Published On: Wed, Oct 23rd, 2019

Cabaret Stars Take the Stage to Support People with Disabilities

Jay Van Vechten and Rob Russell

Wick Theatre Fundraiser Supported the March 1, 2020 Festival for People with Special Needs

Boca Raton, FL – The world of cabaret was well-represented on October 11, 2019, when one shining star after another took the stage at the Wick Theatre in Boca Raton, FL, to showcase their talent and their love of the annual Boating and Beach Bash for People with Disabilities, now in its 12th year.

In tribute to the Bash’s co-founder Jay Van Vechten and in celebration of his 75th birthday, a roster of legendary performers put on a star studded  show, called “Cocktails, Canapes & Cabaret,” filled with song, dance and heart-felt sentiment. Bash Administrative Director and Van Vechten’s wife Lowell Van Vechten presented him with a humorous poem about aging, and a rendition of “Young At Heart,” sung by the event’s headliner, Kellye Cash.

Cash, a former Miss America and niece of icon Johnny Cash, kicked off the evening with her version of “Ring of Fire,” written by June Carter. Ms. Cash flew in from Nashville to host the evening. Cash was joined on stage by Sean McGibbon, Aaron Kemper, Rob Russell, Mason Pace, Meg Frost, the Hot Shoe Shuffle Boys, Michael Walters, and Lois Sage, who traveled from Orlando to salute her old friend from their cabaret days in New York City in the 1970s and 80s . The evening was directed by Johnathon Van Dyke, who is also directed Hot Shoe Shuffle, which runs through Nov. 10, 2019, at The Wick Theatre.

Broadway World columnist Stephen Sorokoff reviewed the fundraiser and wrote, “The evening reminded me of the days when you had those great variety shows during the Golden Years of television. A super talented celebrity host presenting a diversity of multi talented performers. It happened live at the Wick Theatre last night and these were the special singers and dancers who helped Jay Van Vechten celebrate his birthday and raise funds for the American Disabilities Foundation.” His full review can be read here. (

Van Vechten welcomed about 100 guests to his party, including Boca philanthropist Marleen Forkas, Jan McArt – First Lady of the Florida Stage,  County Commissioner Robert Weinroth and his wife Pam, TV personality Arlene Herson, and Boca Raton City Councilwoman Andrea O’Rourke and her husband George.

“Years ago, I developed a life motto: Don’t postpone joy,” said Van Vechten. “For me, the occasion of my 75th birthday felt like it was a day that should be celebrated in a full throttle, full-voiced way. In fact, Cocktails, Canapes & Cabaret exceeded my wildest expectations. I loved every minute of it.”

The 2020 Boating and Beach Bash ( will be held Sunday, March 1, 2020, at Spanish River Park in Boca Raton. In 2019, the free, family-fun festival welcomed approximately 6,000 guests for its 11th year.

Presented annually by the American Disabilities Foundation, the Boating and Beach Bash for People with Disabilities is held each March in Spanish River Park in Boca Raton, FL. The unique park straddles the ocean on one side and the Intracoastal Waterway on the other.  The festival brings together children, teens, adults, seniors and wounded warriors with every conceivable disability for an event unlike any other in the nation.  Everything at the Bash is FREE, including an all-day concert, a BBQ lunch, boat rides and dozens of attractions on the beach, in the park and on the water. For many guests it is their most anticipated outing of the year. Funding comes from national and local sponsors, along with community support.

The Boating and Beach Bash for People with Disabilities is sponsored by the Rotary Club of Downtown Boca Raton, Royal Palm Yacht & Country Club, the Boca Raton Resort & Club, the Marine Industries Association of Palm Beach County, Pepsico, Coldwell Banker, TD Bank, Douglas Elliman Realty, Ronald McDonald House Charities, Office Depot Foundation, Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Deerfield Beach and more than a dozen foundations, including title sponsor Harcourt M. and Virginia W. Sylvester Foundation, Inc., The Schmidt Family Foundation, Inc., the E.M. Lynn Foundation, Inc., the Landegger Family Charitable Trust, the Listen Learn Care Foundation and numerous private donations.  For more information about the Bash, write: The American Disabilities Foundation, Inc., PO Box 99, Boca Raton, FL 33429 or call 561.715.2622. Visit us at, or follow the Bash on Facebook at Boating and Beach Bash for People with Disabilities. To donate to the American Disabilities Foundation, Inc., write to the ADF, PO Box 99, Boca Raton 33429. Donations can also be made via PayPal on the Bash website.

Photos by Kelly Boyle

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