On June 12, 2016, the shooting at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida, was intended as an act of hatred—but Broadway responded with love.
In support of the victims and their families, Pulse, the Orlando community and the LGBTQ population at large, Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley conceived “Broadway for Orlando.” They gathered as many members of the Broadway community as their text messages could reach and with the help of Playbill recorded a new arrangement of Burt Bacharach’s “What the World Needs Now.” Produced by Broadway Records, 100 percent of proceeds from the single continue to go to the GLBT Community Center of Central Florida and The Trevor Project.
June 22 marks the one-year anniversary of the single's release. To date, there have been 75,000 units sold and $100,000 raised. The song made it to the Billboard Hot 100; a dance remix of the song made it to the Billboard Dance Club Chart for multiple weeks; and Hal Leonard published sheet music of the new rendition, leading to increased awareness and love, all originating from the theatre community.
The original recording features Sara Bareilles, Kristen Bell, Wayne Brady, Matthew Broderick, Andréa Burns, Ann Hampton Callaway, Liz Callaway, Len Cariou, Paul Castree, Michael Cerveris, Joshua Colley, Lilla Crawford, Carmen Cusack, Darius de Haas, Fran Drescher, Gloria Estefan, Kimiko Glenn, Whoopi Goldberg, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Joel Grey, Sean Hayes, Nina Hennessy, James Monroe Iglehart, Julie James, Carole King, Judy Kuhn, Nathan Lane, Anika Larsen, Zachary Levi, Jose Llana, Rebecca Luker, Andrea Martin, Audra McDonald, Idina Menzel, Janet Metz, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Jessie Mueller, Donna Murphy, Rosie O’Donnell, Kelli O’Hara, Rory O’Malley, Orfeh, Sarah Jessica Parker, Christine Pedi, Rosie Perez, Bernadette Peters, Billy Porter, Alice Ripley, Chita Rivera, Seth Rudetsky, Keala Settle, Kate Schindle, Jennifer Simard, Will Swenson, Rachel Tucker, Tommy Tune, Jonah Verdon, James Wesley, Juli Wesley, Lillias White, Edith Windsor, Marissa Jaret Winokur, B.D. Wong, and Tony Yazbeck.
A group of performers sang the song on the June 21, 2016, episode of the variety show Maya & Marty and again at the Democratic National Convention on July 27, 2016.
Now, the city of Orlando has incorporated the music video into the permanent Pulse memorial.