On Saturday, March 23 at 7 p.m., Axial Theatre and HMActing will present “An Evening of Note,” a benefit event that will host the showing of a special film tribute created specifically for the theatre company to pay homage to veteran journalist, theatre critic and arts advocate Robert Heisler (1952 – 2012).
Heisler’s dedication to his profession, to theatre, to the arts and to his family are brought to life through candid interviews conducted by Axial board member and current HMActing student Roslyn Abrams, newscaster, with a few of the many colleagues and friends whose lives he touched deeply: ArtsWestchester CEO Janet Langsam; Peter Kramer, senior arts & entertainment editor, Journal News; Axial Theatre Artistic Director Howard Meyer; content creator Bruce Apar who worked with Heisler at the Syracuse University campus newspaper The Daily Orange; and Gayle Williams, editor, formerly with Newsday and The Journal News, now with Consumer Reports.
As Langsam notes, “Bob loved the arts, talked about the arts…inhaled the arts…” Meyer says, “The loss was …of a true blue theatre lover who knew how to look at theatre, talk about theatre …and who was a friend.”
Heisler’s career began at Syracuse University and spanned work at the Daily News, Newsday; New York Post; the Journal News and more. He also worked at York College, Purchase College, Arts in Crisis, the Institute for Justice and ArtsWestchester.
Upon his passing, Daily News editor-in-chief Colin Myler said, “Bob Heisler was a man of immense integrity, humor and above all a beloved colleague.”
His daughter, opera singer Sarah Heisler said, “My father was, simply put, the best and greatest man I’ve ever known.”
Axial Theatre will announce a scholarship fund dedicated to Heisler’s memory at the event.
The Axial benefit will also feature cabaret-style entertainment ranging from classic pieces performed by Westchester choral pianist Dan Forman (currently an HMActing student) to blues and jazz tunes sung by Axial Songbirds Ann Gulian and Aisling Mulhern-Dono; gourmet fare – hors d’oeuvres and desserts; a live auction hosted by Roslyn Abrams for such items as a week-long stay at a B & B in Ireland; dancing to a DJ; and Tarot readings by Axial member Gail Greenstein. The event chairs are Axial members Ann Gulian and Lori Franzese.
Forman has performed extensively as chamber musician, soloist and accompanist in Maine, New York, California, Florida and Trosa, Sweden. Known throughout Westchester, he has accompanied the area All-State and All-County annual chorus performances at Purchase College, is the choral performance accompanist for the White Plains, Byram
Hills and Yorktown Heights high schools and a private piano teacher.
A former faculty member of the New England Music Camp in Sidney, Maine, he is the long-term concert program director and former president of the board of the Friends of the Library at the John C. Hart Library in Shrub Oak. Forman is currently enrolled as a student in HMActing.
Singer/songwriter Ann Gulian has been praised for her ability to “meld ‘classic’ hooks with real emotion- using her voice to color in the spaces." Show stopping balladeer Aisling Mulhern wowed audiences at Axial’s production of The Wild Party, a 1920s dramatic poem.
Founded in 1999, Axial Theatre is a professional theatre company dedicated to bringing original works by local artists – both known and unknown – to the stage in spring and fall productions each year. Axial’s drama school, HMActing, provides beginner through master acting classes for teens through adults as well as playwriting classes and workshops in such areas as voice, movement, and improvisation.
Tickets for the benefit are $35. The benefit will take place at the theatre company’s space at 8 Sunnyside Ave., St. John’s
Episcopal Church in Pleasantville, New York.
For reservations, please call 1-800-838-3006; http://axial2013soiree.bpt.me/.