NEW YORK (PIX11) — Only Make Believe is an interactive theater program that provides joy, inspiration, and empowerment to children with medically fragile conditions and disabilities. 

The goal is engaging a child’s imagination. On Monday night, the goal was to raise some money and awareness at their annual gala.

The nonprofit brings theater into hospitals and schools for special needs kids throughout New York, all free of charge.  Since 1999, it has performed for close to 100,000 children.

Artists from around New York came together Monday night to raise awareness and money for the nonprofit.

John Oliver of HBO’s “Last Week Tonight “ hosted the event at the St. James theatre.

“The interaction that people have in performance is really important,” he said. “For kids in particular, I know that having kids. You know, getting to take them to the theater is something I’m looking forward to doing. So getting as much of these people into areas where kids are t to kind of blow their minds is very, very important.”

He says the interaction that people have is really important. He looks forward to taking his own kids to the theater.

Andy Karl, who plays the prince in “Into the Woods” at the St. James, was on hand to lend his support.

He said he was honored to be there and thinks it’s important to acknowledge that kids need to keep their imaginations going, certainly through theater.  As a kid growing up, it was very important to him.

Actress Montego Glover also knows how theater can make a big difference in a child’s life.

“To say that arts were huge is a massive understatement,” she sad. “They allow us who have the great privilege of being artists to bring what we have to the table.”

Everyone not only celebrated this unique program, but also being back in person on the Broadway stage.

John Oliver joked a bit,

“Being around this number of people is both exciting and slightly anxiety inducing but yes, it’s very nice to be back here,” Oliver said.