Bay Ridge singers hope to bring 'Rhapsody' to crowds at fundraiser

The Rhapsody Players, the popular Bay Ridge-based singing group that performs the greatest hits from the 60s, 70s and 80s, will be harmonizing for a good cause – to help kids get a foothold in the theater.

The Rhapsody Players will be performing in a special “This One’s For You” concert on Saturday, April 26 at St. John's Episcopal Church Hall, at 99th Street and Fort Hamilton Parkway, at 8 p.m. to raise money for the Betty Kash Memorial Scholarship Fund, a program established by the Narrows Community Theater (NCT) that awards grants to eighth graders interested in the theater and performing arts.

Kash, who died two years ago, had been a member of Narrows Community Theater for many years. The theater company, established 40 years ago, is dedicated to bringing musicals and plays to Brooklyn audiences at affordable ticket prices. Kash loved working with kids, according to members of the Bay Ridge-based theater company, who said she had a boundless energy and a bubbly personality that drew young people to her like a magnet.

After Kash’s death, the Narrows Community Theater started the scholarship fund.

John Heffernan, a founder of the Rhapsody Players, said the singing group is looking forward to performing at the concert. “All of us in the Rhapsody Players have roots in NCT. A lot of us met years ago in a production of ‘Guys and Dolls.’ And we all loved Betty Kash. She was a big supporter of ours,” Heffernan told the Brooklyn Eagle.

Kash “had a keen eye for talent and presentation,” Heffernan said. “She was also a warm, accessible person.”

In addition to John Heffernan, the members of the Rhapsody Players are Eileen Monahan, Colleen Martin-McDonnell, Anthony Marino, Bernard Smith, Donna Heffernan and Kiernan Hamilton.

Ann Gubiotti, a spokeswoman for NCT, said the theater company is excited that the Rhapsody Players have agreed to raise money for the scholarship fund. “Many of the members have worked with NCT in the past. They worked with Betty, too,” she told the Eagle.

Kash’s family “is thrilled with the concert,” Gubiotti said.

The Rhapsody Players is a non-profit charitable group whose sole purpose is to raise funds for various organizations. “That’s all we do; raise money for people. We sing and then we leave money wherever we go,” Heffernan said.

The group recently performed in concert to raise money for the Francesco Loccisano Memorial Foundation, a charity that helps the families of children with cancer. The singers have also raised funds for Hurricane Sandy victims.

“Who has it better than us? We are people who get to sing the songs we love and help people at the same time,” Heffernan, 51, said.

The group performs about 10 concerts a year. “Last year, we raised more than $40,000,” Heffernan said.

The Betty Kash Scholarship is open to graduating eighth graders who have an interest in theater, dance and performing, and who intend to pursue an education in theater and performance in high school. The applications for this year’s scholarships must be submitted to NCT by the May 16 deadline. The winners will be announced at NCT’s June meeting.  

Students who are interested in applying for the scholarship can email Narrows Community Theater at [email protected] for an application.

Tickets for the Rhapsody Player's "This One's For You" concert are $20.00 per person. For reservations contact John Heffernan at [email protected] or call 646-335-2710. All of the proceeds from the concert will be donated to the Betty Kash Scholarship Fund.