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Wednesday, 07 March 2012 21:13

Broadway Backwards 7 Breaks Fundraising Record for BC/EFA & The Center

Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS

BROADWAY BACKWARDS 7
BREAKS ANOTHER RECORD,
RAISES $329,000 FOR

Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS
& THE CENTER

BROADWAY BACKWARDS 7, the once-a-year celebration of the gay and lesbian community, our friends and families, raised a record-breaking $329,000 on Monday to benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center.

{module ad_lef_body}This year’s spectacular total surpassed last year’s previous record of $281,200.

The sold-out show left the audience cheering after unforgettable performances by Tony Award winner and Broadway legend Betty Buckley (Cats, Sunset Boulevard), Tony winners LaChanze (The Color Purple) and Len Cariou (TV's "Blue Bloods," Sweeney Todd), this year's best actor Tony nominee Andrew Rannells (The Book of Mormon)and special appearances by Emmy-winning comedian Bruce Vilanch and television icon George Takei ("Star Trek"). Featured throughout the show were two-time Tony nominee Robin De Jesús (La Cage aux Folles, In the Heights) and Jason Patrick Snow (The Book of Mormon).

BROADWAY BACKWARDS 7 was presented this year in the historic and beautifully restored Al Hirschfeld Theatre, currently home to the hit revival How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.

Not just another night on Broadway, BROADWAY BACKWARDS 7 featured an immensely talented 65-person cast and live orchestra performing the great songs of musical theatre with a twist: women sang songs originally written for men and men sang songs written for women. By keeping the lyrics intact, including the original pronouns, each song took on a new dimension.

Some highlights from this year’s standing-room-only BROADWAY BACKWARDS:

  • Tony Award-winner Betty Buckley returned to the Broadway stage for an emotional medley of songs from Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd.  The hushed audience hung on every dramatic note as Buckley revisited "Not While I'm Around," "Johanna," and "My Friends."
  • The show's inspiring, gospel-fueled finale of "I Am What I Am" from La Cage Aux Folles triggered a rapturous standing ovation. This bring-down-the-house rendition was led by Shawna Hamic, who's currently getting raves as Madame Thénardier in the 25th anniversary national touring production of Les Misérables, and backed by the show’s ensemble of several dozen Broadway singers and dancers.
  • Act One closed with the defiant, high-energy anthem "I Just Want to Dance" from Jerry Springer: The Opera featuring Jason Patrick Snow and Cicily Daniels (The Little Mermaid).
  • Jenn Colella (High Fidelity) and Jackie Hoffman (The Addams Family) turned the Damn Yankees showstopper "The Game" into an all-female vow to stay away from “booze and broads,” with a special cameo appearance and pep talk by "Coach" George Takei.
  • Andrew Rannells brought a slice of Funny Girl to a Broadway stage after all this season with a smoky and sensitive rendition of "The Music That Makes Me Dance."
  • Thunderous applause kept Broadway veterans Harvey Evans and Jim Brochu on stage after a flirtatious and whimsically sweet vaudeville turn in "It's Never Too Late to Fall In Love" from The Boy Friend.
  • The iconic balcony duet from West Side Story got the BROADWAY BACKWARDS treatment as Sierra Boggess (Master Class, Love Never Dies) and Elizabeth Stanley (Million Dollar Quartet) recreated the touching Bernstein/Sondheim love song “Tonight.”
  • Bryan Batt (TV's "Mad Men") took a comedic romp through "Life with Harold" from The Full Monty as he tried to keep focus on the wonderful attributes of his husband, Harold, amid the distractions of handsome young shoppers along Fifth Avenue.
  • Acclaimed new star Jessie Mueller brought the amazing vocals that won over hearts late last year in her Broadway debut in On a Clear Day You Can See Forever as she delivered her take on two numbers from the show, originally sung by Harry Connick Jr., "She Wasn't You" and "Come Back to Me"

Other featured performers included Charles Busch (The Divine Sister), Dan Butler ("Frasier"), Mario Cantone (Laugh Whore), Nancy Dussault (Into the Woods), Anthony Federov ("American Idol"), Barrett Foa ("NCIS: LA,” Avenue Q), Telly Leung (Godspell)) and Brian Charles Rooney (The Threepenny Opera).

Creator Robert Bartley directed and choreographed with music direction by Mary-Mitchell Campbell. The creative team also included co-choreographers Stephanie Klemons and Patrick O’Neill, lighting designer Ryan O'Gara and costume designer Philip Heckman.

BROADWAY BACKWARDS began as a grassroots concert performed at the Center in 2006. In subsequent years, the event grew quickly, performing Off-Broadway at 37 Arts, followed by Roundabout’s American Airlines Theatre, Lincoln Center Theater at the Vivian Beaumont and last year at Broadway's Longacre Theatre.

The one-night-only event continues to grow in popularity and success in supporting the work of Broadway Cares and the Center. Last year's record-breaking $281,200 topped the previous year's total of more than $186,700.

The presenting sponsor of BROADWAY BACKWARDS 7 is Lifetime Networks, with the generous support of The New York Times and United Airlines.

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 $195 million for essential services for people with AIDS and other critical illnesses across the United States.

BC/EFA awards annual grants to more than 400 AIDS and family service organizations nationwide and is the major supporter of seven 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, visit broadwaycares.org, follow us at twitter.com/BCEFA or like us at facebook.com/BCEFA.

ABOUT THE CENTER

A beacon of hope for 29 years, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center builds and supports our community through arts and culture, wellness and recovery, HIV/AIDS services, family services and life-saving youth programs designed to foster healthy development in a safe, affirming environment. The Center envisions a world where LGBT people will no longer face discrimination or isolation because of who we are or who we love. We offer a welcoming home to thousands of visitors each year and are committed to serving all LGBT people through a variety of programs, services and activities that are designed to meet existing and emerging needs. The Center is many things to many people. We invite you to experience our home at 208 West 13th Street in person and online at gaycenter.org.

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Last modified on Wednesday, 07 March 2012 21:19