Broadway Inspirational Voices Founder and Artistic Director Michael McElroy will step down from leading the Tony-honored choir June 30. In recognition of his 27 years of service to BIV, the organization's Board has named McElroy director emeritus.
Composer-lyricist-producer Allen René Louis, currently the associate artistic director and a member of the BIV music team and choir, will succeed McElroy. Louis was recently the composer, lyricist, arranger, and music director for the inaugural Antonyo Awards, a celebration of Black artists in the theatre industry.
McElroy established BIV in 1994 in response to the AIDS epidemic as Broadway grappled with the loss of a generation of artists. He envisioned an organization where a diverse array of performers provide comfort, joy, and the promise of a better day. Originally titled the Broadway Gospel Choir, the organization was re-imagined in 1999 as Broadway Inspirational Voices, a diverse ensemble made up of actors and musicians from Broadway and Off-Broadway shows that been a center of support and celebration for the theatre community. In 2019, BIV received a Tony Honor for Excellence in Theatre.
“For 27 years, Broadway Inspirational Voices has been my heart,” said McElroy. “I do not look at this moment as an ending but a time for new beginnings. I am excited for what the future holds, and I am so thrilled to be leaving BIV in the exceptional hands of my friend Allen. When he joined BIV three years ago, I immediately recognized his talent and drive and have been preparing him to take the artistic reins.”
As part of the transition plan, BIV has launched The Founder’s Circle Fundraising Campaign to celebrate McElroy’s legacy. With a fundraising goal of $300,000 by the end of June, The Founder’s Circle is an opportunity for diversity, inclusivity, and community service-minded individuals, philanthropists, and members of the public and private sectors to support BIV’s mission and invest in its future and expansion. Working with McElroy, the BIV Board has prepared a transition plan that includes Board co-chairs Schele Williams and Robert Acton and newly appointed executive director and long-time choir member Cynthia Vance. BIV Chair Emeritus, Tony winner Phylicia Rashad, will continue to provide support and guidance.
The choir recently joined a host of Broadway favorites in We Will Be Back, a live pop-up experience in Times Square in commemoration of Broadway’s lost year due to the coronavirus pandemic. In October McElroy conducted several Broadway artists, who took to the steps of TKTS to sing his arrangement of “Sunday” from Sunday in the Park With George.