Podcast guest Telly Leung (Aladdin) shares why he created the upcoming concert SHOW SWAP to benefit his friend and Broadway ensemblist Adam Kaokept (Miss Saigon).
When tragedy strikes, your family is there to support you and help you through a tough time. This doesn't just mean "family" in the traditional, genetically-related sense of the word. When it comes to show-people, it also means the "family you make."
I spend more time with my "show" families than I do with my actual family. Someone that has been very near and dear to me is Adam Kaokept. I first met Adam on the first national tour of Flower Drum Song in 2003, and he has remained one of those people closest to my heart. Fifteen years later, we have done many shows, gotten married to our wonderful husbands, and been through many ups and downs together professionally and personally.
He built an amazing family when he made his Broadway debut in the original company of Aladdin (a family I had the honor of joining about two months ago), and he brought his professionalism, warmth, and free spirit to the Broadway company of Miss Saigon, another tight-knit Broadway family.
Members of both companies at the New Amsterdam and the Broadway Theater have had Adam and his husband, Jon Wotell, on our minds (and hearts) a lot recently. Jonny just finished getting his masters degree, and he decided to celebrate this monumental achievement by biking (yes - I said biking!) coast-to-coast from New York to Los Angeles. To people who don't know Adam and Jon, this would be shocking. But, for all of us who have been part of the family for years, we know that climbing ancient ruins in Peru teaching kids English in the jungles of Cambodia and back packing through South East Asia is just another day for these adventurous dreamers.
Jon was already 2700 miles into the trip (about 4 days from finishing the ride) when he was struck in a hit-and-run while biking alongside a highway. A passerby found him lying on the road and called for help and he was helicoptered to the trauma center in Las Vegas. He was in critical condition, and a team of incredible doctors rushed to keep him alive with multiple surgeries. Adam got the call, called out of Miss Saigon indefinitely, and got on the first plane to Vegas to be by Jonny's side.
Jon has endured several life-saving surgeries and thankfully, he is alive and has no brain damage from the accident. But, he has yet to recover the use of his body below the waist, and the medical bills are mounting - and will continue to mount as he heads to a physical rehab center.
The companies of Miss Saigon and Aladdin have decided to come together and produce a benefit. All proceeds will go towards the medical costs and other expenses affiliated with Jon's incident. On August 20, both companies will participate in SONG SWAP, a one-night-only concert at the Green Room 42, where members from the cast of Aladdin will sing songs by Boublill & Schonberg and members from the cast of Miss Saigon will sing songs by Alan Menken.
If you want to join in on the fun (and help us raise some money for these two lovely humans), get your tickets here NOW (it's sure to sell out). If you can't make it to the show, but this story has touched you to help Adam and Jon, we urge you to give what you can here.