Algonquin Arts

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Contact David Applegate
(732) 528-3735 or [email protected]

High-Ranking Friends & Family Join Stars Honoring Father Alphonse Stephenson

June 2, 2009

Where: The Mill at Spring Lake Heights
When: Thursday, June 25, 2009 at 6 pm
Ticket Price: $125
For Tickets: 732-528-9211

Manasquan, NJ - The Pope’s representative to the United Nations, New Jersey’s highest-ranking military leader, dozens of Shore area dancers, the honoree’s parents and two of his favorite singers have joined the growing “cast” of celebrities set to toast, roast and entertain Father Alphonse Stephenson at the Algonquin Arts benefit honoring the multi-talented priest. The gala at The Mill in Spring Lake Heights on Thursday evening, June 25, 2009 starts at 6 pm with a silent auction and open bar. A grand dinner will be served at 7:15, followed by the star-studded entertainment.

His Excellency, the Most Reverend Celestino Migliori, titular archbishop of Canosa, Apostolic Nuncio, and Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the U.N., will bless the event and its honoree. Brigadier General Maria Falca-Dodson, adjutant general of the New Jersey Air National Guard, directly responsible for the management of almost 9,000 Army and Air National Guard forces in the Garden State, will salute the man she commands as Colonel Stephenson in his chaplaincy. The musical side of the “must-see” maestro will be celebrated by tenor Eddie Perretti of Patterson, NJ and Father Alphonse’s “sister of choice” soprano Maria Zito-Kaufman of Cream Ridge, NJ. Father Alphonse’s parents, Jean and Russell Stephenson of Brick, NJ, will provide insights into the precocious youth of their son. And a special surprise is being planned by the Manasquan-based Dan Barris & Ocean Dance Force.

Archbishop Migliori, a native of the Piedmont region of Italy, is a venerated veteran of the Holy See’s diplomatic service. His international posts have included Angola, Washington, DC, Poland and France. From1995 to 2002, he served as Under-Secretary of the Secretariat of State at the Vatican.

Brigadier General Falca-Dodson, a veteran of multiple overseas deployments, includes among her many other responsibilities being chair of the Long Range Planning Executive Committee and the Weapons of Mass Destruction Advisory Panel.

Eddie Peretti is a featured performer with the Orchestra of St. Peter’s by the Sea, the 45-member professional orchestra founded and conducted by Father Alphonse. Among his credits, Mr. Peretti is well remembered for his costuming at the Orchestra’s annual Spooktacular concerts in downtown Manasquan’s Algonquin Arts Theatre.

Maria Zito-Kaufman is a professional soprano whose repertoire ranges from lyric opera to musical comedy, along with a strong background in religious music. For nearly 20 seasons, she has appeared with the Orchestra of St Peter by the Sea at the annual Festival of the Atlantic on the beach at Point Pleasant, on stage at the Algonquin Arts Theatre and at the Orchestra’s Carnegie Hall performance in 2001. A tireless volunteer, Ms. Zito-Kaufman continues to aid various charities, including the Vatican’s Path to Peace Foundation, the NJ Veterans Home in Menlo Park and St. Cecelia’s Church in Woodbridge.

Dan Barris & Ocean Dance Force are based at the Algonquin Arts Performing Arts Center, directly adjacent to the Theatre.

Emcee Jack Ford of Spring Lake also will be calling on the talents of three Broadway luminaries: Tony and Emmy winner Don Pippin, Tony-nominee Lee Roy Reams and Chorus Line cast member Kevin Spirtas to entertain their old friend. The three stars have known Father Alphonse since the days when the Roman Catholic priest was conducting an orchestra he founded at The Actors Chapel near Broadway and when Father Alphonse Stephenson was the conductor for 3,000 performances of A Chorus Line.

Tickets to Algonquin Arts’ annual benefit honoring Father Alphonse Stephenson are $125, tax-deductible to the extent of IRS law, and must be reserved in advance. For more information or to reserve your tickets, please contact the box office at 732-528-9211 or [email protected] The hours for the Box Office, located at 173 Main Street in downtown Manasquan, are Monday-Friday from 9 am to 5 pm and Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm. Honorary Chairs of this event are Tamar Tolchin and Diane Turton.

Algonquin Arts was founded in 1992 as a nonprofit organization to provide cultural enrichment and educational enhancement of the highest quality for the residents of New Jersey’s central region. Programming of Algonquin Arts is made possible as a result of the continued philanthropic support of private citizens and organizations such as New Jersey State Council on the Arts, OceanFirst Foundation, New Jersey Cultural Trust, Horizon Foundation for New Jersey, PNC Foundation, Manasquan Savings Bank, Woman’s Club of Brielle, Bank of America, Frank and Lydia Bergen Foundation, Investors Savings Bank Charitable Fund, Verizon Foundation, Janice & Jules Plangere III, as well as many generous individuals and local businesses.