Ok, this is above and beyond: Rosie O’Donnell‘s Rosie’s Theater Kids is now actively supporting a New York City public school with financial assistance and arts programs. Last night at the annual fundraiser for Rosie’s Theater Kids, part of the live auction was to raise money for Rosie’s group to help with P.S. 51. The public school is down the street from Rosie’s Maravel Arts Center. But the school was so decrepit that it’s now being rebuilt. The construction is too health hazardous for the kids and staff, so they’ve been moved from West 45th St. to East 91st St.
This is a huge distance–especially for little kids. The school didn’t have much of an arts program to start with, so they’d been using Maravel and Rosie’s programs to supplement their own. It makes you wonder what’s going on with the NYC Board of Education and why no one from the city was at Rosie’s fundraiser last night to thank her and her staff for doing their jobs. Anyway, I spoke to someone at the relocated P.S. 51 and they confirmed it–they’re having to bus their kids back to Rosie’s for arts programs. Yes, that’s 50 blocks south and then cross town.
Meanwhile, the Rosie’s benefit was a big hit–Aaron Neville performed, and so did the amazingly talented kids from the Maravel Center. The live auction raised over $300,000 and included a visit to Rosie’s new show on OWN (the Oprah network) in Chicago, and a day at Nickelodeon. Rosie looked great, too, and was funny as ever. Gayle King, Cynthia Nixon, Fran Drescher, and Natasha Lyonne were among the A list guests, and Z-100’s Elvis Duran helped auction off tickets to the very hot Jingle Ball show set for this December at Madison Square Garden.
Rosie, by the way, got a kick out of Elvis asking if she and Oprah were feuding–the subject of a recent tabloid report. “Feuding? I’m scared to death of her,” Rosie laughed. O’Donnell has inherited Oprah’s studio and staff in Chicago, and the pressure is on for “The Rosie Show” to be the centerpiece of OWN. She did admit to feuding with Elizabeth Hasselback of “The View,” however.