Theater Preview: BROADWAY BACKWARDS (Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS)

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by Eve Meadows on February 24, 2021

in Theater-New York,Virtual

Broadway Backwards Makes Virtual Premiere
on Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Broadway Backwards will take a hopeful, musical look toward life post-pandemic in its first virtual edition set to stream with a bevy of Broadway’s best at 8 pm Eastern on Tuesday, March 30, 2021.

Broadway Backwards (#broadwaybackwards) is produced by Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and benefits Broadway Cares and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center in New York City.

The free online event, where gender doesn’t matter but love does, can be viewed at broadwaycares.org/backwards2021 and on the Broadway Cares YouTube channel. It will be available on demand through Saturday, April 3. Sponsorship opportunities, which include a virtual “Peek Behind the Curtain” with the creative team and stars of Broadway Backwards and recognition during the show, are also available.

In this virtual edition of Broadway Backwards, the show will explore how the isolation of the COVID-19 pandemic has specifically affected the LGBTQ community. The show will feature Jay Armstrong Johnson as an isolated New Yorker who dreams a fantastical journey guided by a late-night television host, portrayed by Jenn Colella. New performances will be merged with full numbers from previous editions of Broadway Backwards to create a Broadway Backwards that feels distinctly of the moment.

This year’s streaming event also includes a special opening number featuring Stephanie J. BlockDeborah Cox and Lea Salonga, plus performances and appearances by Matt BomerDarren CrissAriana DeBoseRobin De JesúsCynthia ErivoJoshua HenryCherry JonesKelli O’Hara and Jim Parsons. More of this year’s special guests will be announced in the coming weeks.

Creator Robert Bartley will return as writer and director for this virtual version of the show. He will be joined by Mary-Mitchell Campbell as music supervisor, Ted Arthur as music director and Eamon Foley as director of photography and video editor. Joshua Buscher-West joins as associate director, Nick Connors as orchestrator, Benedict Braxton-Smith as music producer and audio engineer, Matt Kraus as sound designer and Samantha Rodriguez as costume designer.

The 2020 edition of Broadway Backwards was scheduled for March 16 and was canceled just days before the show on March 12 when all of Broadway and theaters nationwide shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic.

What began as a small, grassroots concert performed at The Center in 2006 quickly grew into a highly anticipated event presented in Broadway’s best theatres. In total, Broadway Backwards has raised more than $5.3 million for Broadway Cares and The Center.

While the stream is free, donations will be accepted for Broadway Cares, the philanthropic heart of Broadway, and The Center, the heart and home of New York City’s LGBTQ+ community. Every dollar donated will help those isolated, stigmatized and affected by HIV/AIDS, COVID-19 and other critical illnesses receive meals, lifesaving medication, mental health support and other health and wellness services.

Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS is one of the nation’s leading industry-based, nonprofit AIDS fundraising and grant-making organizations. By drawing upon the talents, resources and generosity of the American theatre community, since 1988 Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS has raised more than $300 million for essential services for people with HIV/AIDS, COVID-19 and other critical illnesses across the United States.

Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS is the major supporter of the social service programs at The Actors Fund, including the HIV/AIDS Initiative, the Phyllis Newman Women’s Health Initiative and The Friedman Health Center for the Performing Arts. Broadway Cares also awards annual grants to more than 450 AIDS and family service organizations in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., providing lifesaving medication, healthy meals, counseling and emergency assistance.

For more information, please visit Broadway Cares online at broadwaycares.org, at facebook.com/BCEFA, at instagram.com/BCEFA, at twitter.com/BCEFA and at youtube.com/BCEFA.

About The Center

Established in 1983 as a result of the AIDS crisis, New York City’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center has grown and evolved over the last four decades, creating and delivering services that empower people to lead healthy, successful lives. The Center continues to serve the LGBTQ community through virtual support services, launched almost immediately after our building closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We offer a wide range of services including virtual one-on-one counseling; substance use treatment and support groups; virtual youth drop-in space; online arts and culture programming; health insurance navigation; and a virtual “front desk” open five days a week to respond to community inquiries. To learn more about how The Center is serving the community during this time, please visit gaycenter.org.

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