Strengthening Families Since 1854

Forestdale, a child welfare agency headquartered in Queens, is a non-profit organization dedicated to strengthening the inner-city families of Queens that dates back more than 150 years. Their involvement in the community allows them to touch the lives of nearly 1,000 New York City families each year with programs like; Foster Care, Teen Parents in Action (Teen Health Clinic), Family Crisis Intervention (Preventive), their nationally-recognized Fathering Initiative, and their Educational Excellence and Workforce Development Initiative.

Last week over a hundred people danced to music by celebrity DJ Teal, viewed a gallery showcase from the Forestdale youth, bid on silent auction items donated by friends of Forestdale, sipped coctails, and enjoyed passed hors d’oevers and musical performances by Broadway actors Maura Kelly, Pamela Stein, and Nick Tangorra in support of Forestdale’s annual gala event at Stitch Bar in NYC.

Broadway actors Maura Kelly and Pamela Stein

Reverend Dr. Alfonso Wyatt gave the invocation and Benefit Chair Sinead Whelan and Executive Director Anstiss Agnew welcomed everyone to the event, then special attention was given to Peter Vallone(Former NYC Council Speaker) and Jetblue Airways for their support. Jetblue Airways has helped them build a playground for children in foster care and those experiencing a family crisis, helped them send teens on college tours, and hosted a toy drive for children without families and for families living in shelters. Forestdale received a big surprise when representatives from JetBlue informed them they would be receiving $25,000 to help with assist more students and families.

Executive Director Anstiss Agnew with a rep from Jetblue Airways

Executive Director Anstiss Agnew with Peter Vallone

The silent auction had lots of cool items to bid on from a necklace and earring set donated by Mina D, Mets and Yankees tickets, throwback jerseys from Patrick Ewing and , a signed baseball by David Wright (NY Mets), and lots of other goodies.

The event was so much fun to attend and I learned a lot about the organization and how they plan to impact their community in a positive way. Forestdale’s goal is to break the intergenerational cycle of poverty, homelessness and despair that cycle through multiple generations of our country – the wealthiest in the world. In order to effect systemic change, our society must come together and create a corps of volunteers as a human safety net.

For more information about Forestdale visit their website at

Love AGT :)

“Dog Park” a comedy for dog lovers

TheaterSmarts to present “Dog Park” a comedy for dog lovers.

Written & Directed by Maura Kelley

January 25 to February 12, 2012

The Drilling Company Theater, 236 West 78th Street, NYC

Presented by TheaterSmarts

Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8:00 PM; Sundays at 3:00 PM

Tickets $18 general admission. Actors Equity Showcase.

Running time 85 minutes.

Do you love dogs? Love comedy? Theater? Are you an advocate for green space?

Then Dog Park is just for you!

Dog Park takes place in an Upper West Side dog park that is being closed due to an evil real estate tycoon’s commercialization project.  This colorful array of dog owners that span from an out-of-work opera singing, Maltese owner to a gay Frenchie owning couple,  They all not only fight back to ensure their dogs have a place to run and play but also are advocates for green space. This play spoofs iconic figures and is filled with madcap physical comedy. It also demonstrates useful tactics that communities use to fight for their cause: petitions, “poop” protests, dog kidnappings and as well as an all night stakeout along the vein of “Occupy Dog Park”.

This cast of ten includes:

Willy Alvarez, *Walter Cline, Kali Katzman, *Zander Meisner, Kim St. Clair, Cem Uyanik, & Adam Zuniga….as the dog lovers. *Ken Bolander, Channing Brauer, and *Adam Le Bow … as the evil commercial enterprise.

* denotes members of Actors Equity Association.

Costumes design by Rachel Sole. Lighting design by Jeff Greenberg. Sound design by Tyler Easter. Set design by Maura Kelley and Dan Teachout. Stage management by Miguel Mediola & Kristine Schlachter.

I had an opprotunity to interview Maura and then met her at the Cocktail That Care event earlier this month. During the interview I found out that Maura is a playwright, director, artist, and a dog lover. The biggest influence in her life has been her mother, who is a constant support. She grew up with 4 pugs in Philadelphia and move to to New York City to pursue her career. Maura began her career as a performer (AEA) working in mostly musicals and comedies and performing regularly with Gotham City Improv doing improv & sketch comedy.

About 7 years ago decided to add a an adorable french bull dog, named Picasso to her family, who is part of the inspiration for her current play. She would take Picasso to dog parks, on doggy play dates, and to meet up groups. Through these experiences she was able to interact with other dogs lovers and hear their concerns. Check out more info on Maura and her work at

Being interviewed by Chance at Cocktails That Care

I’m planning to see a performance next Saturday night. To get your tickets to “Dog Park” click here.

For Media Inquiries or for review tickets please contact:

Bridget K. H. O’Brien

CEO and Founder

Bridget O’Brien PR and Events

(917) 733-3617

Love AGT :)

Another Night of Cocktails and Dancing with “Cocktails That Care”

Monday I had the opportunity to attend another Cocktails That Care event. This time it was in support of two causes; the charity Bideawee and the production of “Dog Park”.

@ Libation wearing Ping and Sassy

Bideawee’s Mission is to promote and support safe, loving, long-term relationships between people and companion animals by providing a continuum of services and programs that are innovative, personalized, and of high quality. They hope to break the cycle of unwanted or abandoned pets in our world.

Dog Park” written & directed by Maura Kelley takes place in an Upper West Side dog park that is being closed due to an evil real estate tycoon’s commercialization project. This play spoofs iconic figures and is filled with madcap physical comedy. It also demonstrates useful tactics that communities use to fight for their cause: petitions, “poop” protests, dog-nappings, and an all-night stakeout in the vein of “Occupy Dog Park.”

The Oxygen Network taped portions of the event for the TV Show Jersey Couture and a one hour open bar was hosted by Bootlegger Vodka with appetizers courtesy of Libation. Vendors lined the walls with treats for and clothing for dogs, clothing from Ping and Sassy and The NYC Fashionista, and yummy chocolates from Yes Chocolates (I had the chocolate dipped brownie pop – YUM!), and the always fabulous DJ Teal kept everyone dancing all night long.

Maura Kelly being interviewed by ChanceTV

Other entertainment throughout the evening included; Lasso twirler, juggler and unicyclist–Harry Moeller, formerly of Ringling Bros Circus & Britney Spears “Circus” tour, Carla Rhodes-Rock ‘N Roll Ventriloquist, and hit singer/songwriter Christy Thompson. Special guests appearances were also made by Xtah C Extraordinaire, The Cast of Doggie Moms, Anthony Scali Star of Jersey Couture, and , American Idol Finalist Julie Zorrilla. Check out more pictures from the event below!

Check out even more pictures on my Facebook Page and click the like button while you’re there. I can’t wait until the next Cocktails That Care event! Maybe I’ll see you there :)

Love AGT :)