As indoor dining begins to slowly resume elsewhere in New York City, SWING46 will celebrate with a critically needed fundraiser on GoFundMe.com, similar to ones held by Birdland and the West Bank Café, both of which were enormously successful. But with only a 35% capacity, opening would be prohibitive for SWING46 because of the high costs of operating the bar, ballroom and combined supper club.
The 12-hour live telethon starts at 12:00 noon on YouTube (swing46.nyc/youtube) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/SWING46) and will continue through an ongoing GoFundMe campaign. The show will feature live performances by favorite SWING46 artists and archival footage from the venue’s storied past over the past quarter-century.
SWING46 has hosted a pantheon of celebrity guests through the years, including Liza Minelli, Uma Thurman, Bryan Cranston, Jon Favreau, John Lithgow, Keith Richards, Ethan Hawke, Jackie Mason, and Brooke Shields among others. (Donny Most of Happy Days endorsement)
Names such as Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, the UK’s Jive Aces, Happy Days’ Donny Most, George Gee, The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, Gunhild Carling and hundreds of others have all been gracing the SWING46 bandstand seven nights a week. Television and motion picture productions including Saturday Night Live, Samantha Bee and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel have all used the classic backdrop of SWING46 to pump authenticity into their productions — set in the Swingin’ 40s — for the Roarin’ 2020s.
Located on Times Square’s historic Restaurant Row, the club’s legacy began in 1974 on the same bandstand, first under the name Silver Lining Cafe, then Red Blazer Too, and has continued in that tradition since 1997 without skipping a beat.
Legendary swing dancers such as Frankie Manning, Norma Miller and Dawn Hampton have graced the dance floor and revered tap dancers, including Buster Brown, Gregory and Maurice Hines and Savion Glover have all hosted the world’s longest-running weekly “Tap Jam” at this SWING46.
In addition to providing a home to New York City’s Swing Dance Community, SWING46 is an international destination tourist stop that draws Big Band Jazz fans and dancers from around the world.
SWING46 owner John Akhtar is determined to keep his beloved Times Square venue open. After beginning limited to outdoor dining in July, he was forced to close again in December — as were all city restaurants. SWING46 had been set to open on February 14 but the extremely limited seating made it financially impossible.
“I’m not doing this for myself,” said Akhtar. “I’m doing it because I love Big Band music, the musicians, the dancers, the patrons, and the people who work here.
“We want to continue providing top-notch live music, dining and dancing to all Big Band and dance lovers, but SWING46 is facing extreme hardships. The challenges and circumstances of the global pandemic threaten our very viability. Keeping our staff employed, paying the orchestras and singers, along with the rent and other bills, have got to be covered immediately or our hopes of staying open will die.”
Again, the #SaveSwing46 GoFundMe page can be found at the following URL: www.swing46.nyc/fund.
The live 12-hour broadcast of the SWING46 Telethon will be on the “SWING46 Jazz & Supper Club Channel” on YouTube (www.swing46.nyc/youtube), Sunday, March 14, 2021, at 12:00 noon EST and will be streamed by Melissa Erickson of Contemporarily Basic Productions.
LIVE COVERAGE REQUESTED Video footage and stills provided upon request!
SOURCE SWING46 Jazz and Supper Club