Broadway Backwards, the celebration of LGBTQ+ stories told through musical theatre songs, returns to an in-person event May 23 at 8 PM at Broadway’s New Amsterdam Theatre. Produced by Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, the evening salutes love in all its forms and benefits Broadway Cares and New York City’s LGBT Community Center.
Come From Away Tony nominee Jenn Colella once again hosts. Scheduled to perform are Tony winners Bernadette Peters, Len Cariou, Lena Hall, BD Wong, and Lillias White; 2022 Tony nominees Michael R. Jackson, Joaquina Kalukango, and Matt Doyle; as well as Veanne Cox, J. Harrison Ghee, Z Infante, Norm Lewis, Bill Nolte, Ken Page, Eve Plumb, John Riddle, MiMi Scardulla, Alexandra Billings, Claybourne Elder, Jay Armstrong Johnson, Lauren Patten, George Salazar, Brandon Uranowitz, Mary Testa, and Broadway Inspirational Voices.
The LGBTQ+ celebration also features an ensemble performing fully staged production numbers and a live orchestra.
Broadway Backwards creator Robert Bartley once again writes and directs the benefit with music supervision by Mary-Mitchell Campbell and music direction by Ted Arthur. Bartley co-choreographs the production with Joshua Buscher-West, James Kinney, and Adam Roberts. The production stage manager is Gregory R. Covert, and the production supervisor is Jeff Brancato.
Broadway Backwards also features costume design by Jeff Johnson-Doherty, John Kristiansen, Natalie Loveland, and Tyler Carlton William; lighting design by Craig Stelzenmuller; prop design by Jenna Snyder and Alex Wylie; and sound design by Marie Renee Foucher. Benjamin A. Vigil is the COVID safety manager. Binder Casting’s Mark Brandon and Chad Eric Murnane are casting consultants.
“This year’s Broadway Backwards fittingly marks our first event inside a theatre since the pandemic hit in March 2020,“ Broadway Cares Executive Director Tom Viola said in an earlier statement. “In the continually tumultuous and dangerous political climate we still find ourselves in, we join with The Center in not only saying gay, but singing it loudly and proudly for all to hear.”
Broadway Backwards began as a grassroots concert performed at the Center in 2006. The event quickly grew and now is performed every year in a Broadway theatre. In 2020, Broadway Backwards was just four days away when the pandemic shut down theatres. A 2021 virtual edition raised a record $749,555. Since 2010, the evening has brought in more than $5.5 million.
“LGBTQ+ people are still facing bigotry and adversity across the country,” Bartley said. “This night is an opportunity to embrace what we believe in; showing there can be a better tomorrow when we speak out and make our voices heard.
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.
For tickets visit BroadwayCares.org.