Who: George Takei, Telly Leung, more
What: Online streaming of 2015 Broadway musical Allegiance
Where: Broadway on Demand
When: Friday, May 29, $14.99 with red carpet, $8.99 without, 7:30/8:00
Why: Beginning on May 29, Broadway on Demand will start streaming the 2015 Broadway musical Allegiance, about a Japanese American family that was forcefully removed from its homes and imprisoned in an internment camp. It was inspired by the real-life story of Star Trek veteran George Takei, who appeared in the show as the father. The presentation will stream for ten days, kicking off May 29 at 7:30 with a virtual red carpet featuring Takei, costar Telly Leung, and other members of the cast and creative team discussing the making of Allegiance. In my review, I wrote, “Takei, with his big, welcoming smile, riotous sense of humor, and fearlessness in standing up for what he believes in, is an inspiring American, and it is heartwarming watching him in such an important, if not completely successful, Broadway production, one that will very likely have you teary as you leave the theater.” Among the other events streaming at Broadway on Demand this month are Turn It Out with Tiler Peck, “The Producer’s Perspective with Lisa Kron,” “First Look: New Musicals with Jeanine Tesori, Kirsten Childs, and Ben Wexler,” Bandstand, “Bard & Brew,” and other live and prerecorded events, many of which are free with a basic subscription.
Who: Laura Osnes, Telly Leung, Jenna Leigh Green, Santino Fontana, Jenn Colella, Lilli Cooper, Chilina Kennedy, Lesli Margherita, Karla Garcia, Corey Cott, more TBA
What: Broadway Fantasy Camp
Where: Broadway Fantasy Camp Zoom room
When: May 30 - July 1, $25
Why: Broadway Fantasy Camp usually takes place at Sardi’s, where fans can get up close and personal with some of their favorite stars. With the Great White Way dark because of the pandemic, one of the cornerstones of the annual event, now rechristened “Broadway Banter: Safe-at-Home,” has moved online, where you can spend an hour on Zoom with a Broadway star, joined by no more than forty-nine other guests. The performers will talk about their career, from their debut to onstage mishaps to how they are coping during the coronavirus crisis, followed by a Q&A, so have your questions ready. The sessions, which cost a mere $25 each, are scheduled for May 30 to July 1 and feature an impressive roster: Laura Osnes, Telly Leung, Jenna Leigh Green, Santino Fontana, Jenn Colella, Lilli Cooper, Chilina Kennedy, Lesli Margherita, Karla Garcia, and Corey Cott. For every twenty-five tickets sold, a free ticket will be donated to a hospital worker. “The Broadway community leads the way in being generous and sensitive to the human condition,” Broadway Fantasy Camp founder and producer Lauren Class Schneider said in a statement. “Broadway Fantasy Camp is humbled to include hospital workers in our audience as they continue to serve on the frontlines across the country and around the world.” Tony nominee Colella added, “I’m looking forward to creating a community through ‘Broadway Banter.’ It’s not just a Q&A session. . . . I want to hear my fans express in their own voices how they are feeling during this time and what they are doing to stay creative. I want us to create a dialogue together to lift one another up in this very strange time. The opportunity to ‘hang out’ with my fans and for them to get to know one another makes my heart soar.”
Who: Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Stephen M. Kaus
What: Livestream discussion with exclusive footage
Where: Manhattan Theatre Club Facebook Live
When: Thursday, May 21, free, 5:00
Why: In 2017, Manhattan Theatre Club presented the August Wilson’s Jitney at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, the first American Century Cycle play Wilson wrote but the last to reach Broadway. The production, which earned the Tony for Best Revival of a Play and featured John Douglas Thompson, André Holland, Ray Anthony Thomas, Brandon J. Dirden, Carra Patterson, Michael Potts, Harvy Blanks, Anthony Chisholm, and Keith Randolph Smith, was directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson, who has acted in, directed, and/or recorded the complete ten-play cycle and was friends with the playwright; he was Wilson’s personal choice to portray him in the autobiographical one-man show How I Learned What I Learned once Wilson got ill and then passed away, in 2005 at the age of sixty. On May 21 at 5:00 on MTC’s Facebook page, Santiago-Hudson will discuss his directorial choices, accompanied by clips from the Broadway run that he will review in depth; he will be joined by MTC director of artistic producing Stephen M. Kaus. Santiago-Hudson won a Tony for his performance in Wilson’s Seven Guitars, has written Lackawanna Blues and Your Blues Ain’t Sweet Like Mine, and has directed such other plays as Paradise Blue and Wilson’s The Piano Lesson.
Who: Jon Bon Jovi, Meryl Streep, Diane Keaton, Rachel Brosnahan, Stephen Colbert, Martin Short, Dolly Parton, Dionne Warwick, Stephanie J. Block, Tony Shalhoub, Charlie Day, Chris O’Dowd, Zachary Levi, Zachary Quinto, Robin Thicke, Deborah Cox, Quentin Earl Darrington, Ariana DeBose, Darius de Haas, Mary Elizabeth Ellis, Eden Espinosa, Jordan Fisher, Stephanie Hsu, Randy Jackson, Capathia Jenkins, Jeremy Jordan, Ramona Keller, Alex Newell, Karen Olivo, Dawn O’Porter, Laura Osnes, Benj Pasek, Jodi Picoult, Shereen Pimentel, Andrew Rannells, Keala Settle, Jake David Smith, Will Swenson, Bobby Conte Thornton, Ana Villafane, Frank Wildhorn, Broadway Inspirational Voices, Covenant House Youth, more
What: Virtual benefit for Covenant House
Where: Amazon Prime Video, Broadway on Demand, Facebook, iHeartRadio Broadway, Stars in the House, Twitch, YouTube
When: Monday, May 18, free with advance registration (donations accepted), 8:00
Why: Covenant House’s annual gala goes virtual this year with A Night of Covenant House Stars on May 18 at 8:00. It’s free to watch, although you can donate to help homeless youth specifically during Covid-19. The mission of Covenant House, which was founded in 1972 and now has locations in thirty-one cities in six countries, is that “through a combination of support strategies, including educational programs, job training and placement, medical services, mental health and substance abuse counseling, legal aid and beyond, we help young people embrace the great promise of their lives, overcome steep barriers to independence, and strive to achieve their aspirations.” The ninety-minute concert will feature performances by such stars as Stephanie J. Block, Jon Bon Jovi, Dolly Parton, Jeremy Jordan, and Laura Osnes with appearances by Rachel Brosnahan, Stephen Colbert, Meryl Streep, Zachary Quinto, Diane Keaton, Tony Shalhoub, and more, cohosted by Audra McDonald and John Dickerson. While we’re all stuck at home, there are too many young people who don’t have anywhere to go, before, during, and after the pandemic. Covenant House seeks to change that.
Who: Gideon Glick, John Behlmann, Sas Goldberg, Rebecca Naomi Jones, Lindsay Mendez, Luke Smith, Barbara Barrie
What: One-night-only livestreamed reading benefiting the Actors Fund
Where: Broadway’s Best Shows, the Actors Fund YouTube page
When: Thursday, May 14, free (donations accepted), 8:00
Why: Joshua Harmon’s Significant Other seems tailor made for the coronavirus pandemic: a brilliant show about a group of friends who are seeking romantic partners, with varying degrees of success, while focusing on Jordan Berman, a twentysomething gay man who thinks he might be doomed to spend his life alone. I first saw the play — and loved it — in 2015 at the Roundabout, then fell in love with it all over again when it moved to the Booth on Broadway in 2017. On May 14, the original Broadway cast will reunite for a one-time-only Zoom reading benefiting the Actors Fund. Participating from wherever they are sheltering in place — either by themselves or with significant others — are Gideon Glick as Jordan, Sas Goldberg as Kiki, Rebecca Naomi Jones as Vanessa, Lindsay Mendez as Laura, Barbara Barrie as Helen, and John Behlmann and Luke Smith as various potential partners, with Trip Cullman directing. The show is sponsored by Broadway’s Best Shows, which previously presented David Mamet’s November on May 8 with John Malkovich, Patti LuPone, Dylan Baker, Ethan Phillips, and Michael Nichols and will next stream A. R. Gurney’s Love Letters, starring Bryan Cranston and Sally Field, directed by Jerry Zaks, on May 21. “Seeing Significant Other for the second time was like reconnecting with old friends,” I wrote back in 2017. I can’t wait to see how I feel when I see it for the third time, from the comfort of my chair in front of my desktop computer, a friendly cat on my lap.
Who: More than fifty Broadway performers
What: Mother’s Day benefit for the Broadway Cares COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Fund
When: Sunday, May 10, free (donation suggested), 3:00
Why: Broadway tickets are a popular Mother’s Day gift from children. This year, there is currently no Broadway, and most Americans will not be able to visit their mothers because of the coronavirus shutdown. So Broadway.com has teamed with Broadway Cares for a holiday spectacular, presenting Broadway Does Mother’s Day, a one-time-only livestreamed event featuring more than fifty Broadway stars (and their children and mothers) in a Sunday matinee of comedy sketches, musical numbers, and surprises. The celebration will include performances from the casts of such shows as Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations, Beetlejuice, Chicago, Come from Away, Company, Dear Evan Hansen, Diana, Girl from the North Country, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Jagged Little Pill, Mean Girls, Mrs. Doubtfire, Sing Street, and Moulin Rouge! All proceeds go to the Broadway Cares COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Fund, which “helps entertainment professionals meet coronavirus-related expenses and other challenges brought about by the evolving pandemic” and are part of a matching program. Below are the announced participants in this holiday extravaganza.
Jill Abramowitz • Annaleigh Ashford • Kate Baldwin • Jenni Barber • Laura & Linda Benanti • Denée Benton • Betty Buckley • Liz Callaway • Carolee Carmello • Miguel Cervantes • Linda Cho • Victoria Clark • Jenn Colella • Chuck, Eddie & Lilli Cooper • Lea DeLaria • Claybourne Elder • Eden Espinosa • Beanie Feldstein • Harvey Fierstein • Victor Garber • Leah C. Gardiner • Molly Griggs • Ann Harada • Jennifer Holliday • Robyn Hurder • James Monroe Iglehart • Sheryl Kaller • Ryan Kasprzak • Judy Kaye • Celia Keenan-Bolger • Kylie Kuioka • LaChanze • Raymond J. Lee • Lesli Margherita • Ellyn Marie Marsh • Michael McElroy • Alexis Michelle • Bonnie Milligan • Brian Stokes Mitchell • Anisha Nagarajan • Manu Narayan • Bernadette Peters • Greg Anthony Rassen • Amanda Spooner • Jason "SweetTooth" Williams • NaTasha Yvette Williams • Vanessa Williams • Betsy Wolfe • Shahadi Wright Joseph
Who: Meryl Streep, Bernadette Peters, Patti LuPone, Audra McDonald, Mandy Patinkin, Christine Baranski, Donna Murphy, Kristin Chenoweth, Sutton Foster, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Kelli O’Hara, Aaron Tveit, Maria Friedman, Iain Armitage, Katrina Lenk, Michael Cerveris, Brandon Uranowitz, Stephen Schwartz, Elizabeth Stanley, Chip Zien, Alexander Gemignani, Melissa Errico, Ann Harada, Austin Ku, Kelvin Moon Loh Thom Sesma, Annaleigh Ashford, Laura Benanti, Beanie Feldstein, Josh Groban, Jake Gyllenhaal, Neil Patrick Harris, Judy Kuhn, Linda Lavin, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Platt, Randy Rainbow, Lea Salonga, Victor Garber, Joanna Gleason, Nathan Lane, Steven Spielberg, Raúl Esparza
What: Live online celebration of Stephen Sondheim’s ninetieth birthday
Where: Broadway.com YouTube channel
When: Sunday, April 26, free, 8:00
Why: Stephen Joshua Sondheim was born in New York City on March 22, 1930. Over his long career, the Oscar, Tony, and Grammy winner has written the music and lyrics for such shows as West Side Story, Gypsy, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Company, Follies, A Little Night Music, Pacific Overtures, Sweeney Todd, Sunday in the Park with George, Into the Woods, and many others. A much-lauded revival of Company was set to hit Broadway on March 22, joining a revival of West Side Story, but both shows were closed down when Broadway went dark March 12 because of the coronavirus. But an all-star lineup will be paying tribute to Sondheim from their homes with “Take Me to the World: A Sondheim 90th Birthday Celebration,” a gala event being held on April 26 at 8:00. Sponsored by Broadway.com, the party will be streamed live on YouTube for free, but watchers are encouraged to donate to ASTEP (Artists Striving to End Poverty), an NYC Service organization that seeks to “unite New Yorkers in service to advance lifelong civic engagement for a more equitable and inclusive city.” Above is the remarkable guest list of performers and well-wishers; the evening will be hosted by Tony winner Raúl Esparza, a veteran of Sunday in the Park with George and Company. Sondheim might be ninety, but we got used to seeing him all the time at the theater, as an audience member. Sunday night he’ll take center stage, where he belongs.