Record-Setting Night of Comedy With Performances by
Lewis Black, Bill Burr, Dane Cook, Billy Gardell and John Oliver
and Hosted by Steve Schirripa
NEW YORK, March 30, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- MSG Entertainment (MSGE) (Nasdaq:MSG) and The Garden of Dreams Foundation announced today that its sold-out comedy event, Garden of Laughs, raised nearly $1.4 million to aid the Foundation's efforts to make dreams come true for children in need, making it the most successful fundraiser in Garden of Dreams' history.
Garden of Laughs, which took place on Saturday, March 28 at The Theater at Madison Square Garden, featured stand-up sets from comedy stars Lewis Black, Bill Burr, Dane Cook, Billy Gardell and John Oliver. Comedian JB Smoove, also scheduled to appear, had a death in the family and could not attend. The event was hosted by Steve Schirripa and included a collection of esteemed entertainers and sports icons serving as celebrity presenters: Will Arnett, Dominic Chianese, Chad Coleman, Gerry Cooney, Victor Cruz, Michael J. Fox, Glenn Frey, Rod Gilbert, Whoopi Goldberg, Adam Graves, Adam Horovitz, Darryl McDaniels, Theo Rossi, Tony Sirico and Ben Stiller. As he was for the first edition in 2013, Rory Rosegarten was the Executive Producer of this year's Garden of Laughs.
"The 2015 Garden of Laughs was a hugely successful event and memorable night of comedy – all to benefit children of the tri-state area," said Barry Watkins, chairman of the Garden of Dreams Foundation. "We are extremely grateful for the support we received from the comedians and celebrity presenters who donated their time and talent. We also want to thank their managers, along with sponsors, donors and every fan that purchased a ticket. Garden of Laughs demonstrated once again how we can use the unique power of our company to raise awareness and money so the Foundation can continue to assist children facing obstacles."
As part of the event, model, television host, dancer and humanitarian Damaris Lewis was presented with the Garden of Dreams Foundation's Hero Award. Lewis was honored for her inexhaustible efforts in support of GDF, which have included serving as chairwoman for the Foundation's inaugural Prom and taking leadership roles in marquee events such as the annual Talent Show and Dream Weeks.
"Garden of Laughs was a night that none of us will ever forget," said Schirripa. "All of the comedians flat-out killed it. The packed crowd laughed for over two hours. Best of all, the night was a huge success for Garden of Dreams, which I've seen firsthand perform incredible service to children from our area. To shatter the record for raising the most money in GDF history is really humbling for everyone involved."
The Foundation's biggest single-night fundraiser previously was the inaugural Garden of Laughs in 2013, which raised almost $1 million. The next edition of Garden of Laughs is expected to take place in 2017.
Several items from the online Charitybuzz auction are still up for bid until Tuesday, March 31, 2015 at 4:00 p.m. EDT via Charitybuzz.com, including once-in-a-lifetime experiences and concert tickets.
"We especially want to acknowledge Steven Mazzilli, Chris Mazzilli, Robert Hartmann, Rick Dorfman and Matt Frost for their sincere efforts over the last several months," said Rosegarten and Watkins. "They were instrumental in making this a magical night of comedy to benefit Garden of Dreams."
The Garden of Dreams Foundation is a non-profit organization that works with The Madison Square Garden Company to bring the magic of MSG – including MSG Entertainment, the Knicks, Rangers, Liberty and MSG Networks – to children facing obstacles. Since its inception in 2006, Garden of Dreams has created enduring programs and once-in-a-lifetime experiences that have brought joy and happiness to more than 250,000 children and their families.
The Foundation works with 25 partner organizations throughout the tri-state area – including hospitals, wish organizations and community-based organizations – to reach children who are facing challenges such as homelessness, extreme poverty, illness and foster care. Driven by its commitment to truly change lives, Garden of Dreams conducts more than 500 events each year. Through its Garden of Dreams Giving program, the Foundation also provides resources to its partner organizations to help them meet critical needs in their service to children. This includes direct support of scholarships, and tangible, targeted community projects such as hospital refurbishments and community center refurbishments.
The Garden of Dreams Foundation
The Garden of Dreams Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charity that works with The Madison Square Garden Company (MSG) to positively impact the lives of children facing obstacles. Through ongoing programs that use the magic of MSG – including the Knicks, the Rangers, the Liberty, MSG Entertainment and MSG Networks – the Foundation develops strong, long-term relationships that truly change lives. Since its inception in September 2006, Garden of Dreams has created thousands of once-in-a-lifetime experiences that have brought joy and happiness to more than 250,000 children and their families, including those facing homelessness, extreme poverty, illness and foster care. For more information, visit www.GardenofDreamsFoundation.org.
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