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Day-long SOPAC Fundraiser Gala Set for Saturday

South Orange natives like Zach Braff, Lauryn Hill and Max Weinberg will take part in "Small Town, Big Talent."

On Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., SOPAC is presenting "Small Town, Big Talent," a day-long fundraiser event featuring locally-grown talent. There are events ranging from a film screening to onstage conversations to a community sing-along, capped off by a gala performance at 8 p.m.

The lineup of events features South Orange natives Lauryn Hill, Zach Braff and Max Weinberg but also includes Broadway stars, musicians, TV personalities and other local talent.

Here's a list of some of the performers/participants and where they're from:

Budd Mishkin of NY1 (South Orange); Christiane Noll, 2010 Tony nominee (Maplewood); Kelly Bishop, Tony winner (South Orange); Christine Ebersole, two-time Tony winner (Maplewood); Max Weinberg, drummer, member of the E Street Band (South Orange native); Zach Braff, TV/film actor and director (South Orange native); AJ Calloway, EXTRA correspondent (South Orange native); Tim Squyres, award-winning film editor (Maplewood); Nat Adderly, Jr., pop/blues arranger (West Orange); Lydia Johnson Dance, SOPAC's resident dance company; Jessica Kirson, comedienne (Livingston); Bill Charlap and Renee Rosnes, jazz pianists (West Orange); and Sarah Partridge, jazz vocalist (South Orange).

The event is dedicated to the memory of South Orange resident Jonathan Felsman, who succumbed to cancer last year. In his honor, SOPAC will bestow the 2010 Jonathan Felsman Spirit Award to traffic control officer Butch Larkin.  Awards will also be given to former New Jersey Secretary of State Nina Mitchell Wells and founding SOPAC Chair of the Board Barbara Stoller.

Below is a list of the day's events:

COMMUNITY SING-ALONG: SONGS FROM AROUND THE WORLD, 11 a.m.; Tickets: $20 Adults/$10 Children Age 10 and Under

Join your neighbors in a community sing-along featuring songs from around the world. Guest artists include: Marafanyi Drum, Dance & Song, three NJ-based female drummers who fuse West African rhythms and dance; today's hottest adult-friendly kiddie pop musician Rebecca Frezza; and South Orange's own singer/songwriter Peri Smilow.

FILM WORKSHOP & SCREENING, noon to 4 p.m.; Tickets: Workshop & Screening $25/$18 Students & Seniors; Workshop Only $18/$12 Students & Seniors; Screening Only $12/$10 Students & Seniors

"Rachel Getting Married" Screening & Discussion, noon

Augmenting the afternoon's editing workshop with Maplewood resident Tim Squyres, SOPAC presents a screening of Squyres's recent project, "Rachel Getting Married," a 2008 film starring Anne Hathaway. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with Squyres.

Film Editing Workshop with Tim Squyres, 3 p.m.

Join award-winning editor Tim Squyres for a workshop about film editing. The editor of movies including "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," "Syriana," "The Ice Storm," "Sense & Sensibility" and "Gosford Park," Squyres will present a workshop appropriate for laymen and budding film editors alike.

CLASS OF '93: ARTIST TALK with ZACH BRAFF & AJ CALLOWAY, 1 p.m.; Tickets: $25/$10 Children Ages 15 and Under

Columbia High School's Class of 1993 was a group of budding artists, and two alumni return to South Orange for this afternoon talk at SOPAC. NY1's Budd Mishkin conducts interviews with TV ("Scrubs") and film actor/director/producer ("Garden State") Zach Braff and veteran broadcaster/journalist and EXTRA correspondent AJ Calloway. 

ARTIST TALK with MAX WEINBERG, 3 p.m.; Tickets: $25/$10 Children Ages 15 and Under

"The attainment of everything a twelve year old drummer from the suburbs of Jersey ever dared to dream," says Max Weinberg of his work of 36 years with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. He currently leads the 15-member Max Weinberg Big Band, known for its tenure on The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien. Host Budd Mishkin of NY1 sits down with Weinberg for an intimate one-on-one.

SOPAC ANNUAL BENEFIT CONCERT, 6 p.m. VIP Reception with Artists & Silent Auction; 8 p.m. Performance and Celebration; 10 p.m. Post-Performance Dessert Reception; See the event listing for ticketing info.

SOPAC's annual benefit gala spotlights both local talent and humanitarians. Performances by: Lauryn Hill; Broadway stars Christine Ebersole, Kelly Bishop, Christiane Noll, Joanna Young, Sandy Rustin, Charlie Pollock and Jamie LaVerdiere; musical artists Max Weinberg, Bill Charlap, Renee Rosnes, Nat Adderley, Jr., Suzzanne Douglas and Sarah Partridge; SOPAC's residence dance company Lydia Johnson Dance; and comedienne Jessica Kirson. Directed by Jeremy Dobrish, the evening will be hosted by NY1's Budd Mishkin to be joined by Zach Braff and AJ Calloway.

To purchase tickets or for more info, visit www.SOPACnow.org or call 973-313-ARTS.

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