“Phantom Unmasked” Fundraiser Was a Hit Musical

The “Music of the Night” filled the Hilton Garden Inn on October 21, as Franc D’Ambrosio captivated 250 guests with his soaring vibratto and personal warmth. The occasion was the annual Dinner-Show Fundraiser benefiting Staten Island children with special needs, hosted by the Women’s Auxiliary of the Elizabeth W. Pouch Center for Special People, a division of the Staten Island Mental Health Society (SIMHS).

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Mr. D’Ambrosio and his piano accompanist performed two hours of classic songs from the Broadway stage and the Hollywood screen, including selections from Phantom of the Opera. He is best known as the world’s longest-running star of Phantom for his more than 2,300 performances on the San Francisco stage, earning him the nickname, “The Iron Man of the Mask.”

Among the collection of songs in his repertoire were, “Speak Softly, Love” from the film Godfather III, in which he performed this Academy Award-winning theme song in the role of Anthony, the opera-singing son of Al Pacino’s Michael Corleone; I’ll Build a Stairway to Paradise,” “Razzle Dazzle,” “If My Friends Could See Me Now,” and the beloved Mario Lanza anthem, “Be My Love.”

At one point during the show, he shared the stage with his young golden-voiced protégé Maria Wainscott, in an array of well-enjoyed vocal harmonies.

For the last several years, Mr. D’Ambrosio has been performing one-man shows on stages and venues throughout the country and abroad, electrifying audiences with his versatility, as he brings alive music from Broadway and Hollywood, Christmas classics, and a musical perspective of World War II. He often donates his time to charitable organizations, as he did for this fundraiser.

SIMHS President/CEO Fern Zagor added to the appreciative applause for the multi-talented vocalist. “This was a truly amazing show from start to finish. and our most successful fundraiser for the children with special needs served by the Pouch Center. Franc’s musical gifts, warmth and generosity combined to make the night unforgettable. Every one of our guests complimented his passionate and joyful performance and his evident affection for his fans. The fact that he donated his time to support our services marks him as not only a consummate professional, but a caring friend.”

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franc with John and Jennifer