Fundraiser to Support Arts Education Programs for Palm Springs Unified School District

The Foundation for the Palm Springs Unified School District is proud to announce that “Grab Your Seat: Icons & Idols,” its annual benefit concert, will be held on Thursday, January 18, 2018 at 7 PM at the Richards Center for the Arts (formerly Palm Springs High School Auditorium, located at 2360 Ramon Road in Palm Springs). The concert is a musical tribute to Janis Joplin, Freddie Mercury, George Michael, and Prince, and is presented by Michael Childers with Frank Goldstin. Tickets are $125 for front orchestra seating, $95 for middle orchestra and $75 for rear orchestra and may be purchased by calling 760-416-8455 or going to

This annual fundraising concert celebrates four musical legends who influenced the worldwide musical scene in a new production created by the celebrated Michael Childers with Frank Goldstin. “Grab Your Seat: Icons & Idols” pays homage to Janis Joplin (performed by Mary Bridget Davies), Freddie Mercury (performed by Von Smith), George Michael (performed by Jake Simpson), and Prince (performed by Rogelio Douglas, Jr.). These four singing sensations will bring new life to classic and cherished songs originally performed by these entertaining legends, and all proceeds will benefit Palm Springs Unified School District arts education programs.

“Last year’s inaugural concert featuring PostModern Jukebox introduced this series and celebrated the complete remodel of the Richards Center,” said Ellen Goodman, Executive Director of The Foundation for the Palm Springs Unified School District. “We wanted to continue that momentum this year, so we worked closely with Michael Childers and Frank Goldstin to create this never-before-staged musical experience honoring four legendary performers and artists. We hope that through this performance, we can continue to keep their music alive. This will be a fantastic and fun evening, unlike anything else going on this season.”


The benefit concert’s Event Ambassadors include Doug Donenfeld, Debbie Green, Barbara Keller, Terri Ketover, Ann Sheffer, and Tom Truhe.

About the Performers

Mary Bridget Davies (performing Janis Joplin)

Mary Bridget Davies is a Tony Award-nominated singer. She was asked to sit in with Big Brother & The Holding Company (Janis Joplin’s original band, with whom she would later tour) as well as legendary blues guitarist Robert Lockwood, Jr. Her travels have taken her around the world, including a 2-year pre-Broadway run with A Night With Janis Joplin. She received her Tony nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical when the show debuted on Broadway in 2013.

Von Smith (performing Freddie Mercury)

Von Smith is an accomplished singer/songwriter/actor recently featured on and after garnering more than 20 million views on YouTube with Scott Bradlee’s acclaimed Postmodern Jukebox. Lady Gaga chose him to be her opening act on tour in Australia, and as a solo artist Von has performed on some of the most celebrated stages, including ABC’s “The View”, Bravo’s “The Kathy Griffin Show”, BET’s “106th and Park”, MTV News, VH1’s “Best Week Ever”, and E’s “The Soup.”

Jake Simpson (performing George Michael)

Jake Simpson twice (2003 and 2004) won the top honors in the Adult Singer category on CBS’s Star Search with his powerful high tenor voice and three-octave range. He has recorded, written and performed with a multitude of artists including Grammy Award-winning songwriter Desmond Child, American Idol finalists David Archuleta, Syesha Mercado and Grammy Award-nominee Adam Lambert.

Rogelio Douglas Jr. (performing Prince)

Rogelio Douglas Jr. has performed with the New York City Opera and became the lead tap dancer at The Black Orchid in Chicago, IL. He has opened for musical legends such as Tito Puente and Jennifer Holliday, and traveled throughout Western Europe and Asia as a lead tap dancer with Riverdance. He performed in the musical “In the Heights” which won awards at the 2008 Tony and Grammy Awards.

This benefit concert continues the Palm Springs Unified School District’s landmark “Grab Your Seat” commemorative naming initiative – the cornerstone of an ambitious five-year capital fundraising campaign for arts education in the district. The “Grab Your Seat” campaign enables members of the public to name a theater seat, gallery space, or other building amenity in their or a loved one’s honor, designated by commemorative plaques, nameplates, and custom lettering.

Inquiries regarding seat- and amenity-naming should be directed to Ellen Goodman, Executive Director, The Foundation for the Palm Springs Unified School District, at (760) 416-8455, or via email at

The Foundation for the Palm Springs Unified School District is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that serves as the fundraising arm of the District. It is focused on making possible otherwise unfunded and underfunded initiatives in academics, health & well-being, career and college readiness, and other areas crucial to our students’ success in life.