Audra McDonald, Billy Porter, Vanessa Williams, More Perform at Black Theatre United's Inaugural Gala October 30 | Playbill

Benefits and Galas Audra McDonald, Billy Porter, Vanessa Williams, More Perform at Black Theatre United's Inaugural Gala October 30

A Salute to Broadway Legends: Past, Present, and Future is being held at the Ziegfeld Ballroom.

Audra McDonald, Billy Porter, and Vanessa Williams

Black Theatre United's inaugural gala is held October 30 at the Ziegfeld Ballroom in New York. 

Entitled A Salute to Broadway Legends: Past, Present, and Future, the evening—celebrating the indelible mark that Black culture has had and continues to have on Broadway—features performances by BTU Founders Vanessa Williams, Norm Lewis, Audra McDonald, LaChanze, Billy Porter, Capathia Jenkins, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Darius de Haas, Natasha Yvette Williams, and Lillias White.

The Gala honors Kandi Burruss, Common, LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Samuel L. Jackson, Robyn Coles, Dr. N Anthony Coles, and Dr. Indira Etwaroo. Presenters include Andréa Burns, Nicholas Christopher, Lorna Courtney, Wilson Cruz, Seth Rudetsky, and Josh Groban.

Gala co-chairs include Earvin "Magic" Johnson, Cookie Johnson, Al Roker and Deborah Roberts, Blair Underwood, Congresswoman Ayanna Presley, Tommi A. Vincent, and Troy Vincent Sr.

BTU was founded to build pathways of access and opportunities for Black and other students and industry professionals who have been historically marginalized in the theatre community. Proceeds from the gala will support BTU’s empowering programs in mentorships, student internships, BTU’s Annual Advocacy Summit, and BTU’s Education program.

BTU Co-Founder Vanessa Williams said in an earlier statement, “Black Theatre United is thrilled to have Business for Good be our lead sponsor for our first annual gala. BFG invests in people to build better businesses, stronger communities, and a more equitable world. A perfect alignment for BTU’s vision and commitment. Diversity is a fact, but inclusion is a choice.“

The nonprofit's full founding group of actors, directors, musicians, writers, technicians, producers, and stage management includes Lisa Dawn Cave, Darius de Haas, Carin Ford, Capathia Jenkins, LaChanze, Kenny Leon, Norm Lewis, Audra McDonald, Michael McElroy, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Wendell Pierce, Billy Porter, Anna Deavere Smith, Allyson Tucker, Tamara Tunie, Lillias White, NaTasha Yvette Williams, Schele Williams and Vanessa Williams.

The gala had originally been scheduled for October 2022 but was postponed due to scheduling conflicts.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit

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