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Frances Allen’s Desert Roundup—Michael Childer’s Gift Of ‘One Night Only’ Supports Jewish Family Service

Posted: Friday, April 28, 2017 – 2:27 PM

For the past decade, or so, celebrity photographer Michael Childers and Jewish Family Service of the Desert (JFS) have provided the Coachella Valley with a gift; a gift lasting for one night only.

The event, fittingly entitled “One Night Only,” was conceived and produced by Childers, who has raised millions for a variety of charities over the years, has a simple premise: bring together on stage an all-star cast of Broadway performers and award-winners and have each star sing one hit song. Simple, but unless you have Childers’ extensive Rolodex, a vast list of devoted friends and supporters plus piles of underwriting support, it would be impossible to pull off.

This year’s “One Night Only,” themed “Hello Jerry,” a musical tribute to composer/lyricist Jerry Herman, was sold out months in advance and featured performances Broadway talent (in order of appearance) by: Faith Prince, Jason Graae, performer and director of the all-star cast; Julie Garnye, Hunter Ryan Herdlicka, Klea Blackhurst, Karen Ziemba, with dancers Richard Bulda, Evin Johnson, Justin Segura and Leigh Wakeford; Lee Roy Reams, Sharon McNight, Lucie Arnaz, whose rendition of Wherever He Ain’t was a showstopper; Liz Callaway, David Burnham, Vicki Lewis, Amanda McBroom, Scott Coulter, Christine Andreas, Ruta Lee, Leslie Stevens, Alix Korey, Davis Gaines, Gary Beach, a contingent of the Palm Springs High School marching band, Palm Springs Gay Men’s Chorus, and Carole Cook. 

Not to be forgotten in the musical evening was the suburb music direction provided by Christopher Marlowe.

All performers donated their time for this one-of-a-kind performance, made possible in large part by the generosity of the evening’s honorary chairs: Barbara Fremont, Helene Galen, Barbara Keller and super-benefactor Harold Matzner, chairman of the Palm Springs International Film Festival and the McCallum Theatre.

Ensuring a flawlessly run evening were event co-chairs Barbara Fromm, who has been a co-chair of Michael Childers’  “One Night Only” productions since 2008, and Terri Ketover, PhD, a much-honored and hands-on Desert philanthropist.

As “One Night Only” has grown in stature so have the events surrounding it. The evening before “curtain up,” there is an exclusive cast party for the performers and JFS’ most generous donors. This year, a celebrity-packed pre-party was held in the museum-like surrounds of the Galen home.

Then, after the last standing ovation and curtain call of the next day’s performance, those who purchased special tickets were invited to a catered VIP reception at soon-to-be-opened Acqua in Rancho Mirage. There, performers and “A”-listers where able to mingle and relive the unique, magical performances of the miraculous event they had been privileged to enjoy.

Active in more than just the Desert’s Jewish community for more than 30 years, JFS of the Desert has provided services throughout the Coachella Valley to those in need, regardless of religion, age, income, ethnicity or lifestyle. JFS’s services and programs are made possible through financial support, grants and support from a whole cadre of donors.

JFS will help almost 5,000 men, women and children this year, most from low-income households, who rely on JFS for low cost mental-health counseling, crisis intervention and food support. JFS provides isolated, homebound seniors with care, transportation and enrichment activities, and also offers counseling and substance abuse education in local elementary schools.

For more information about Jewish Family Service of the Desert, call 760-325-4088. 

• • • • •

The Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) has announced that the dates of its 29th edition will be Jan. 2-15, 2018. 

Highlights include:

  • • On Tuesday, Jan.2, the annual Film Awards Gala will kick off the festival at the Palm Springs Convention Center.  
  • • The festival’s “Power of Words: Book to Screen” program will be Wednesday, Jan. 3.
  • •  The screening portion of the festival will run Thursday, Jan. 4 -Monday, Jan. 15.  Opening Night screening will take place at Richards Center for the Arts on Thursday, January 4, with a party to follow at the Palm Springs Art Museum.
  • • The festival will close on Sunday, Jan, 14, with “Best of the Fest” screenings taking place Monday, Jan. 15.
  • For more information visit




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