Arts & Entertainment

Olivia Newton-John Rocks Kushners' MS Benefit Concert; Surprise Appearance by Travolta Rounds Out Evening


NEWARK, NJ – If Lee and Murray Kushner were hoping to hit one out of the proverbial ballpark during Tuesday night’s benefit concert for multiple sclerosis, they did it. Of course, stellar honorees, touching stories, a rocking concert by Olivia Newton-John and a surprise appearance by John Travolta helped.

The concert was the 10th anniversary of Musical Moments, a concert held to benefit MS research. The Kushners started the concert series after Lee was diagnosed with MS in 1994. During the opening comments, Murray reported that nearly every seat in the NJ PAC was filled and more than a million dollar raised. To date, the concert series has collected nearly $14 million, all of which has gone to MS research. Tuesday’s concert crowd included Governor Chris Christie and comedian Lisa Lampanelli.

The Kushners, residents of Livingston, gave the opening comments with some good-natured husband-and-wife ribbing before introducing Dr. Stuart Cook of UMDNJ, who diagnosed and has been treating Lee’s MS.

Sign Up for E-News

Cook introduced John DeLuca, PhD, vice president for research at the Kessler Foundation, who received the Medical Excellence Award. The Humanitarian Award went to Leslie Donato, vice president and general manager of Neurology and Hematology at Bayer HealthCare. Rick Lyon, executive vice president of Commercial Real Estate at Capital One Bank received the Corporate Excellence Award.

The featured speaker of the evening was John C. Green, a retired senior executive.

“His professional career came to a premature end in 1996 as a result of the progression of his multiple sclerosis,” Lee said in her introduction. Green, walking with the assistance of a cane, came to the podium and talked about what it’s like living with MS. He described losing his wife to cancer shortly after he was diagnosed, and having to learn to deal with the debilitating effects of MS while adjusting to a new job and life as a single father. But, he emphasized, he kept going.

“I never gave up,” he said, as the audience gave him a standing ovation. “If I’d given up, I wouldn’t be here today.”

The audience was already in a cheering mood when legendary singer Olivia Newton-John took the stage. Dressed in skinny black pants, a white shirt with sparkly black jacket and loosely knotted sparkly black necktie, the multiple award-winning singer performed many of her hit songs, from the 70s hit “Have You Never Been Mellow” through country songs like “If Not For You” and “Let Me Be There.” She also performed songs from her hit movie “Xanadu,” including the title track and “Magic.” She rocked the stage with aerobic moves as she belted out her 80s hit song, “Physical.”

She also talked a bit about her battle with breast cancer 20 years ago, and dedicated her song “Not Gonna Give Into It” to those living with MS.

Her band donned 50s-style jackets as they swung into music from her smash movie “Grease.” After “You’re The One That I Want,” she started the back-and-forth ditty “Summer Nights” with two male backup singers on one side, and she and a female singer on the other. She asked the audience to get involved, and just as things were getting rowdy, John Travolta strolled onstage. The audience erupted.

He joined Newton-John and the backup singers in the rest of “Summer Nights,” then “We Go Together.” He thanked the audience for letting him participate in the show.

“This is Olivia’s last show in the U.S. for this tour, and when she said she was performing in Newark, I said I wanted to be here. This is my hometown,” said Travolta, who was born and raised in nearby Englewood.

After he left the stage, Newton-John concluded with “Grace and Gratitude” and her signature song, “I Honestly Love You.” Travolta joined her and the band at the end for the curtain call.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


$100 OFF per Week for Summer Camp Now!

July 12, 2018

Guerrero Marital Arts is now offering an 8-week summer camp for summer 2018!

Pick which weeks you want!

Camp Weeks are:

July 16, July 23, July 30, August 6, August 13, August 20, August 27

Includes the following:

Fun (through Sports, Play and Games)
Field Trips (may cost extra)
Life Lessons
Reading Time
Martial Arts
A great place to ...

20% Off Purchases at Livingston Pharmacy

LIVINGSTON, NJ - Livingston Pharmacy & Surgical Supplies is offering 20 percent off your entire entire purchase, EXCLUDING prescription co-pays, if you just mention TAPinto Livingston OR display a TAPinto Livingston logo or display the website on your phone or device.

Livingston Pharmacy & Surgical Supplies, located at 91 E. Mount Pleasant Ave. has established itself as a retail ...

Upcoming Events


Tue, July 17, 5:00 PM

Caldwell University Alumni Theater, Caldwell

Public Invited to Essex County Opioid Use ...

Health & Wellness

Tue, July 17, 7:00 PM

Livingston Public Library, Livingston

Organically Yours: a wellness experience with ...


Sat, July 21, 12:30 PM

CycleBar Livingston, Livingston

Bike for the Bean

Giving Back Health & Wellness

Newark Lures Amazon With $1 Billion Payroll Tax Incentive

July 14, 2018

NEWARK, NJ - Amazon will get a payroll tax break at a cost of $1 billion to the city should the company open its second headquarters in Newark, according to one of two ordinances approved by the Newark City Council council to sweeten the deal for the corporate giant and stand out among other locations vying for Amazon’s so-called HQ2.

“The City Council has brought Newark a ...

Public Invited to Essex County Opioid Use Prevention Task Force Meeting

July 15, 2018

CALDWELL, NJ — All Essex County residents, mayors and councils, law enforcement members, school officials, clergy members, civic organizations and more are invited to join in the next Essex County Opioid Use Prevention Task Force meeting on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. to discuss how the Essex County communities can join work together to eradicate this epidemic.

The meeting will be held at the ...

Extra Time

It was close to 70 minutes into the match and I had to go to the bathroom.  Badly.

As fans watching the World Cup know too well, bathroom breaks are a serious dilemma, especially for those who don’t have a TV in the loo.  This biological necessity is exasperated by beer, which during World Cup matches also fuels a strong propensity to throw chairs and instigate riots.

5 Simple Ways to Save Water this Summer

According to the L.A. Times, the average American uses an estimated 98 gallons of water EACH day.  

Here are five simple ways you can save water, to help you conserve water this summer and take some pressure off of your drains.

1. Unless you are using it, turn the faucet off. How many of us still leave the water running while we shave or brush our teeth?According to ...