Broadway Backwards, the annual event where gender doesn’t matter but love does, is set to make its virtual premiere tonight, March 30th at 8PM ET with special appeals from Chasten Buttigieg, Ariana DeBose, Debra Messing, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Tony Shalhoub and Ben Vereen.
The stream can be viewed for free across the globe at broadwaycares.org/backwards2021, on the Broadway Cares YouTube channel or in the player above! It will be available on demand through Saturday, April 3. Broadway Backwards (#broadwaybackwards) is produced by Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and benefits Broadway Cares and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center in New York City
This virtual edition explores how the isolation of the COVID-19 pandemic has specifically affected the LGBTQ community. The show will feature Jay Armstrong Johnson as a New Yorker who hallucinates a fantastical journey guided by a late-night television host, portrayed by Jenn Colella.
New performances will be merged with full numbers from previous editions of the show to create a Broadway Backwards that feels distinctly of the moment.
This year’s streaming event features a new opening number featuring Stephanie J. Block, Deborah Cox and Lea Salonga. Additionally, the stream includes new appearances by Amy Adams, Debbie Allen, Matt Bomer, Brenda Braxton, Len Cariou, Glenn Close, Loretta Devine, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, James Monroe Iglehart, Cheyenne Jackson, Cherry Jones, L Morgan Lee, Raymond J. Lee, Aasif Mandvi, Eric McCormack, Michael McElroy, Debra Messing, Ruthie Ann Miles, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Jessie Mueller, Javier Muñoz, Kelli O’Hara, Karen Olivo, Jim Parsons, Bernadette Peters, Eve Plumb, Roslyn Ruff, Sis, Elizabeth Stanley and Tony Yazbeck, as well as journalists Anderson Cooper, DonLemon and Robin Roberts.
The show also includes beloved performances from previous editions of Broadway Backwards by Ward Billeisen, Charl Brown, Tituss Burgess, Joshua Buscher-West, Len Cariou, Carolee Carmello, Jamie Cepero, Bryan Terrell Clark, Darren Criss, Steven Cutts, Ariana DeBose, Cynthia Erivo, Garlen Gilliland, Andrew Keenan-Bolger, Andy Kelso, Eddie Korbich, Marty Lawson, Michael McElroy, Bonnie Milligan, Debra Monk, Alfie Parker Jr., Brandon Pearson, Eric Petersen, Waldemar Quinones-Villanueva, Andrew Rannells, Alex Ringler, Chita Rivera, Michael James Scott, Ryan Steele, Dennis Stowe, Lillias White, Curtis Wiley and Tony Yazbeck.
The stream’s full company of performers also includes Robert Creighton, Danyel Fulton, Eileen Galindo, Sam Gravitte, Sheldon Henry, Diana Huey, Aaron Libby, Nathan Lucrezio, Melinda Porto, Shelby Ringdahl, Vishal Vaidya and Blake Zolfo.
Creator Robert Bartley will return as writer and director for this virtual version of the show. He will be joined by Mary-Mitchell Campbell as music supervisor, Ted Arthur as music director and Eamon Foley as director of photography and video editor. Joshua Buscher-West joins as associate director, Nick Connors as orchestrator, Benedict Braxton-Smith as music producer and audio engineer, Tyler Milliron as VFX Designer, Matt Kraus as sound designer and Samantha Rodriguez as costume designer.
What began as a small, grassroots concert performed at The Center in 2006 quickly grew into a highly anticipated event presented in Broadway’s best theatres. In total, Broadway Backwards has raised more than $5.3 million for Broadway Cares and The Center.
While the stream is free, donations will be accepted for Broadway Cares, the philanthropic heart of Broadway, and The Center, the heart and home of New York City’s LGBTQ+ community. Every dollar donated will help those isolated, stigmatized and affected by HIV/AIDS, COVID-19 and other critical illnesses receive meals, lifesaving medication, mental health support and other health and wellness services.
The presenting sponsor of this year’s Broadway Backwards is Morgan Stanley. The event also is generously sponsored by The New York Times, ViacomCBS and WarnerMedia. The co-chairs of the Broadway Backwards host committee are Marc Levine, Doug Nieters, Stephen Paine and Jeffrey Trachtman.