Broadway Star Bruce Vilanch, Comedic Actor Wayne Brady and Sports Legend Billie Jean King Join Elton John For HIV/AIDS Awareness Concert and Fundraiser Philadelphia Freedom Concert & Ball
Friday June 24, 1:13 pm ET
PHILADELPHIA, June 24 /PRNewswire/ — With only days to go before the landmark HIV/AIDS awareness event and fundraiser, the PHILADELPHIA FREEDOM CONCERT AND BALL, headlined by Sir Elton John on July 4 in Philadelphia, organizers today announced the addition of Broadway star Bruce Vilanch and comedic actor Wayne Brady as co-hosts for the event, and sports legend Billie Jean King as a presenter. The three join a lineup that includes Canadian rock n’ roll icon BRYAN ADAMS (the first artist to open the American side of Live Aid in Philadelphia), R&B diva PATTI LABELLE, broadcasting legend WALTER CRONKITE, PETER NERO AND THE PHILLY POPS, and singer/songwriter RUFUS WAINWRIGHT.
With an expected audience of 1.5 million, the SUNOCO PHILADELPHIA FREEDOM CONCERT is slated to be the largest, FREE outdoor HIV/AIDS awareness event ever held. Scheduled to kick off at 8:25pm in front of the renowned Philadelphia Museum of Art, capped by a fireworks display, the event will be preceded by the PHILADELPHIA FREEDOM BALL fundraiser, from 5 to 8pm in the main atrium of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, featuring appearances by the celebrity performers. Tickets to the Ball, as well as VIP tickets to the concert, are still available. Proceeds from the event will support the Elton John AIDS Foundation, which raises global awareness and resources for HIV/AIDS prevention and care services, and the Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld Fund, which will allocate funds to Philadelphia region HIV/AIDS service provider organizations. Funds are being raised through sponsorship, tickets to the Ball and concessions at the event.
Emmy award-winning WAYNE BRADY is known for hosting “The Wayne Brady Show” for two years, and previously for his improvisational skills on ABC’s “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” for which he won an Emmy and earned four Emmy nominations. In May 2003, he served as host of the Daytime Emmy Awards, where Brady and his series took home the top talk show honors and his performance resulted in TV Guide dubbing him “the so-talented-it’s-scary Wayne Brady.”
Currently starring on Broadway as Edna Turnblad in Hairspray, BRUCE VILANCH is one of the most sought-after comedy writers working today, having written for the “Quadruple Crown” of awards shows – the Oscars, Emmys, Tonys and Grammys – and co-writing 15 Academy Awards telecasts and winning six Emmy Awards. Vilanch is also known for his four seasons on “Hollywood Squares” and for his one-man show, as well as for his charitable work, including AIDS Project Los Angeles, Project Angel Food, AIDS Healthcare Foundation, Project Inform and countless others as part of his personal contribution to surviving what he terms “the plague.”
Sports legend, and member of the Elton John AIDS Foundation board, BILLIE JEAN KING has long been a champion for social change and equality, creating new inroads for women in and out of sports during her stellar career. One of the most illustrious and celebrated tennis players in history, King is recognized for spearheading the women’s movement in tennis and for her lifelong struggle for equality in women’s tennis. She empowered women and educated men when she defeated Bobby Riggs in one of the greatest moments in sports history – the Battle of the Sexes in 1973. In 1990, Life magazine named her one of the “100 Most Important Americans of the 20th Century.” In 1994, she ranked No. 5 on Sports Illustrated’s “Top 40 Athletes” list for significantly altering or elevating sports the last four decades. Heralded as an ardent defender of equal rights for all, King continues to work to inspire all in the pursuit of excellence through her foundation, Billie Jean King World TeamTennis Charities.
One of the world’s most beloved music icons, Sir Elton John last performed solo in Philadelphia for the opening gala of the Kimmel Center for Performing Arts in December 2001. In 1992, Sir Elton, who serves as its Chairman, established the Elton John AIDS Foundation. With offices in Los Angeles and London, the Foundation is an international non-profit organization that provides funding for prevention education programs and direct patient care services supporting men, women, young adults, children, infants, minorities and entire families living with HIV/AIDS. Since its inception, the Foundation has distributed more than $50 million in grants worldwide.
The Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld Fund was established in 2004 to fund programs that foster education about HIV/AIDS, fight prejudice and discrimination, or deliver services to people living with or at risk for HIV/AIDS, with a mission of translating the best of contemporary social and medical science into change that protects, enhances, and saves lives. Hirschfeld was a German Jewish lawyer and activist who founded the first gay rights organization in history, launching the movement in Europe over 100 years ago.
Tickets to the Philadelphia Freedom Ball range from $1000 – $2500 per person, and are being sold on a first-come, first-served basis as quantity is limited. VIP Concert tickets are available for $500. Tickets may be purchased by calling 800. 917. 4389 or by visiting www.phillyfreedom.net.
For travel information and special Philly Freedom Hotel packages, visit www.gophila.com
For more information on the PHILADELPHIA FREEDOM CONCERT & BALL, the Magnus Hirschfeld Fund, or to purchase tickets or make donations, please visit www.phillyfreedom.net or call 1.800.917.4389.