Local and Broadway stars to be honored by Axelrod

Local and Broadway stars to be honored by Axelrod

Liz Callaway
Liz Callaway

Liz Callaway and Jeff Blumenkrantz — stars of Broadway and TV and Tony Award nominees — will take center stage at the Axelrod Performing Arts Center Gala on Saturday, March 6.

Two local stars will also be honored at the theater in Deal: J. Laurence Lowenstein of Red Bank and Dr. Arthur Topilow of Ocean Township will receive the Axelrod Award for Artistic Excellence. “This lifetime achievement award is presented to two remarkably talented individuals who have made our community a better place through their significant contributions to the cultural life of central New Jersey,” said Axelrod CEO Jess Levy.

The annual event raises funds for cultural programming at the 520-seat center.

Callaway’s voice was Princess Jasmine in Disney’s Aladdin and she was also heard in The King of Thieves, The Return of Jafar, and Beauty and the Beast. She also recorded the Academy Award-nominated “Journey to the Past” from Disney’s Anastasia.

She received a Tony nomination for her Broadway performance in Baby and received a Drama Desk nomination for her Off-Broadway performance in The Spitfire Grill.

Callaway received an Emmy for hosting Ready To Go, a children’s program in Boston. Other TV credits include In Performance at the White House and The David Letterman Show. Her solo recordings include The Beat Goes On and Anywhere I Wander (The Music of Frank Loesser).

Blumenkrantz, a singer, actor, and songwriter originally from Monmouth County, performed in such Broadway shows as Into the Woods, Threepenny Opera, and How to Succeed in Business… (1995 Tony nominee) and on TV in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Will & Grace, and the Great Performances telecast of Candide in Concert.

He received a Best Original Score Tony nomination for his songs in Urban Cowboy, and he is a recipient of the Dramatists Guild Jonathan Larson Memorial Musical Theatre Fellowship. In 2005, he published “The Jeff Blumenkrantz Songbook Podcast.”

Lowenstein was cofounder of the theater department at Brookdale Community College, where he directed more than 100 shows, and was host of a series on the history of musical theater on Brookdale’s radio station. An accomplished concert pianist, Topilow is director of hematology/medical oncology at Jersey Shore University Hospital. He has played with Bernadette Peters, Dick Hyman, Steve Lippia, and the Cleveland Pops Orchestra, among many others.

The gala will include a champagne and hors d’oeuvres reception at 7 p.m., the performance at 8:30, and a dessert reception.

Tickets cost $180 per person; sponsorship opportunities are available. For more information, contact 732-531-9100, ext. 111.

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