New virtual series brings Broadway stars and health experts to discuss experiences with cancer

Photo via Facebook/Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan

A new virtual health and wellness program featuring health experts and Broadway stars is dropping online in June.

The new show, called Broadway’s Best for Breast Cancer!, will feature Broadway actors offering guidance to those facing their own health challenges during the pandemic as well as tips from medical professionals in the field. The show will be co-hosted by Caroline Kohles, senior director of health and wellness programming at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan, and Mandy Gonzalez, who is currently starring as Angelica Schuyler in “Hamilton” and undergoing her own breast cancer treatments.

The show was created in partnership with Breastlink New York, who helped JCC set up their programming for cancer patients. According to Kohles, the show started as a way to reconnect with the community that has become somewhat disjointed due to the pandemic.

“A lot of people had to pivot and move online due to the pandemic. We were determined to stay connected to the community,” said Kohles. “We wanted to reach the community is a virtual format to bring people together and tell stories, but also keep the information accessible in bite-size chunks.”

At JCC, they offer a variety of programming, including some that are meant to help those at risk of, actively dealing with or recovering from cancer. Though JCC is more known by the city, the programming for cancer patients is less known.

“It really hit home when I spoke to Mandy, who is dealing with her own cancer treatments. She was really forthright with her journey but still had a lot of questions,” said Kohles. “One of the things I hope we do in this series is answer the questions that people have.”

Among the health experts that will appear on the show include Dr. Alison Estabrook, renowned breast surgeon and co-founder of Breastlink New York, best-selling author and research psychologist Kelly McGonigal, positive psychologist Maria Sirois, and founder of Carved by Cancer Kathy Washburn. Each episode will also feature a Broadway actor who will discuss their experiences with cancer in their personal lives; they will also perform songs that are important to them live on the show. Among the scheduled Broadway guests include Krysta Rodriguez, James Monroe Inglehart, Javier Muñoz, Telly Leung and Kerry Butler. 

“Broadway stars have stories to tell,” said Kohles. “We wanted to be able to engage the community and shed light on conversations for those who have been touched by cancer.”

Towards the end of the series, JCC is hosting a promoting the First Virtual Shirley Kohn JCC Spa Day for Women with Breast Cancer on June 28 (learn more information here), which will be promoted throughout the series.

The show is set to premiere on June 1 at 6 p.m. and will cast simultaneously on Zoom and Facebook Live. The show will run for five weeks on June 1, 8, 15, 22, and 29. To register for the show, visit jccmanhattan.org/programs/broadways-best-breast-cancer-staying-healthy-strong-during-covid-online. For more information, visit jccmanhattan.org.


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