FORT SALEM, N.Y. - Last year, on Thanksgiving weekend, Fort Salem Theater's touring musical group, "The Singing Anchors," created its first holiday show in the Fort's cabaret room. After performances at events and private gatherings last year, the group vowed to make the show an annual event: "Fort Salem Theater presents The Singing Anchors Annual Holiday Show." Like all anchor shows, Holiday features solos, duets, and several trio numbers. This year's extravaganza performs twice on Saturday, Dec. 1, at 5 p.m., (sold out) and at 8 p.m. (a few seats available).
Benita Zahn, anchor and health reporter for NewsChannel 13, performed in the first season of Fort Salem's cabaret in the summer of 2007, and has graced one or both of the Fort's stages every season since.
Benita Zahn, Jerry Gretzinger and Jessica Layton willl be performing as the "Singing Anchors" at the Fort Salem Theatre on Dec. 1 at 8 p.m. (courtesy photo)
In the fall of 2009, she brought along Channel 13 colleague, Jessica Layton, and their Channel 6 friend, Jerry Gretzinger. Their Fort Salem Theater presents The Singing Anchors has not only consistently filled the cabaret and Mainstage in Salem, but venues throughout the Capital Region, including shows at the Linda Norris Auditorium in Albany, broadcast on WAMC, and a stint headlining at Saratoga's First Night in 2011. Most recently the anchors awed audiences on Salem's Mainstage with an all-new salute to songs from Broadway musicals, The Singing Anchors On Broadway, now being reprised all around the area.
Although it's difficult to read about each of these area news anchors without finding references to their extra-curricular performances, they spend most of their time reporting local and national news for their respective television stations.
Zahn has garnered Emmy Award nominations, received numerous honors for her charitable work in the community, and holds and MS in Bioethics from Albany Medical College. Jerry Gretzinger has won several journalism awards for his reports, but is most proud of the story he did on his own battle with cancer. In her six years at NewsChannel 13, Jessica Layton, a cum laude broadcast journalism and political science graduate of Syracuse University, has covered Governor Cuomo's inauguration, President Obama's visits to the region, and traveled extensively in Haiti in April, 2010, covering the devastation and recovery after the earthquake.
The Singing Anchors Annual Holiday Show plays one night only, and with limited seating available at 8 p.m., reservations required. The $25 ticket includes $6 credit toward coffee and dessert catered by Norene and Fred's of Salem. More information is available on the theater's website (fortsalemtheater.com) or by calling (518) 854-9200.