Cabaret for Life, Inc. was established in 1995 by a core group of Monmouth and Ocean County residents who came together to make a difference in the lives of people threatened by AIDS and similar debilitating illnesses. In its first few months of operation, this group of diversely talented individuals recognized the apparent need for funds to help people coping with HIV/AIDS in New Jersey. Cabaret for Life has dedicated its efforts toward these people and the organizations that exist to serve them. The organization was incorporated with the State of New Jersey in October 1995 and was designated exempt of Federal and State tax in 1997.
Prior to the formation of Cabaret for Life, Andrew De Prisco began volunteering for The Center in Asbury Park in 1991. He produced, wrote and directed four annual “cabaret” benefits for The Center at St. Anselm’s Church in Wayside, NJ, and these shows helped raise tens of thousands of dollars for that newly formed organization. Frederick Mayo began volunteering for The Center in 1993, writing and costuming benefits and went on to become a key player in creating Cabaret for Life. Co-founders with Andrew and Fred, Carole Hessels and John Hessels, long-time Bradley Beach residents, served as Secretary and Treasurer in the early years of the organization. The late Cal Seymour worked for the Red Oak Music Theater Company (Lakewood) and the Brick Children’s Theatre and volunteered for AIDS-service organizations for many years. In the 1990s Cal offered his professional services as technical director and set designer to Cabaret for Life. Felix M. Truex joined the Cabaret for Life team as a musical director, pianist and performer from its inception. He has remained active with the organization through the years and joined the Board in 1996.