The 13th annual edition of Broadway Backwards, which allows performers a chance to defy gender norms by singing a number they traditionally would not have the opportunity to, reached another fundraising milestone. The April 2 event at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre raised a total of $680,273 for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center (surpassing last year's record of $522,870).
The performance featured a cast of 62—including several stage favorites and current Broadway stars—showcasing 19 numbers, from showstopping dance routines to emotional ballads.
Highlights included Jay Armstrong Johnson recreating Bob Fosse's original Sweet Charity choreography for "If They Could See Me Now," Waitress alum Betsy Wolfe performing the Dear Evan Hansen anthem "Waving Through a Window," Michael McElroy and Hamilton's Bryan Terrell Clark on The Color Purple's "What About Love?" and Alex Newell, who led the company in a performance of the Oscar-nominated Greatest Showman tune "This Is Me." Watch clips above.
The Julie Halston-hosted event also featured Noah Galvin (Dear Evan Hansen), Gaelen Gilliland (SpongeBob SquarePants), Telly Leung (Aladdin), Andrea McArdle (Beauty and the Beast, Annie), Joey McIntyre (New Kids on the Block, Wicked), Eric Petersen (Escape to Margaritaville), Nico Tortorella (TV’s Younger), Taylor Trensch (Dear Evan Hansen), Anneliese van der Pol (Beauty and the Beast, TV’s That’s So Raven), Emmy nominee Tituss Burgess, Tony winner Len Cariou, Shawna Hamic, Jay Armstrong Johnson, two-time Tony winner Andrea Martin, Q. Smith, Astrid Van Wieren, Sharon Wheatley, Christian Dante White, and Tony nominee Tony Yazbeck, as well as a special appearance by Oscar winner Hayley Mills.
The 2018 edition was written and directed by Broadway Backwards creator Robert Bartley, who also choreographed pieces alongside associate director Adam Roberts, Mimi Quillin, and Chaz Wolcott. Joining them on the creative team were music supervisor Mary-Mitchell Campbell, music director Laura Bergquist, and associate music director Christopher D. Littlefield. The evenign featured lighting design by Jake DeGroot, costumes by Jess Gersz and Vanessa Leuck, and sound design by Matt Berman.