Who: Gabriel Byrne, Sarah McNally
What: Livestreamed discussion
Where: McNally Jackson Books Zoom
When: Thursday, February 25, $5, 7:00
Why: “How many times have I returned in my dreams to this hill. It is always summer as I look out over the gold and green fields, ditches foaming with hawthorn and lilac, river glinting under the sun like a blade. When I was young, I found sanctuary here and the memory of it deep in my soul ever after has brought me comfort. Once I believed it would never change, but that was before I came to know that all things must. It’s a car park now, a sightseers panorama.” So begins award-winning actor Gabriel Byrne’s widely hailed, poetic, soul-searching memoir, Walking with Ghosts (Grove Press, January 2021, $26).
The seventy-year-old Dublin native has appeared in such films as The Usual Suspects and Miller’s Crossing, such television series as In Treatment and Vikings, and such Broadway productions as A Moon for the Misbegotten and Long Day’s Journey into Night. On the book, he recounts his childhood in a working-class family, his discovery of the theater, and his battle with addiction with grace, humor, and bracing honesty. On February 25 at 7:00, he will speak with McNally Jackson Books founder Sarah McNally about the memoir and his career, live over Zoom. Admission is $5, but you can get those five bucks back if you buy a copy of the book when registering for the event and using discount code BYRNE5OFF.
Who: Jim Brickman, Kelli O’Hara, Matt Doyle, Sierra Boggess, Megan Hilty, Wayne Brady, Shoshana Bean, Santino Fontana, Adrienne Warren, Norm Lewis, Max Von Essen, Jane Lynch
What: Holiday concert benefiting the Actors Fund
When: Saturday, November 28, $20-$200, 8:00
Why: Solo pianist, songwriter, and author Jim Brickman is celebrating the holidays this year with a new album and virtual tour. The just-released Brickman for Broadway Christmas features an all-star lineup singing seasonal favorites, including Santino Fontana’s “Coming Home for Christmas,” Adrienne Warren’s “Hear Me,” Megan Hilty’s “Merry Christmas Darling,” Norm Lewis’s “’Twas The Night Before Christmas,” Shoshana Bean’s “Sending You a Little Christmas,” Sierra Boggess’s “Fa La La,” Max Von Essen’s “Christmas Is,” and Kelli O’Hara’s “O Holy Night.” On November 28 at 8:00, all of those Broadway performers will join Brickman and special guests Wayne Brady and Jane Lynch for a livestreamed interactive concert benefiting the Actors Fund.
“Recording duets with Broadway stars has always been on my career bucket list,” Brickman said in a statement. “The Brickman for Broadway Christmas project to benefit the Actors Fund was a perfect opportunity to record my songs with theater's best and to raise money for such a worthy cause during this challenging time in the world. And to hear such phenomenal singers bring these songs to life was a thrill.” Admission to the show itself is $20; for the $75 Gold Package you can hang out with Brickman and others in a Zoom room and get a stocking of Christmas presents (CD, autographed photo, program, more) delivered to your door; and the $200 Diamond Package adds all of the above along with access to a preshow party. Brickman will also be hosting “Comfort & Joy at Home” concerts with special guests November 29 through January 2, each concert benefiting a different organization and/or theater.
Who: James Monroe Iglehart, Rafael Casal, Adrienne Warren, James Monroe Iglehart, Danny Burstein, Nik Walker, Lesli Margherita, Rob McClure, Kathryn Allison, Jenni Barber, Erin Elizabeth Clemons, Fergie L. Philippe, Jawan M. Jackson, Brian Gonzales
What: Livestreamed benefit concert
Where: the Actors Fund Vimeo channel
When: Saturday, October 31, $4.99, 7:00
Why: “Year after year, it’s the same routine / And I grow so weary of the sound of screams / And I, Jack, the Pumpkin King / Have grown so tired of the same old thing,” Skeleton Jack sings in Tim Burton’s 1993 animated classic, The Nightmare Before Christmas. In this horrific 2020, everyone will be lamenting the holiday, with no parade in the Village, no club parties and in-person costume contests, no bobbing for apples, and no trick-or-treating; the city is destined to be a lonely place on October 31. But there’s a lot happening online, including a benefit concert featuring Broadway stars performing Danny Elfman’s music from Nightmare. The all-star cast includes Rafael Casal as Jack, Adrienne Warren as Sally, James Monroe Iglehart as Oogie Boogie, Danny Burstein as Santa, Nik Walker as Lock, Leslie Margherita as Shock, and Rob McClure as Barrel, joined by Kathryn Allison, Jenni Barber, Erin Elizabeth Clemons, Fergie L. Philippe, Jawan M. Jackson, and Brian Gonzales. Tickets are only $4.99, with proceeds going to the Actors Fund and the Lymphoma Research Foundation.
Who: Hillary Clinton, Audra McDonald, Danielle Brooks, Jessie Mueller, Neil Patrick Harris, Michael Paulson
What: New York Times Offstage event
Where: New York Times online
When: Thursday, October 1, free with RSVP, 7:00
Why: In February 2017, I was at the Palace Theatre, waiting for Sunset Boulevard, the musical with Glenn Close, to start. We all soon realized why the curtain was being delayed: Hillary Clinton was just coming in, being ushered to her orchestra seat. The applause was enormous, lasting several minutes in an outpouring of love and respect for our near-president; in fact, it was the best part of the evening. Hillary, with and without Bill, is a Broadway regular; on October 1 at 7:00, she is the centerpiece of the livestreamed discussion “How I Miss Broadway.” The New York Times “Offstage” event will be moderated by theater reporter Michael Paulson; after the initial talk, they will be joined by six-time Tony winner Audra McDonald (Porgy and Bess, Master Class), Tony nominee Danielle Brooks (The Color Purple, Much Ado About Nothing), and Tony winners Jessie Mueller (Waitress, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical) and Neil Patrick Harris (Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Cabaret). Registration is free; Broadway may be dark because of the pandemic, but this should be a cathartic experience bringing part of the theater community together for an evening.
The Times’s “Offstage” series kicked off June 11 with “Opening Night: Explore Broadway as It Was, Is, and Will Be,” featuring critic at large Wesley Morris speaking with Adrienne Warren, Daniel J. Watts, Celia Rose Gooding, and Kenny Leon, followed by discussions with Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick, Sonya Tayeh, and Jeremy O. Harris and performances by Mary-Louise Parker, Elizabeth Stanley, Mare Winningham, and the casts of Company and Six. You can watch that presentation here.
Who: Friends, family, and colleagues of Broadway actor Nick Cordero
What: Livestreamed tribute to Nick Cordero
Where: Broadway on Demand
When: Sunday, September 6, free, 7:00
Why: The Broadway community has been hit hard by the Covid-19 crisis, from the shuttering of theaters to such mainstays as Brian Stokes Mitchell, Sara Bareilles, Aaron Tveit, Laura Bell Bundy, John Benjamin Hickey, Bryan Cranston, Danny Burstein and Rebecca Luker, and Tony Shalhoub and Brooke Adams contracting the virus. It has also claimed the lives of playwright Terrence McNally, beloved character actor Mark Blum, and, most notably, Tony-nominated Canadian star Nick Cordero, who first had to have one of his legs amputated, then passed away on July 5 at the age of forty-one, leaving behind his wife, Amanda Kloots, and their one-year-old son, Elvis. On September 6 at 7:00, Broadway on Demand is hosting a memorial tribute to Cordero, featuring friends, family, and cast members from all of his shows, including A Bronx Tale, Bullets over Broadway, Rock of Ages, The Toxic Avenger, and Waitress. It’s free to tune in, but the audience is encouraged to text CORDERO to 41444 to donate to Save the Music, a nonprofit that “helps students, schools, and communities reach their full potential through the power of making music.”
Who: Teal Wicks, Kate Baldwin, Brandon Victor Dixon, Eva Noblezada
What: Live concerts to be seen in person and online, presented by Broadway Relief Project
Where: Open Jar Studios, 1601 Broadway between Forty-Eighth & Forty-Ninth Sts., eleventh floor
When: September 4-11 (more to come), $5 - $90, 8:00
Why: Just as many schools are starting up again in a hybrid format, a mix of in-person and virtual learning, Open Jar Studios is doing the same with concerts. The Broadway Relief Project kicked off August 21 with a concert by Joshua Henry at the Theater District venue, where a fully masked crowd of forty-eight (in a space that can hold up to three hundred) watched from individual seats separated by plexiglass, with a specially designed air system and no one within twenty feet of the band; you can also join in via livestream here. That was followed August 22 by Jay Armstrong Johnson and August 30 by Vinny Pastore’s Gangster Squad; each performer chooses what charity they want proceeds to go to. “It’s been remarkable to be able to bring a live audience together for the first time in over five months and to see the emotional reception the artists are receiving,” Open Jar Studios owner Jeff Whiting said in a statement. “The cooperation with the city and these Broadway artists has been key to the development of this socially distant space, and it’s been a wonderful challenge to find safe ways to get audiences together to enjoy these Broadway stars.”
Next up is Teal Wicks (Wicked, The Cher Show) on September 4 ($35-$50), benefiting One Tree Planted, followed by Tony nominee Kate Baldwin (Big Fish, Hello, Dolly!) on September 5 ($35-$50), benefiting Active Minds; Tony, Emmy, and Grammy nominee Brandon Victor Dixon (Hamilton, Shuffle Along) on September 6 ($70-$90), benefiting the WeAre Foundation; and two-time Tony nominee and Grammy winner Eva Noblezada (Miss Saigon, Hadestown) on September 11 ($70-$90, charity TBA). Keep watching this space for more announcements.
Who: Christine Andreas, Sarah Uriarte Berry, Christina Bianco, Chuck Cooper, Robert Cuccioli, Marc De la Cruz, George Dvorsky, Anita Gillette, Jason Graae, Ann Harada, Leah Hocking, Richard Jay-Alexander, Judy Kaye, Jeff Keller, Eddie Korbich, Michael McCormick, N’Kenge, Barry Pearl, Gabriella Pizzolo, Stephanie Pope, Faith Prince, Courtney Reed, T. Oliver Reid, Steve Rosen, Jennifer Sanchez, Analise Scarpaci, Tony Sheldon, Ryan Silverman, Paulo Szot, Ben Vereen
What: Benefit for the Actors Fund, hosted by Theater Pizzazz
Where: Metropolitan Zoom
When: Monday, August 31, $20, 7:00
Why: On August 31 at 7:00, Sandi Durell’s Theater Pizzazz, an entertainment website dedicated to live music and theater, is presenting the world premiere of the video “The Theatre Will Survive,” a song created during the pandemic to celebrate the resiliency of the industry. The lyrics are by Michael Colby, with music and orchestrations by Ned Paul Ginsburg. The cast features such award winners and favorites as Chuck Cooper, Anita Gillette, Judy Kaye, Stephanie Pope, Faith Prince, Courtney Reed, Paulo Szot, and Ben Vereen. The evening will include a live chat with many of the participants; all proceeds benefit the Actors Fund’s Covid-19 Emergency Relief Fund.