Since 1978, the West Bank Cafe has been an integral part of the NYC theatre district—the dining room a hotspot for pre- and post-show gatherings and the downstairs Laurie Beechman Theater an oft-booked cabaret space. However, due to the pandemic's affects on Broadway and NYC tourism, owner Steve Olsen is faced with potential permanent closure of the 42nd Street restaurant.
Enter producers Tom and Michael D'Angora, the Off-Broadway producing team behind NEWSical The Musical and The Marvelous Wondrettes who know how to put on a show. Along with writer and West Bank loyalist Joe Iconis, the team has planned a Christmas Day “Virtual Telethon” featuring a lineup of talent near and dear to the hotspot (and vice versa).
Among those scheduled to participate are Nathan Lane, Matthew Broderick, Betty Buckley, Debra Messing, Alice Ripley, Megan Hilty, Kerry Butler, Telly Leung, Leslie Kritzer, Lewis Black, Iconis, and many more.
With the telethon and a GoFundMe page, the group hopes to raise enough funds to keep the West Bank Cafe afloat until in-person dining and live performances resume in 2021. Watch here beginning at noon EST.