Stars Stepping Forward for BC/EFA’s March 24 Broadway Backwards
By: Ellis Nassour
The fun things about BC/EFA’s Broadway Backwards is not only the novelty of performers gender bending on songs sung by their opposite; but also the fact that Broadway’s hot young stars get to be onstage with Broadway’s best. The ninth annual Broadway Backwards (#bwaybackwards) takes place one-night-only March 24 at 8PM at the Hirschfeld Theatre. The show where gays and lesbians see their stories told through the musical theater, sung by Broadway stars, is directed and choreographed by creator Robert Bartley. It’s a fund-raiser for BC/EFA and New York’s LGBT Community Center.
There’s no way the roster of stars could fit any Broadway marquee and any ad with all their names would have to be a two-page trunk. They will include Bryan Batt (La Cage aux Folles, TV’s Mad Men), Tony nominee Stephanie J. Block (The Mystery of Edwin Drood), Tony and Drama Desk winner Len Cariou (Sweeney Todd, TV’s Blue Bloods), Tony and DD nominee Robin De Jesús (La Cage aux Folles, In the Heights), Tony and DD nominee Jonathan Groff (Spring Awakening, Film Frozen, TV’s Looking), three-time Tony and DD nominee Judy Kuhn (Fun Home, Chess), two-time Tony and DD nominee Beth Leavel, multiple Tony and DD nominee Debra Monk, Tony nominee Jessie Mueller (Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, On a Clear Day…), Tony and DD winner Billy Porter, Tony and DD nominee Andrew Rannells, Krysta Rodriguez (First Date, TV’s Smash), DD nominee Cass Morgan (The Bridges of Madison County, Pump Boys and Dinettes), Tony Yazbeck (White Christmas, Gypsy, ACL); Encores!’s Little Me).
The special guest star will be legendary Patricia Morison, Lilli Vanessi/Kate in Cole Porter’s 1949 Tony-winning Kiss Me, Kate for the majority of its 1,077 performances; and later as Anna joined in The King and I as Anna. Also appearing will be Stephen Bienskie, Colin Hanlon, and Max von Essen of the web series Submissions Only , along with co-creator Andrew Keenan-Bolger.
Special guest stars will be the men of the hit web series Submissions Only: co-creator Andrew Keenan-Bolger, Stephen Bienskie, Colin Hanlon, and Max von Essen.
Last year’s sold-out show raised a record-breaking $347,060 and featured a line‐up of performers nominated collectively for 34 Tonys, 25 Emmys, and two Oscars.
"I’m always overwhelmed by the talent volunteering to perform and enthusiastic response from ticket buyers," says Bartley. "Through eight editions, we’ve raised hundreds of thousands of dollars that help provide lifesaving medications."
Mary-Mitchell Campbell will be music supervisor, with Tim Rosser as music director. Amy Jones and Melissa Rae Mahon will contribute additional choreography.
Broadway Backwards tickets are $85, $175, and $285 and available at broadwaycares.org or by calling (212) 840-0770 X. 268. VIP tickets, $550, include premium seats and post-show cast party. A limited number of Benefactor $5,000 Backstage & Beyond packages are available. They include the 1 P.M. dress, premium seats for the show, backstage access, and a meet and greet with the performers.
The presenting sponsor of Broadway Backwards is Lifetime Networks with generous support from The New York Times and United Airlines.
Broadway Backwards is also the harbinger for the annual BC/EFA fundraiser Easter Bonnet Competition is just around the corner. Tickets for the April 21 and 22 shows at the Gershwin Theatre are $375 for VIP orchestra; $250 priority center orchestra; $130 side orchestra and front mezzanine; $50 rear side orchestra and middle mezzanine; and $30 rear mezzanine. Purchase as above.
BC/EFA, one of the nation’s leading industry-based, non-profit AIDS fundraising and grant-making organizations, has raised more than $250-million since 1988 for essential services for those with AIDS and other critical illnesses. It awards annual grants to more than 450 AIDS and family service organizations nationwide and 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 Al Hirschfeld Free Health Clinic.
For more information, please visit broadwaycares.org, like at facebook.com/BCEFA, follow at twitter.com/BCEFA, watch at youtube.com/BCEFAtv, pin at pinterest.com/BCEFA, and tag at instagram.com/BCEFA.