The stars are falling on Fredericksburg.
Three world-renowned performers are joining forces for a truly one-of-a-kind evening, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to one of the 'Burg's most cherished charities.
"Concert of Hope" benefitting Loisann's Hope House is Saturday, May 2, at James Monroe High School Auditorium.
“We need to raise money for these children, mothers and the people who need help in the Fredericksburg community,” said acclaimed actress and performer Deborah Silver, and the brains behind “Concert of Hope.” “[Loisann’s Hope House] means so much to our community and this show means so much to me.”
Joining Silver and performing in the show will be Broadway veteran and the longtime, famed Matron Mama Morton from “Chicago,” Carol Woods, as well as singer, actor and the legendary Luke Duke on “The Dukes of Hazzard,” Tom Wopat.
Not only did Silver help ink in the lineup for the benefit show, but the “Loisann” in Loisann’s Hope House was very near and dear to her heart. In September 2014, Hope House officially became Loisann’s Hope House, named in loving memory of Silver’s sister-in-law, Loisann Silver Chacon, a Fredericksburg native and James Monroe graduate.
The renaming came as a result of the generosity of Deborah Silver’s husband, Larry. He pledged to pay for Hope House’s shelter mortgage. The cherry on top, Loisann herself embodied everything that Hope House stands for today.
Annually, Loisann’s Hope House helps hundreds of women and children, providing them with the resources needed to transition to independent living. The shelter houses up to 17 mothers and 46 children at a given time.
“Loisann was a social worker and dedicated her life to helping other people,” said Silver. “She would be so thrilled to know that her name is attached to something that breathes new life into area families. She was a woman with a big heart.”
The Silvers’ donation didn’t stop with a signature on a check. Deborah Silver wanted to do something more, so she rallied a few of her pals and got them on board for a trip to Fredericksburg.
“[Deborah] is a good friend of mine and I am really excited to do this,” said Wopat, who lives in New York City. “You can’t do enough to support local charities.”
Wopat has enjoyed a prosperous acting and singing career, hitting major music venues across the country and appearing in several Broadway productions. But, naturally, his “Hazzard” roots are always a topic of conversation.
Recently he paid homage to his "Hazzard" days, starring in an Autotrader.com commercial with Rob Schneider. And he always gets pure joy out of the new fans he seems to attract.
“I had instant recognition for a very long time,” said Wopat. “But now, it’s amazing to see the new generation of ‘Hazzard’ fans, some even 8 or 9 years old. It’s really cool.”
For the “Concert of Hope” benefit, Wopat will perform a 20-minute set, sprinkled with swing, pop and tunes from the Rat Pack days. A major theme of the evening will be the “Great American Songbook”—encompassing classic songs from the 1920s through 1960s—which Wopat will pull selections from as well.
“I’m looking forward to dedicating my 20 or so minutes of the show to lift people’s spirits,” added Woods, a resident of Pompano Beach, Fla., who has strong family ties to Richmond. “Art and music is something we can share to not only be uplifting but to rally people together.”
Woods recently attended a cabaret convention with Silver, where she was recruited to co-headline “Concert of Hope.” Her set will feature Broadway bits and blues.
Shortly after the benefit show, Woods will head off to Nashville to complete a new album—the latest in a storied career that has included a powerful Grammy performance, handfuls of Broadway credits and stints on “Law and Order” and “The Good Wife.”
Not to be outdone and certainly not lacking pizzazz, Silver plans to bring down the house with a little Broadway, Motown, country and pop of her own. It’s hard not to absorb the genuine talent when Silver’s onstage—she’s dipped her toes into everything from “A Chorus Line” on Showtime to soap operas like “Young and the Restless” and “Days of Our Lives.”
“In addition to our individual sets, all three of us will be coming together for a special performance as well,” added Silver.
In essence, that’s what “Concert of Hope” is all about—coming together.
Perhaps, with the right amount of community support, this concert can become an annual spectacle. And ultimately, hope can become that much more of a reality for our area families.
Jesse Scott is a freelance writer and Fredericksburg native.