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Lunch Around the World 2008 - Manhattan
LATW- Manhattan organizer Sue Jacobs traces the history of the Manhattan chapter of the group. (MLB.com)
News from LATW- Manhattan Style
October 15, 2008
LATW - Manhattan '08 celebrates 'Billy'
'Electricity' sparks another successful year for the group
By Jim Ward/Lunch Around the World

LATW Manhattan 2008

On Saturday, October 11th, 2008 the 5th Annual Lunch Around the World, Manhattan Style was held to celebrate the opening of "Billy Elliot - The Musical" on Broadway. Although we could never surpass last year's amazing lunch celebrating Elton's 60th Birthday, the day was filled with fabulous food, good friends, great music and an amazing Broadway show.

A fabulous buffet feast was provided at Trattorio Dopo Teatro, a wonderful Italian restaurant in the Theater District whose ambience was as delicious as its food (Thank you Marco Del Peschio and staff). Check out their Web site at http://www.dopoteatro.com/home.html. The next time you are going to Madison Square Garden to see Elton, visit Marco at his Secret Garden.

The highlight of the afternoon was a performance by Dan and Greg from the premiere Elton tribute band - Bennie & the Jets. Dan and Greg gave generously of their time and talent to make this event very special with their music and passion! Check out their Web site and make sure to catch them live - http://www.bennieandthejets.com/. Also, a major thank you to Nancy and Glenna for lending a hand as the clock was ticking down to 2 p.m.

One of the most anticipated parts of the day was the Raffle and Auctions which consisted of a variety of prizes like restaurant certificates, DVD/CD player, digital camera, tickets to Billy Elliot and of course Elton John and EJ Band Memorabilia.

Sue and I need to thank the following for their generosity in providing auction and raffle prizes: eltonjohn.Com, NigelOlsson.Com, John Mahon and the band, Liz Rosenthal, Sandra Honeysett, Jane Behrman, Liza Yonus, Bunty Penny, David & Carrie Bodoh, Mary from LATW Orlando, Laurie Salem, Jim Mandler, Richard Salfas, and Denise Hajjar.

And of course lots of gratitude to Nancy Case who started us all on our journey together!

An event like this can't be put together by two people, so a huge thanks to our working crew: Joey Pennacchio, Phil Fusciello, Michael Hayes, Karen Dunn, Jessica Nutto & Rosie Zuber, Christiana Barbaro, and Diana & Gary Humienny. And thanks go to the amazingly talented video crew - Tara, Laura and Ryan from MLB.com/Entertainment

And, most importantly, THANK YOU to all those who attended year after year as well as the new faces on 10/11/08. A "Lunch Around the World" wouldn't happen if no one came to support. Thank you for an amazing afternoon everyone. The best way to describe the day is that it was filled with "Electricity!"

Donations are still arriving, but we can confirm that this year we have raised $3,000.00. Final totals to be confirmed shortly.

Last but not least, for those who saw the performance of Billy Elliot on Saturday evening, eltonjohn.com would love to hear from you, so please forward your review to editor@eltonjohn.com

All the best

Jim Ward and Sue Jacobs from New York

"I want to share my details from the Lunch Around the World, it was a great time and Jim and Sue should be commended for all the work they did. It was held in a nice room downstairs in the restaurant and I thought the food was pretty good. Greg and Dan from Bennie and The Jets were pretty good in my mind, they played a few cool songs that are fairly rare, such as Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters, Empty Garden and Imagine, Love Song and Country Comfort and, for the occasion, a really great version of Electricity. It was a good time and there was a lot of cool raffles and auctions so hopefully we raised a lot of money for the EJAF. I love these events and can't wait to go to more of them in tbe future, hopefully next year we can plan the NY one around an Elton concert.

"As for Billy Elliot itself, this is going to be a massive hit on Broadway, I loved the show and so did everyone I know that I talked to. The crowd clearly loved it. It is so well done, all the actors and our Billy were great (we got Kiril on Sat night and his dancing was superb). It's so British and funny and that's what makes it so different, it's just so entertaining. The Michael character, played that night by Frank Dolce, stole the show in the scenes he was in. And Haydn Gwynne is just incredible as Mrs Wilkinson. Congrats to everyone there, it will be a big success. They still have a few kinks to work out, the first half was a little too long, and there were a couple of minor technical snafus, but nothing that they can't work out. I am so glad I went to see this show and I highly recommend it - everyone make a beeline to see Billy Elliot - it's incredible and clearly Elton has another great Broadway success."

Jack from Lynn, Massachusetts, USA

"My husband Gary and I (volunteers at this year's event) attended Sue Jacobs' and Jim Ward's 5th Annual LATW Manhattan event and had a fantastic time! The weather was a sunny and warm Saturday afternoon in October. The food at the restaurant 'Trattoria Dopo Teatro' was delicious. The private rooms downstairs were set up to accommodate everyone as well as the auction/raffle items, which included exclusive and autographed Elton memorabilia, tickets to Billy Elliot for another date in October, dinner for two at NYC restaurants, and a Panasonic CD/DVD Player and DVDs. Gary and I manned the tables at the entrance to the event, where we took in a lot of generous donations to EJAF and sold assorted raffle tickets to the event auction. Greg and Dan of the Elton tribute band 'Bennie & The Jets' performed, and during the band's breaks music was provided by Gary Humienny.

"Bennie & The Jets were fabulous and they even performed the song Electricity from Billy Elliot The Musical, which was very appropriate since many of us were going to see the show on Broadway that night. By the way, we really enjoyed Billy Elliot and had fantastic seats in the second row of the center orchestra. The best way to describe the show would be to say that it was a rollercoaster of emotions that has a powerfully uplifting moral about following your dream. The music and lyrics were amazing too, of course.

"Congratulations to Sue and Jim for a job well done in putting this wonderful event together and raising all that money for the EJAF!"

Diana and Gary from Staten Island, New York, USA

You can view Nancy Moraski's photos from this LATW event by visiting this link.

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