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Bay Street Makes $6,000 Donation To JBJ Soul Kitchen Food Bank

Gabrielle Topping

Bay Street Theater's Box Office Manager David Kolodny, Executive Director Tracy Mitchell, Director of Development Kim Fink, and Marketing Coordinator Michael Pintauro with the check to JBJ Soul Kitchen Food Bank. (Courtesy Photo)

The Bay Street Theater & Sag Harbor Center for the Arts - a year-round, not-for-profit professional theater and community cultural center - star-studded Starry Night Gala Telethon was a night to remember. Through the virtual celebration of the Broadway musicals of the 1970s, Bay Street raised $6,000 in support of the JBJ Soul Kitchen Food Bank in Wainscott, who provided meals for thousands of food-insecure families across the South Fork this summer.

"As the pandemic raged, and the food pantry lines kept growing, we simply had to do something to help," Tracy Mitchell, Bay Street's Executive Director said. "It felt like an obvious choice to be sure our neighbors were receiving basic food necessities."

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Jon Bon Jovi's JBJ Soul Foundation established an East End outpost that operated a food distribution center at the JBJ Soul Kitchen Food Bank in Wainscott between May and September. Their initial goal was to purchase food for 5,000 individuals monthly for four months, especially since many food pantries were experiencing a 500 percent increase in need for food. During the 18 weeks of food distribution, JBJ Soul Kitchen Food Bank delivered more than 200 tons of food - including produce, dairy products and handmade frozen meals, to eight pantries located on the East End of Long Island. The food provided to one of the pantries was able to help feed over 10,705 residents from May 17 to September 1.

The 29th annual Bay Street Summer Gala included a script written by playwright Scooter Pietsch, whose comedy Windfall was scheduled to make its world premiere during the 2020 Mainstage Season. The production was to be filmed and edited by RIch Ficara, a Director of Photography and Editor with over 25 years of broadcast news experience.

Throughout the evening, special guests performed numbers from some of Broadway's biggest musicals of the 1970s, including A Chorus Line, Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita, Godspell, Pippin, Sweeney Todd, Pacific Overtures, A Little Night Music, and The Wiz. Key performers included Raul Esparza, Ben Vereen, Melissa Errico, Betty Buckley, André De Shields, Josh Young, Hunter Parrish, Trent Saunders, Arianna Rosario, Omar Lopez-Cepero, and many others. The host for the evening was actor and member of Bay Street Theater's Board of Trustees, Richard Kind.

Upcoming Bay Street programming includes Awake at Night: Modern Takes on Stories of Edgar Allan Poe (available for streaming through Saturday, October 31), a virtual Sip & Sing on Friday, October 30, the virtual world premiere of Divaria Productions' original biopic opera Rival Queens on Thursday, November 12 and Literature Live! presents Moby Dick, debuting on Tuesday, November 17.

For more information, visit www.baystreet.org.

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