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Frances Allen’s Desert Roundup—Broadway Stars Come Out For ‘One Night Only’

ONE NIGHT  ONLY–Famed photographer Michael Childers (left) staged his annual “One Night Only” fundraiser for the Barbara Sinatra Children’s Center featuring some of Broadway’s major players. Helene Galen (right) hosted a lavish party for the performers the night before at her Desert estate. Photo by Pat Krause

Posted Tuesday, May 7, 2019 - 1:58 pm

It’s true. Once a year, for just one single evening, the country tilts on it’s theatrical axis and past and present stars of Broadway shows slide down from New York to Palm Desert, each appearing on stage at the McCallum Theatre to perform one song; one all-to-brief appearance.

However, it is hardly as simple as that. Imagine the effort of the producers to accommodate more than two-dozen divas (male as well as female) for a mostly volunteer performance thousands of miles from home. Only one person could bring it off flawlessly, and with such class: Michael Childers.

Childers, a world renowned celebrity photographer, has become one of the Desert’s most successful producers of charitable fundraisers, bringing in almost $13 million for various charities and performing arts centers in the Coachella Valley, L.A. and Santa Fe.

He created the concept of “One Night Only,” and this year’s production benefited the work of the Barbara Sinatra Children Center, a non-sectarian, non-profit that provides an array of counseling and social services to those in need regardless of age, income, ethnicity, lifestyle or a family’s ability to pay.

Tickets for this single-evening performance, themed “Broadway Showtoppers,” were sold out within hours of becoming available; but it was the cast party the night before “curtains up” that set out the lavishness of “One Night Only.”

Helene Galen opened her art-filled Tamarisk Country Club estate for what turned into a high-powered meet-and-great, surprise-filled night-before-the-event evening.

An example: as guests were admiring Galen’s museum-quality works of modern art they where drawn to the pool area and the sight of the Palm Springs High School Band, in full uniform, marching in formation down the lush green Tamarisk fairway before stopping and serenading the guests on the back patio, all of whom were in awe at this unprecedented bit of showmanship.

Honorary co-chairs of “One Night Only” and the top-tier after-party held at the Galen Auditorium on the campus of the Eisenhower Medical Center in nearby Rancho Mirage were Barry Manilow and Garry Kiel, Barbara Fromm, Helene Galen, Terri Ketover, and Harold Matzner. Event co-chairs were Fromm and Ketover. The program also honored the untimely passing of prominent Desert philanthropist Barbara Keller.

The equally generous performers who gave of their love and talent were: Jason Garaee and The Musical University Students, Liisi Lafontaine, Liz Callaway, Laura Dickinson, Scott Coulter, Ann Hampton Callaway, Brent Barrett with Desiree Gillespie, Jenna Gillespie and Natalie Wachen, Alex Korey, Valerie Perri,  Nita Whitaker, Sean McDermott, Lucie Arnaz, John Barrowman, Karen Ziemba, Loni Ackerman and Allegra Hannah, Davis Gaines and Christine Andreas.

Wow. What a night!

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