Southern Nights Orlando to host holiday benefit for The Trevor Project

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | Southern Nights Orlando hosts the 11th annual Broadway Christmas cabaret, presented by Kai’ja Adonis and Jose Marrero and benefiting The Trevor Project, Dec. 20.

Adonis and Marrero began Broadway Christmas in the mid-2000s after they lost a friend to suicide.

“Kai’ja and I worked at Southern Nights at the time and we had a friend, he was gay and in college, and he took his own life,” Marrero says. “We were all in our mid-20s and didn’t know how to handle what happened. We didn’t really know what to do. What we did best is perform on stage, so we let out our emotions and feelings on stage.”

Broadway Christmas became a charity benefit the following year when Marrero heard about The Trevor Project.

“I was watching [The Ellen DeGeneres Show] and they had someone on the show speaking about The Trevor Project,” Marrero recalls. “I didn’t know what it was and it surprised me that not a lot of people in Orlando knew what The Trevor Project was. They’re pretty well known now with the It Gets Better campaign but when we started they weren’t so well known.”

The Trevor Project is a national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ youth age 25 and under.

“I contacted them and asked if we did a show could we do it in their name and whatever we raised we would send off to them. Even if it wasn’t a lot of money, every bit helps,” Marrero says.

They were on board, so Marrero, Adonis and a handful of Central Florida performers put on the first Broadway Christmas benefitting The Trevor Project. The event is now created with the help of more than 50 people.

“Everyone donates their time, their talent. Everyone backstage, helping to put the production together, everyone who helps gather the raffle prizes and gets the seats set up, everyone volunteers their time,” Marrero says. “All the money raised at the door and from the raffle tickets and all tips from the entertainers all goes to The Trevor Project.”

Marrero moved to Fort Lauderdale four years ago but still drives up to Orlando every year to help put the event together. Adonis gets the show portion organized while Marrero handles all the behind-the-scenes stuff, he says.

“It’s amazing to me what we get accomplished,” Marrero says. “The show is a variety of Broadway numbers, big and small. So one number you might have a couple of performers then the next one the stage is filled with 20 or more performers. It’s incredible.”

The 11th Annual Broadway Christmas, benefiting The Trevor Project, will be held at Southern Nights Orlando on Dec. 20. Doors open at 8:30 p.m. with the show running from 9-11 p.m. It is a suggested $10 donation at the door. For more information visit Southern Nights Orlando’s Facebook page.

Check out some past performances below.

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