Theo Bikel is having a Birthday Bash!
New York (April 16th): Broadway and folk legend Theodore Bikel, a lifelong social justice advocate, will celebrate a rich career devoted to art and activism with a star-studded 85th birthday benefit concert at Carnegie Hall on Monday, June 15, 2009.
The concert will benefit Juvenile Law Center, the pioneering, non-profit law firm dedicated to protecting the rights and well-being of children in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. Bikel will be joined by Alan Alda, Arlo Guthrie, Rosemary Harris, David Amram, Beyond the Pale, Artie Butler, Patricia Conolly, Judy Kaye, David Krakauer, Tom Paxton, Serendipity 4 (Shura Lipovsky, Merima Kljuco, Tamara Brooks, and Theodore Bikel), Noel Paul Stookey and Peter Yarrow, Susan Werner, and Michael Wex. Honorary committee co-chairs for the event include Barbara Cook, Frank Langella, Pete Seeger, John C. Whitehead, and Elie Wiesel.
Bikel made his Carnegie Hall debut in 1956 and went on to forge an extraordinary career as a musician, actor and activist. His stage and screen credits include such classic films as The African Queen and The Defiant Ones and the 1959 Broadway premiere of The Sound of Music, in which he originated the role of Captain Von Trapp. He has performed the role of Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof more than 2,000 times and is currently starring in a national tour of Sholom Aleichem: Laughter through Tears.
A leading light in the folk-music scene of the 1960s, Bikel was a co-founder of the Newport Folk Festival and has been a powerful advocate for peace, human rights, and social justice for more than five decades from the civil rights movements in the United States to apartheid in South Africa to promoting peace and religious pluralism among Israel and its neighbors.
“Throughout my life I have been equally passionate about music and social justice, and have allied myself with others whose use guitars, banjos, fiddles and words to conquer fear and injustice,” said Bikel. “I can think of no better way to celebrate that life than a night of music with some of my nearest and dearest friends, and no more deserving cause than protecting the rights of our nation’s most vulnerable children.”
All proceeds from the concert will go to Juvenile Law Center, which works to protect children’s rights and interests in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. Juvenile Law Center, which provides legal services at no cost to its clients, is currently heading litigation in the Luzerne County, Pennsylvania judges scandal, a court corruption case that has made international news as one of the most egregious violations of children’s rights in U.S. legal history. The organization’s work on the case was recently covered by 20/20, the New York Times, and People magazine.
“Theodore Bikel was at the forefront of the social justice movement that led to the creation of organizations like Juvenile Law Center, and we’re awed and honored that he chose to turn his 85th birthday celebration into an incredible gift for us,” said Robert Schwartz, Executive Director of Juvenile Law Center. “Theo is not only helping to promote the rights of people around the world, but also providing a true inspiration the vulnerable children who seek justice and protection.”
Tickets go on sale April 16th and range from $30 to $500. A pre concert VIP reception for performers to mingle with sponsors, major donors, and box seat ticket holders will be held in the Rohatyn Room at Carnegie Hall.
About Juvenile Law Center
Founded in 1975, Juvenile Law Center is the oldest multi-issue public interest law firm for children in the United States. With an approach grounded in principles of adolescent development, Juvenile Law Center uses the law on behalf of youth in the child welfare and criminal and juvenile justice systems to promote fairness, prevent harm, ensure access to appropriate services and create opportunities. Juvenile Law Center uses an array of legal and other advocacy strategies to ensure that the child welfare, juvenile justice, and other public systems provide vulnerable children with the protection and services they need to become healthy and productive adults. In 2008, Juvenile Law Center was one of eight organizations around the world to receive the prestigious John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Award for Creative and Effective Institutions.