Vanessa Williams Named Honorary Chair of AMAS Musical Theatre Benefit


Vanessa WilliamsWill she or won’t she?

My guess is the Ugly Betty and stage star will physically attend this event. But as of now I guess there’s an escape clause: Do “honorary chairs” really always show up for the event? Might there be a “conflict”?

Story continues below.

Either way, here’s the 411 — it’s all a great cause.

Honorary Chair Vanessa Williams
Amas Musical Theatre
A benefit event supporting The Maria Torres Emerging Artist Project

featuring excerpts from new dance theatre piece
“The Magic of Salsa Kingdom”

August 10, 2009 at TAJ Lounge

Amas Musical Theatre (Donna Trinkoff, Producing Artistic Director), will launch the Maria Torres Emerging Artist Project with a special Benefit Event on August 10 with stage and screen star Vanessa Williams as Honorary Chair. The event is directed by Amas Artist-in-Residence Maria Torres and will showcase company professionals from the upcoming Magic of Salsa Kingdom, an original dance theatre piece by Torres premiering in September at the Salsa Kingdom Festival in Southport, England. Also performing Torres’s choreography will be some of her young students. The evening features music by Willie Torres NYC Salsa Project, and will take place at Taj Lounge, 48 West 21st Street, at 7pm.

Doors Open at 6pm. Performance begins at 7pm followed by cocktails, appetizers, and dinner, according to ticket level. Prices are $125, $200, $250, and $500. There will also be a Silent Auction.

The newly formed Maria Torres Emerging Artist Project is training aspiring performers from eight to 30 years old in Torres’s signature multiculturally-inspired choreography, but the company travelling to England will be ages fourteen and higher. “These young performers are fantastic talents and we’re so proud that they’ve been invited to travel so far to showcase their skill”, says Trinkoff. “We hope to give everyone a sneak preview of the performers’ and Maria’s wonderful work, and help raise the dollars needed to send everyone to England”.

Salsa Kingdom 2009 is the festival’s second year and is billed as the UK’s “Ultimate Latin Music & Dance Festival”. It will be the troupe’s inaugural public appearance. Senior company professionals will perform Magic of Salsa Kingdom, and students will perform a series of Torres dance pieces. “This is just the beginning”, says Torres. “We have a wonderful opportunity to make a real impact in dance theatre and dance theatre education in the coming months and years”.

The evening will also feature cocktails, appetizers, and dinner and will include a silent auction. Sponsors of the event include Taj Lounge and Nisa Lee Catering.

Torres has starred on Broadway in the musical Swing! and as a choreographer is a veteran of stage and screen. Her work can be seen in the upcoming Tim Allen and Andie McDowell film The Six Wives of Henry LeFay and she has recently appeared as guest choreographer on the hit television show So You Think You Can Dance. She has trained Patrick Dempsey and Amy Adams for the film Enchanted and Raven Simone in College Road Trip. Torres also choreographed Jennifer Lopez and Marc Antony in El Cantante, a film in which she also appeared.

Amas Musical Theatre (Donna Trinkoff, Producing Artistic Director) is New York City’s celebrated pioneer in diversity and multi-ethnic casting in the performing arts since 1968. Amas (“you love” in Latin) is devoted to the creation, development and professional production of new American musicals, the emergence of new artistic talent, and the training and encouragement of inner-city young people. In recent years, Amas has emerged as a leading not-for-profit laboratory for new musicals, and has produced a string of award-winning productions, many of which are receiving additional productions either at regional theatres or commercially. Shows recently emerging from Amas include WANDA’S WORLD, SHOUT! The Mod Musical, Stormy Weather, Imagining Lena Horne (starring Leslie Uggams), Lone Star Love, Magpie, From My Hometown, Latin Heat, Zanna, Don’t!, Langston Hughes’s Little Ham, and 4 Guys Named José… and Una Mujer Named Maria. Amas also administers several long-running education programs including The Rosetta LeNoire Musical Theatre Academy, and The Immigration Experience, Urban Mythography, and Lens on Live Theatre Artists-in-Schools Programs, as well as the new Maria Torres Emerging Artist Project.

For additional information and reservations visit or call (212) 563-2565.