New York, NY (February 28, 2011) - World-renowned watchmaker Audemars Piguet partnered with Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS (BC/EFA) and the Tony Awards on February 3 to host 1,300 New York City students at their very first Broadway show. Through "Inspire Change," an initiative launched by the producers of Memphis, students from public schools and AIDS Service organizations throughout the five boroughs of Manhattan enjoyed this special performance of Memphisin addition to in-school workshops and a "talk-back" with the cast and producers of the show and representatives from the Tony Awards.
At the end of the performance, all 1,300 students surprised the cast by jumping to their feet to join in for the show's finale, "Steal Your Rock and Roll." The students, who had been practicing both the lyrics and choreography for weeks, took to the aisles and stage to join the excited cast members for the song.
François-Henry Bennahmias, President & CEO of Audemars Piguet North America, says, "After two incredibly successful years partnering with the Tony Awards, this year we are excited to make a direct impact in our community. Audemars Piguet is proud to offer 1,300 students their first Broadway experience, as part of our commitment to New York City's theater community, the Tonys and Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. Music has touched my life and I hope that this special experience will foster a lifelong love of music among these students, too."
"The cast flipped out when they saw the whole audience stand up and dance!" says Sue Frost, producer of Memphis, "It was absolutely incredible, I wish it could happen every night! We're so grateful to Audemars Piguet, BC/EFA and the Tony Awards for joining Memphis in our effort to inspire change.
"Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS is grateful to Audemars Piguet and the Tony Awards for the opportunity to work with the producers of MEMPHIS and "Inspire Change" on such a special day for so many in underserved public schools and social service agencies across New York City," said Tom Viola, BC/EFA's executive director. "The stories of personal courage in MEMPHIS reflect the challenges these kids face each day. To see their lives portrayed on stage creates self-esteem that encourages young people to make healthy choices outside the classroom."
"We would like to thank our partners, Audemars Piguet and Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS for giving these amazing students such a spectacular opportunity, and for helping to create a moment of Broadway history," said Charlotte St. Martin, executive director for The Broadway League & Howard Sherman, executive director of the American Theatre Wing - the two organizations who present the Tony Awards.
Audemars Piguet will continue their support of Broadway through their third annual sponsorship of the red carpet at the 65th Annual Tony Awards, which will be broadcast in a live three-hour ceremony from the Beacon Theatre in New York City, on the CBS television network on Sunday, June 12, 2011.
About Audemars Piguet
Founded in 1875 by Jules-Louis Audemars and Edward-Auguste Piguet in the Swiss village of Le Brassus, Audemars Piguet is the oldest Manufacture of Haute Horlogerie still in the hands of its founding families. Perpetuating a legacy based on three fundamental values: tradition, excellence and creative daring, particularly in the field of complex watch mechanisms, Audemars Piguet holds a record number of world firsts. The brand encompasses complex mechanical watches, Haute Joaillerie creations, as well as a line of jewelry. In addition to the 57th Street flagship in New York City, Audemars Piguet has a second boutique location in Bal Harbour Shops, Bal Harbour, FL. www.audemarspiguet.com
MEMPHIS, the winner of four 2010 Tony Awards including Best Musical, takes place in the smoky halls and underground clubs of the segregated 50's, where a young white DJ named Huey Calhoun (Chad Kimball) fell in love with everything he shouldn't: rock and roll and an electrifying black singer (Montego Glover). MEMPHIS is an original story about the cultural revolution that erupted when his vision met her voice, and the music changed forever. The show features a brand new Tony winning score with music by Bon Jovi's founding member and keyboardist David Bryan and lyrics by Bryan and Joe DiPietro, who also pens the musical's Tony winning book. MEMPHIS is based on a concept by the late George W. George, with direction by Tony nominee Christopher Ashley and choreography by Sergio Trujillo. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.Telecharge.com or call 212.239.6200. www.MemphisTheMusical.com.
About the Tony Awards
This year marks the 65th anniversary of the Tony Awards, which were first held on April 6, 1947 at the Waldorf Astoria's Grand Ballroom. The Tony Awards were founded in memorial to Antoinette ("Tony") Perry, the American Theatre Wing's chairperson and are the highest honor in the Broadway community. The ceremonies are presented by Tony Award Productions, a joint venture of the Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing, which founded the Tonys in 1947. The 2011 Tony Awards will be broadcast live from the Beacon Theatre in a 3-hour telecast on CBS, on Sunday, June 12, 2011. For more information on the Tony Awards, visit www.tonyawards.com.
About Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS
Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS is one of the nation's leading industry-based, nonprofit AIDS fundraising and grant-making organizations. By drawing upon the talents, resources and generosity of the American theatre community, since 1988 BC/EFA has raised over $195 million for essential services for people with AIDS and other critical illnesses across the United States, offering support and making grants to The Actors Fund and over 400 AID and family service organizations nationwide. For more information, visit www.broadwaycares.org.
About "Inspire Change"
Inspire Change was designed as a way for students in schools that the New York City Department of Education has identified as "arts poor" to experience the Tony-winning Broadway musical MEMPHIS, an in-theater post-show discussion, and to participate in an interactive pre- and post-show workshops designed to enhance those experiences. For more information about Inspire Change, visit http://www.memphisthemusical.com/inspire.html.Revised April 23, 2012