American Ballet Theatre (ABT) may have been forced to cancel its spring season due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the company will still mark its annual gala - with a virtual celebration.
The New York City-based company was originally set to open its 80th season at the Metropolitan Opera House this month, complete with a gala that has been known to count Katie Holmes, Blake Lively and Valentino Garavani as guests.
On Tuesday, May 12, ABT will host a virtual gala for fans worldwide, beginning at 7pm EST on its YouTube channel. The pre-recorded, one-hour presentation, entitled ABT: Together Tonight, will include a mix of new performances, rarely-seen footage from the company’s history and a few celebrity guests.
Tony Bennett will sing ‘Fly Me To The Moon’ to accompany a Central Park performance of Jessica Lang’s Let Me Sing Forevermore, which will be danced by ABT soloists Catherine Hurlin and Aran Bell (who are a real-life couple currently in quarantine together).
Tony Award-winning actress Cynthia Erivo will perform as well, singing ‘America The Beautiful’ alongside a curated video of ABT’s artists dancing.
Ballet super fans Jennifer Garner and Kelly Ripa are also set to join in, as are a number of other celebrity guests - and, of course, appearances from ABT’s orchestra and dancers (think Misty Copeland and Isabella Boylston).
The gala will also serve as a way to benefit the company’s Crisis Relief Fund, which supports its artists, crew and faculty members in the wake of ABT’s Met season and four of its tours being canceled.
In addition to donations being matched by ABT’s Board of Trustees, audience members can also bid on items like campaign imagery signed by Misty Copeland and experiences such as a private virtual makeup lesson with the company’s wig and makeup supervisor and a luxury hotel stay in Paris (for when we can all leave the house again).