"For the first time in history," as the press agent blithely described it, a group of show business, financial, charity and diplomatic nabobs are putting together a theater benefit for Israel aimed at raising $50,000,000 in one night.
Called "Celebration 33," the May 11 event will include showings of the new movie "The Chosen," based on Chaim Potok's best-selling novel, at 1,000 theaters around the country, including about 30 in the Washington area, said press representative Joseph Friedman after a press conference yesterday in New York. More than 350 women from Jewish charity organizations such as Hadassah and Pioneer were flown to New York, joining at least 150 other from the New York area, to watch excerpts of the movie and hear a presentation on the benefit.
"The ladies will sell the tickets at $100 each," said Friedman. "We'll supply all the support services, advertising, professional public relations and so forth . . . We're going to raise more money in one night than is usually raised in a year."
The advance money is being supplied by the Rapid-American Corp., a $2.5 billion conglomerate that includes firms like Botany 500 and the Lerner Shops, Freidman said.
In addition to the 1,000 theaters, there will be four "centerpiece" theaters, including the Eisenhower Theater here, where tickets will cost $500 apiece.
The program will include a half-hour entertainment film made by producers also produced the feature film of the evening. "The Chosen." The short special film will include such stars as Frank Sinatra and Burt Reynolds reading excerpts of Jewish poetry and thought, Friedman said.
All porceeds will go to educational institutions in Israel.