Who: Broadway performers and celebrity guests Jane Krakowski, Nathan Lane, Beth Leavel, Judith Light, Christopher Sieber, Wesley Taylor, more TBA
What: Broadway Bares charity event
Where: Broadway Cares, YouTube, other outlets
When: Saturday, August 1, free, 9:30
Why: Since 1992, theater actors and special celebrity guests have been taking it off for charity in the ever-popular Broadway Bares gala, stripteasing to raise money for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. From an inaugural take of eight grand that first year, the event raised more than two million dollars in 2019. Founded by Jerry Mitchell, who directed the 1992 production with the cast of The Will Rogers Follies at Splash bar, the show goes online this year, offering viewers prime seating to zoom in and enjoy the festivities, which will include new, socially distanced dances as well as past highlights. “We’re so excited to bring the heat of Broadway Bares to screens around the world for the first time with Broadway Bares: Zoom In,” Tony winner Mitchell (Kinky Boots, Hairspray, The Full Monty) said in a statement. “This year’s performers have gone full-out in both their show-stopping dance moves and desire to make a difference. You’ve got to Zoom In because it’s sure to make your laptop tingle and your cell phone vibrate!” You can watch for free via multiple online sites, but donations are strongly encouraged, with proceeds helping those affected by HIV/AIDS, Covid-19, and other critical illnesses in addition to organizations focusing on social justice and anti-racism. The first round of celebrity stars have been announced, and it’s pretty cool: Jane Krakowski, Nathan Lane, Beth Leavel, Judith Light, Christopher Sieber, and Wesley Taylor, with more to come.
Who: Kirby Ward, Norm Lewis, Faith Prince, Christian Hoff, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Stephen Schwartz, Megan McGinnis, Lauren Patten, Aaron Lazar
What: Zoom interviews with theater professionals
Where: Rubicon Theatre Zoom
When: Fridays and Mondays through August 7, $20 per session, 2:00
Why: During the pandemic, California-based Rubicon has been hosting “Inside the Artist’s Process,” livestreamed interview sessions with major theater professionals, from actors and writers to directors and choreographers. Every Monday and Friday at 2:00, Rubicon education and outreach director Kirby Ward speaks with the guest for a half hour, followed by a thirty-minute Q&A session with students from the Musical Theatre Production Workshop, Fearless Shakespeare, and Stinky Feet program who are enrolled in the summer-camp-like initiative. The series continues with Norm Lewis (Porgy and Bess, Dessa Rose) on July 13, Faith Prince (A Catered Affair, Guys and Dolls) on July 17, Christian Hoff (The Who’s Tommy, Jersey Boys) on July 20, Brian Stokes Mitchell (Ragtime, Kiss Me Kate) on July 24, composer and lyricist Stephen Schwartz (Godspell, Wicked) on July 27, married couple Megan McGinnis (Little Women, Daddy Long Legs) and Adam Halpin (Dear Evan Hansen, Daddy Long Legs) on July 31, Lauren Patten (Jagged Little Pill, The Wolves) on August 3, and Aaron Lazaar (The Last Ship, Les Misérables) and Ben Lipitz (The Lion King) on August 7. You should also check out the free “Connections” hosted by board member Brett Molotsky, who has chatted with Rubicon cofounder and producing artistic director Karyl Lynn Burns, Ward, and Patten, in addition to the troupe’s “Crossing the Rubicon,” Nibroc Trilogy, and “Rubicon Experience” podcast. All proceeds go to Rubicon's education and outreach fund.
Who: Amber Iman, Danielle Brooks, Alia Jones-Harvey, Audra McDonald, Lillias White, Pilin Anice, Jamila Souffrant, Rashad V. Chambers, Lelund Durond, DJ Cocoa
What: All-day virtual conference presented by Black Women on Broadway
Where: Online (information given after registration)
When: Monday, June 29, free with advance RSVP, noon - 10:00 pm
Why: On June 19, I watched the inaugural Antonyo Awards, and it was an eye-opening experience. Sponsored by Broadway Black, the evening celebrated the best of the Black theater community, from actors, writers, and directors to composers, designers, and special honorees. I’ve seen a lot of awards shows, but never one quite like this one, which was by, about, and for the Black community. The presenters and winners made speeches that they probably couldn’t do at the Tonys, the Obies, or the Drama Desk Awards; accepting his Lifetime Achievement Award, Chuck Cooper said, “I am honored, and more than a bit surprised, by this. At this point in my life, it feels like my major achievement was to survive long enough to reach this age being a Black man in America.”
On June 29, Black Women on Broadway, an organization founded by Amber Iman, Jocelyn Bioh, and Danielle Brooks, is hosting the all-day virtual conference “Black Women in Theatre Appreciation Day,” consisting of more than ten hours of panel discussions, interviews, and a closing dance party, chosen through a poll of thirty artists who were asked, “What do you need?” The lineup features “Meditation & Movement” with Pilin Anice at noon, “Money Talks!” with Jamila Souffrant at 1:15, “Producing” with Alia Jones-Harvey and Rashad V. Chambers at 2:30, “Mastering the Art of the Self-Tape” with Lelund Durond at 3:45, “Girl Talk on Zoom” with Amber Iman at 5:00, “The Main Event” with Lillias White and Audra McDonald at 6:30, and “Ladies Night: Let’s Dance!” with DJ Cocoa at 8:00, with Brooks serving as conference moderator.
Who: Audra McDonald, Tituss Burgess, Alex Newell, Jordan E. Cooper, Teyonah Parris, Ephraim Sykes, LaChanze, Derrick Baskin, Nicolette Robinson, Jelani Alladin, Christiani Pitts, James Monroe Iglehart, Amber Iman, Kalen Allen, Nzinga Williams, Jackson Alexander, Cody Renard Richard, Ashton Muñiz, Shereen Pimentel, Kirsten Childs, Aisha Jackson, Antoine L. Smith, Griffin Matthews, Michael McElroy, Jocelyn Bioh, L Morgan Lee, more
What: Inaugural Antonyo Awards show with red carpet, musical numbers, and all-star presenters
Where: Broadway Black YouTube and Facebook
When: Friday, June 19, free, 7:30
Why: In celebration of Juneteenth, Broadway Black is hosting the inaugural Antonyo Awards, honoring the best in Black talent on and off Broadway. Online voting, which was open to the general public, has ended — you can watch the nomination ceremony here, then tune in to YouTube or Facebook on Friday night at 7:00 to see a virtual red carpet and the presentation of the awards, the name of which is a sly twist on the Tonys. Among the shows receiving multiple nominations are A Solder’s Play, For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/when the rainbow is enuf, A Strange Loop, One in Two, The Hot Wing King, Slave Play, The Secret of Life Bees, We’re Gonna Die, Toni Stone, Tina: The Tina Turner Musical, and The Wrong Man, with nods going to such individuals as Okwui Okpokwasili, David Alan Grier, Saycon Sengbloh, Robert O’Hara, Whitney White, Raja Feather Kelly, Lileana Blain-Cruz, Camille A. Brown, Daniel J. Watts, Portia, Danielle Brooks, Audra McDonald, Blair Underwood, and Joshua Henry. In addition, the Kinship Awards (the Lorraine Hansberry Award, the Langston Hughes Award, the Welcome Award, and the Doors of the Theatre Are Open Award) will be given out, and Chuck Cooper will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award. Scheduled to appear during the broadcast are Tituss Burgess, Jordan E. Cooper, LaChanze, Jelani Alladin, Amber Iman, Nzinga Williams, Ashton Muñiz, Aisha Jackson, Jocelyn Bioh, and many others. Founded in 2012 by Drew Shade, Broadway Black is “dedicated to highlighting the achievements and successes of Black theater artists.”
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.