Bernadette Peters, Wayne Brady, Alexandra Billings, More Set for Broadway Cares' Broadway Backwards | Playbill

Broadway Cares Bernadette Peters, Wayne Brady, Alexandra Billings, More Set for Broadway Cares' Broadway Backwards

Jenn Colella will return as host.

Bernadette Peters, Wayne Brady, and Alexandra Billings

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, the evening that salutes love in all its forms benefits Broadway Cares and New York City’s LGBT Community Center.

Come From Away Tony nominee Jenn Colella will once again host the evening. Performers are currently scheduled to include Tony winners Bernadette PetersLen Cariou, Lena Hall, and Lillias White as well as Alexandra Billings, Matt Doyle, Claybourne Elder, Lauren Patten, George SalazarBrandon Uranowitz, Wayne Brady, and Mary Testa.

Jenn Colella

The LGBTQ+ celebration will also feature an ensemble performing fully staged production numbers, a live orchestra, and more special guests to be announced in the coming weeks.

Broadway Backwards creator Robert Bartley will once again write and direct the benefit with music supervision by Mary-Mitchell Campbell and music direction by Ted Arthur. Bartley will co-choreograph the production with Joshua Buscher-West, James Kinney, and Adam Roberts. The production stage manager is Gregory R. Covert.

“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.

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