Monday, May 23, 2011


Michelle Thomas El presents Mayor Gray Lizzie Award

by contributor Donna Shor

            For love of Covenant House and the homeless kids it serves, composer and showman Neil Berg created a magical evening of musical theatre in Anacostia, adding even more dollars to the $8 million he has already raised for this wide-ranging organization. It was held at THEARC theater at the Anacostia center.

Several Covenant House kids sang also.  Among the many tributes paid to their successes as they rebuild their lives was an especially moving monologue tapped out and sung by dynamic tapper Ted Lewis Levy.

The time and effort Berg has given is amazing for someone as busy as he is.  In addition to several musical and recording projects, he currently has two shows in development and is the composer for the Broadway-bound musical “Grumpy Old Men”, based on the Warner Brothers film with Jack Lemon and Walter Matthau.

District of Columbia Mayor Vincent C. Gray who served as the first Executive Director of Covenant House was honored for his work on behalf of the District’s children, through which, during his tenure as director, he established as it is today.

Rita Harvey, Ted Levy, Judith Terra, Neil Berg
 The Washington organization has centers throughout the city. There are, In addition, centers in almost 20 US cities and six foreign countries. Homeless and runaway youth are given health care, education, including prepping for GED and college exams and job readiness while providing a safe place to stay with caring staff and volunteers.

Mayor Gray was presented with a “Lizzie”, a sculpture based on a homeless girl photographed in Times Square in the mid-seventies. The young woman who made the presentation, Michelle Thomas, told a moving story of how Covenant House has turned her life around.

The evening’s Honorary Chairs were philanthropist Judith Terra and child-help activist Virginia Hayes Williams, who is the mother of former mayor Anthony Williams. Gala Co-Chairs were Linda Mercado Green, who serves on the board, Judy Greenberg and  developer Herbert Miller and his wife Patrice.