On Monday March 9th at 8pm for one night only, some of Broadway's brightest stars will come together to perform some the greatest musical numbers ever written---with a twist: the men will sing songs originally written for women, and the women will sing songs written for men. It's all part of what makes Broadway Backwards one of the most entertaining nights on the New York Theater calendar.
Now in its 10th year, Broadway Backwards is a gender-bending spectacle with a decidedly vaudevillian vibe. I'm told that this year's the event will celebrate some of the most memorable numbers from previous years. It will also feature the return of many of the show's most popular performers.
The event is produced by Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and benefits BC/EFA and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center of New York.
An All-Star Line Up
The roster of stars joining this year's Broadway Backwards includes Tony Award winners Len Cariou (Sweeney Todd, TV's "Blue Bloods") and Brian Stokes Mitchell (Kiss Me, Kate), and Broadway favorites Tituss Burgess (The Little Mermaid), Julie Halston (You Can't Take It With You), Ann Harada (Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella, Avenue Q), Florence Henderson (Oklahoma!, TV's "The Brady Bunch"), Elizabeth Stanley (On the Town), Aaron Lazar (The Last Ship) and Tony Yazbeck (On the Town), Lena Hall (still wowing audiences in Hedwig and the Angry Inch), plus Lillias White, Mario Cantone, Norm Lewis and Maureen McGovern.
Recently added to the roster of performers is incredible Lily Tomlin, and as the date draws closer, I'm told even more stars will enter the picture. As I've discovered from my seat in the audience, each year is filled with surprises.
The first year I saw Broadway Backwards, Alan Cumming was performing "Don't Tell Mama" and he brought down the house. He was also wearing a short-sleeved, short-legged union suit that was pretty sensational. As a fan of union suits, I had to have one, So I called the Broadway Cares office after the show to inquire about purchasing one. For a modest donation, I got my own tailor-made union suit---and a whole lot more. I got the chance to learn all about the great work that Broadway Cares does.
Tony Yazbeck, Michael Berresse in Chicago's "Nowadays / Hot Honey Rag" 2014 Broadway Backwards
They Put the "Fun" in Fundraising
Since its inception, Broadway Cares has raised over $250 Million to help people living with AIDS and other critical illnesses. Their work is tireless, ongoing and a lot of fun. I've since become a fan and supporter. Broadway Backwards is just one of many events they hold---others include Broadway Bares and Gypsy of The Year.
￼"I'm thrilled to welcome back these talented performers for this special 10th edition of Broadway Backwards," creator Robert Bartley said. "Thanks to them and the hundreds of talented performers who have participated in the nine editions of Broadway Backwards so far, we've been able to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars that help provide lifesaving medications, counseling and support for LGBT youth and those struggling with HIV/AIDS."
Jonathan Groff, Uzo Aduba, Kyle Dean Massey - 2014 Broadway Backwards
Tickets Are First Come, First Serve
This year's edition of Broadway Backwards will be performed on Monday, March 9th at 8 PM at Broadway's Al Hirschfeld Theatre (302 West 45th Street, NYC), home to the Tony Award-winning Best Musical Kinky Boots. Tickets are available exclusively at broadwaycares.org or by calling 212.840.0770, ext. 268. Prices start at $85.
VIP tickets include premium seats and a special post-show party with the cast. A limited number of "Backstage & Beyond" ticket packages also are available, which include the opportunity to see the dress rehearsal, exclusive backstage access, a "meet and greet" with some of the stars of Broadway Backwards, premium seats for the show and more.
Bartley will again direct and choreograph the show. Also returning are Mary-Mitchell Campbell as music supervisor and Tim Rosser as music director. Adam Roberts serves as associate choreographer with lighting design by Ryan O'Gara and costume design by Bernadette Banner. Last year's sold-out show raised a record-breaking $423,182 and featured a lineup of 51 performers from Broadway, film and television.
Broadway Backwards began as a grassroots concert performed at the Center in 2006. In subsequent years, the event grew quickly, performing Off-Broadway, then on Broadway for the last six years. Broadway Backwards is sponsored by The New York Times and United Airlines.
Andrew Rannells, Billy Porter, Stephanie J. Block, Norm Lewis - 2014 Broadway Backwards
About Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS
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 BC/EFA has raised more than $250 million for essential services for people with AIDS and other critical illnesses across the United States.
Broadway Cares awards annual grants to more than 450 AIDS and family service organizations in all 50 states 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 Broadway Cares online at broadwaycares.org, at facebook.com/BCEFA, at twitter.com/BCEFA, at youtube.com/BCEFAtv and at instagram.com/BCEFA.
Telly Leung Rehearses for Broadway Backwards 2015
Uzo Aduba, Rachel Bay Jones sing "Lily's Eyes" 2014 Broadway Backwards