NEW YORK CITY – April 22, 2013 – The broadwayUNLOCKED Concert, held at The Green Space – Imagine seeing a New York Broadway concert – in Houston, TX.  That was possible as Broadway stars and donors on Indiegogo came together to put on Broadway’s first ever crowdfunded concert in order to support the Crime Victims Treatment Center of St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital. Everyone who donated was able to virtually attend the event through a live-streaming webcast of the show. broadwayUNLOCKED was a community driven concert of support that transcended mere geography, bringing together people from across the country. The City also came out to support this community resource. Local restauranteurs Helen Wood and Susan O’Hanlon, the two owners of the West Village’s Agave and Astoria’s Mojave restaurants, generously supplied the passed hors d’oeuvres during pre-show cocktails. O’Hanlon described herself as an “avid supporter of the tireless work [of CVTC] to protect women, and men, and rebuild lives.”

Similarly the silent auction items were local donations from stores such as Bloomie Nails & Spa and individual donations in the form of one patron’s season tickets for the NFL Giants. Standing amidst the performers, volunteers, and donors before the concert, I couldn’t help but feel that I had become part of something, a big, caring something that brought hundreds of people together to support something that affects us all as a community.

And boy – did the community come together – the Broadway community, that is. The concert kicked off with an amazing performance of “I’m Gone” from the musical Hands on a Hardbody, as performed by the Broadway actors themselves, Allison Case and Jay Armstrong Johnson. All performances took place in The Green Space, which is an intimate venue – even the orchestra isn’t this close to the performers on a Broadway stage. The online audience, however, had the best seats in the house, with roving camerascapturing the singers’ best angles. Audience questions were taken from Twitter, read aloud and amusingly by event Co-Chair Jessica Ryan and co-host Jermaine Blackwell. Performers Case and Johnson were asked what it was like to meet the inspiration for their Broadway characters, as well as which of them they think would actually be able to stand with their hand on a truck the longest in a hardbody style contest.

I didn’t think anything could top that until Mykal Kilgore, known for his performances in Hair and the Book of Mormon, brought down the house with “Crush,” part of the song writing duo Lyons and Pakchar’s debut. Both Douglas Lyons and Ethan Pakchar also performed in the Book of Mormon tour. The song is about a man who has a crush on a pretty woman, and at the end, I’m sure all the women in the audience had a crush on Kilgore.

It was with this fun and light-hearted mood that we celebrated a center that has helped so many people heal so that they, too, could smile again. One of these people was Avery Ragsdale, Co-Chair of broadwayUNLOCKED. He started the concert, originally known as the Bridge, as a way to give back to the center that had helped him so much. He thought, “Let’s get a couple of friends together, sing some songs, give them a couple hundred bucks.” He brought Jessica Ryan onboard and together they raised over $50,000 for the CTVC in their first year.

At its heart, the CVTC is a community coming together to support each other. It started in 1977 as a small, grassroots program. Even though it has grown significantly and is now New York State’s largest and most comprehensive hospital-based victim assistance program, it is still a community effort. Their volunteer program includes volunteer advocates, who sit with victims often for hours after the assault. Volunteer coordinator Christopher Bromson said he doesn’t even have to do much recruiting anymore – “They just find me. They come from all walks of life. Our youngest is 19 and our oldest is 85. It’s a unique and intense volunteer opportunity. A chance to make a difference.” The most amazing part of the center’s work is that treatment is provided for free. With funding ever in short supply in the non-profit sector, the CVTC and broadwayUNLOCKED turned to the wider community online for support as part of this year’s concert. The role of the communities and networks coming together to aid the CVTC is perhaps one of the most uplifting things I have ever seen. Proof that no one needs to be alone.

C A L L   T O   A C T I O N
Join the community of support making victims into survivors.
Learn more about the Crime Victims Treatment Center and consider volunteering to become a Domestic Violence Advocate.
Connect with CVTC via  Facebook, or make a donation.