New Jersey Stage

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Axelrod Performing Arts Center Welcomes Award Winning Broadway Stars to Monmouth County

(Deal, NJ) -- The Axelrod Performing Arts Center will honor celebrated masters of Broadway at the annual cocktail gala and performance on Saturday, March 12, 2011 located at 100 Grant Avenue in Deal, New Jersey. The unforgettable event kicks off with a festive champagne cocktail reception at 7:00 PM followed by a rare performance by Brian Stokes Mitchell at 8:30 PM. Tickets and sponsorship opportunities are available by contacting the ticket office at 732.531-9106. Proceeds benefit future arts and community initiatives of The Axelrod PAC. Visit for additional information.

The evening's performance will feature Tony Award Winner Brian Stokes Mitchell, star of such Broadway hits as "Ragtime", Man of La Mancha" and "Kiss Me Kate". Dubbed "The Last Leading Man" by the New York Times, Brian Stokes Mitchell has enjoyed a rich and varied career on Broadway, television and film, along with appearances in the great American concert halls.

Honorees for the evening will feature legendary Broadway geniuses and Monmouth County natives such as Jeff Blumenkrantz, Tony nominated Broadway Composer and Actor, Andrew Gans, senior editor of and Barry Habib, Broadway producer of Tony nominated "Rock of Ages".

Axelrod Gala Honorees 2011
Axelrod Awards for Artistic Excellence

Jeff Blumenkrantz began his career as an actor, performing in such Broadway shows as Into the Woods (1987), Threepenny Opera (1989), Damn Yankees (1994), How to Succeed in Business... (1995) and A Class Act (2001), and on TV/film in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Will & Grace, all three Law and Order series, and the Great Performances (PBS) telecast of Candide in Concert.

It was Audra McDonald's recording of his song "I Won't Mind" (lyrics by Annie Kessler and Libby Saines) that jump-started his songwriting career. Since then, he has received a Best Original Score Tony nomination for his songs in Urban Cowboy, and he contributed the song "I Think" to the acclaimed Off-Broadway production, The Audience. His one-act pieces, Woman with Pocketbook and Precious Little Jewel, have been performed at several regional theatres, and he has received song commissions from both Carnegie Hall and the Guggenheim's Works and Process program. Most recently, his songs have been recorded by Sutton Foster, Rebecca Luker, Megan Mullally, Victoria Clark, and Lauren Kennedy.

Andrew Gans has worked as a writer/editor for Playbill Magazine since 1992. He is currently Senior Editor of, where he is a reporter and author of the weekly column "Diva Talk," which offers interviews with and reviews about the women of the musical theater.

He has also written liner notes for several recordings, including "Betty Buckley 1967" and the "Broadway Scene Stealers" series. As a performer, he has sung at Manhattan's Town Hall as well as the cabarets Don't Tell Mama, Judy's, The Green Room and more.

Andrew is a graduate of this JCC's nursery school and, later, Brandeis University. Proud uncle of Sara and Rebecca, he resides in Manhattan with his not-so-miniature miniature dachshund, Gilligan.

Barry Habib is an American Entrepreneur. He is the Lead Producer, Managing Partner and majority shareholder in Rock of Ages - a musical theatrical production running on Broadway and Toronto, as well as Touring the US.

He is the Founder & Creator of Mortgage Market Guide, which helps to interpret and forecast activity in the mortgage rate and bond markets.

Barry previously founded Certified Mortgage Associates, a leading mortgage provider in Monmouth County, NJ. Barry had been consistently recognized as one of the Top 10 Loan Mortgage professionals in the US.

Barry is also a professional speaker on the financial markets, housing, negotiation, technical trading analysis, and motivation. During the past sixteen years, Barry's teachings have helped hundreds of thousands in attendance. Barry has also enjoyed a long tenure as a market expert on FOX and CNBC Networks, including his Monthly Mortgage Report show, which ran for 13 years on Squawk Box.

Along the way, Barry has successfully managed a Hedge Fund, authored a stock advisory newsletter, owned an insurance agency, and acted as managing partner in a real estate investment company.

Barry currently a Principal Managing Director in HIS - Health Care Imaging Solutions, a company which he helped create. HIS is doing important work in helping to detect early signs of cancer and heart disease.

As for hobbies, Barry has been featured in four Hollywood Movies, including "Barry Munday", "Sympathy for Delicious", "Lonely Street" and "Nic and Tristan Mega Dega".

The joys of Barry's life are his Wife and business partner Toni, as well as his four children, Dan, Nicole, Jake and Jared.

Gala Honorary Chairs:
Herbert and Evelyn Axelrod
Anne and Sheldon Vogel

Gala Event Chairs:
Donald Epstein
Bobbi Krantz
Toby Shylit Mack