Astoria resident running benefit concert for National Council of Jewish Women

Photo courtesy of Billy Bustamante.

Astoria resident Mara Jill Herman is set to premiere her concert, “Ruth Sent Us: A Benefit for Reproductive Justice,” at The Green Room 42 Oct. 11 at 7 p.m. The event is meant to benefit the National Council for Jewish Women.

Photo courtesy of Mara Jill Herman

Herman is the producer and director of the concert and will also star in it. According to Herman, she was inspired to produce this show while protesting against the Supreme Court’s controversial decision to overturn Roe v. Wade last summer. While taking part in a protest at Washington Square Park, Herman saw a sign saying “Ruth Sent Us,” inspiring her to use her background in theater to help make an impact.

Photo courtesy of Mara Jill Herman.

The concert will celebrate Ginsburg’s legacy through songs and discussion from the Broadway community. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Jewish Fund For Abortion Access. In addition to Herman, others featured at the event include Jennifer Apple, Rebecca Hargrove, Kendyl Ito, Annemarie Josephson, Austin Ku, Lauren Lebowitz, Mauricio Martinez, Tara Novie, Andrea Pilar, Andrea Prestinario, Tunisia Renee, Rebbekah Vega-Romero, Celia Mei Rubin, Tatiana Scott, Anne Fraser Thomas and members of America’s Sweethearts Mollie Craven, Kristen Michelle and Samantha Joy Pearlman. Original music will be played from the duos Marina Pires and Luke Wygodny of The Heartstrings Project, Lisa Diana Shapiro and Miriam Daly and Emmy Nominee David Dabbon and SEVAN. Shara Ashley Zeiger will moderate a panel talk. Additional artists to be announced.

Mara Jill Herman (Photo courtesy of Billy Bustamante)

“I want people who see this concert to understand that abortion needs to be made accessible and legal,” Herman said. “It’s important for us to rally together to get active. This is a human rights issue. It really impacts everyone.”

Herman also said she felt as though she could relate on some level to Ginsburg. Like Ginsburg, Herman was born and raised in New York to a Jewish family. Ginsburg was the second woman to ever serve in the United States Supreme Court and the first Jewish woman to serve.

This will mark the third benefit concert that Herman has organized. She held her first one, “Stronger than Hate,” in 2018 to amplify Jewish artists and benefit the Tree of Life Synagogue after the deadly antisemitic terrorist attack in Pittsburgh, PA, that left 11 dead. She held her second benefit concert, “Changemakers,” in 2019 to amplify female/non-binary artists.

Herman has long been a fan of theater, having been exposed to it at a young age by her family, who encouraged her to pursue her acting dreams. She’s been acting professionally since she was 18 years old. Herman has received 40 grants for her work in the theater industry. She is a New York City Center teaching artist, a YoungArts winner in musical theater and received the Young Alumni Service Award from University of the Arts.

Tickets for the event are available for those who wish to see the event in person as well as via livestream. The cost for tickets range from $15-$49.

Founded in 2017 and located in the heart of Time Square’s theater district, The Green Room 42 is one of the newer, more spacious cabaret clubs on Broadway. Among the more than 5,000 performers at the club have been Josh Groban, Tina Fey, Katharine McPhee, Sara Bareilles, Alice Ripley, Eva Noblezada, Reeve Carney, Lillias White, Frances Ruffelle, Frankie Grande and David Phelps.

“The decision whether or not to bear a child is central to a woman’s life, to her well-being and dignity,” Justice Ginsburg said. “It is a decision she must make for herself. When government controls that decision for her, she is being treated less than a fully adult human responsible for her own choices.”