El Camino Union
Celebrities illuminate the Road Ahead
By: Erika Maldonado
Hollywood came to the college, Sept. 25 as the sold out celebrity benefit event, “The Road Ahead” debuted at the Campus Theatre, Foundation Board Director David Kartsonis said
The night was hosted by comedic writer Bruce Vilanch. It featured an eclectic cast of film and TV celebrities reading and performing inspirational poems and excerpts from various scripts, books and other literary works. Cedering Fox, artistic director, said the performance was directed and cast by her company, WordTheatre.
“It was very inspiring. It was crazy to see so many familiar celebrities in the same room. I also liked how the music tied in so well with the stories,” Lily Vasquez, 22, business major said. Vasquez heard of the event through her theater professor.
In addition to the $25 million contribution to California community colleges by the Bernard Osher Foundation last year, the Osher Foundation also agreed to a 1 to 2 match on every additional dollar contributed to colleges. The main objective of “The Road Ahead” event was to contribute toward this initiative, Rachael Kartsonis, foundation board director said.
The event raised more than $3,000.
From surviving concentration camps in Auschwitz and the gang-infested streets of L.A., to recovering from debilitating injuries; stories of overcoming adversity and achieving success were read by actors such as Adrian Pasdar, Justin Chambers, CCH Pounder, John Heard, Johnny Simmons and Jon Huertas.
“It’s important to always give back. If I can do what I love to do and raise money and awareness for a great cause like education, then I’m there,” Huertas said. Huertas plays a detective on the ABC-TV series “Castle.”
In between the diverse stories told by Hollywood actors were musical selections by chorale members and a house band.
With songs such as R. Kelly’s, “I Believe I Can Fly,” “Don’t Stop Believing” by the ’80s band, Journey, and the Motown hit, “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” the night was uplifting and empowering, Christopher Craig, 21, psychology major said.
“We got a lot of positive feedback. It was hectic because we only had a week to prepare, but everything went smoothly. A lot of people came up to me after and told me they were really touched by what we did,” Craig said.
Craig and a handful of other singers and musicians worked with Fox to prepare the music for the event that tied in with the script. Craig was originally asked to perform solos, but thought that a choir and a band would add more to the event.
The campus was transformed into a night fit for Hollywood with heavy security by police and several recognizable celebrities floating around campus. The VIP reception, held in the quad of the Music Building, featured multi-colored LED lights reflecting on walls with a large projection of the EC logo commanding an entire wall.
“The event is a different format. It’s something you don’t see a lot so it’s hard to explain. We tried to market it the best we could, but we’re hoping with it being such a success this year, more people will hear about it. Our hopes are to be able to move it to the Marsee next year and raise even more money,” Rachael said.
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