The seventh annual Autism New Jersey benefit concert on Monday, April 22 raised a record $7,100, but the evening was more than just a record-setting event; it was a spectacular showcase for three of Broadway’s very best voices, offering the nearly 300 in attendance an evening of true star quality entertainment, beginning with Broadway legends Rebecca Luker and Sierra Boggess, to Broadway newcomer Heather Botts, all the way through the thrilling performances of the Montclair State Freshmen Revue, Jonathan Weiner, Robert Getz, and the Paper Mill Playhouse Show Choir.
More than just a showcase for outstanding Broadway talent, the annual event continues to be a showcase for the SCM Public Relations program and the work students do as members of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) Montclair State University Chapter. The PRSSA, supported by the efforts of a number of public relations classes, both graduate and undergraduate, hosted and produced the show, organized the raffle, sold tickets, and promoted the hugely successful event. The organization also brought in help from the musical theater department and students from the TVDM area to videotape the show. Students in the SCM Journalism program helped with feature stories prior to the concert. The SCM faculty purchased a number of tickets, which were then given to students to attend the event for free. And, Assistant Professor Tom Franklin donated two prints of his iconic, Pulitzer Prize finalist photo of 9/11 firefighters raising the American flag.
The show added some new co-sponsors this year – ReelAbilities New Jersey and the Kessler Foundation, in addition to the annual support from the law firm, O’Toole, Scrivo, Fernandez, Weiner and Van Lieu.
The video will be edited as a one-hour variety show that will also include excerpts from a private question and answer session with the three stars. The program will then be offered as a download with any proceeds also being donated to Autism New Jersey.
The seven benefit concerts on campus, plus its 2018 fundraiser offsite, have raised nearly $40,000 for Autism New Jersey.