The tale of the creation of STAGE is as heartwarming as its performances. Back in 1984, during a time of mass fear and confusion regarding AIDS, a small group of friends in the theatre community came together in an effort to combat the devastating impact of HIV/AIDS on their friends and family. The event was created by actor/writer/director Michael Kearns and the late writer/director James Carroll Pickett in a coffeeshop in Silverlake, California. The two approached the accomplished director David Galligan, who signed on immediately and has continued to direct STAGE ever since.
When asked about his ongoing commitment to the event, Galligan responded, "STAGE gives back in every sense." He described the common bond between the performers when they all gather together backstage. "It is the most loving place you'll ever be other than your mother's arms because of why everyone has come together with what we hope to achieve. I think most would agree that it is the best time of our lives because it has such meaning." The theatrical community has enthusiastically responded ever since, and STAGE, the world's longest running AIDS benefit, has become a venue for the community to raise consciousness while expressing love, concern, sadness, and support. Since its inception in 1984, STAGE has raised millions of dollars for HIV/AIDS services and charities throughout Southern California, including:
Directed and Staged by
Betty Garrett (Longtime Event Chair)