Dr.Tim Jochen and Lee Erwin, Mary and Jerome Angel, Joyce and Henry Freund, Joanne McGrath, Arlene Schnitzer and Union Bank, the private bank. Among the director sponsors were Cynthia and Morris Muscatel, Shelly and Ron Tamkin, Barbara and Bernie Fromm, Rachel and Ed Gubman, Sally and Mort Kirschner, Marjorie Victor, Diane and Hal Gershowitz, Muriel Myerson, James R. Houston and M. Zuckerman Marketing and Public Relations, Inc.