Bebe Neuwirth, Karen Olivo, Lillias White and More Join Starry Line-up for Broadway Backwards 6
By Andrew Gans
Additional participants have been announced for the annual Broadway Backwards concert — featuring male singers performing songs traditionally sung by women and women singing tunes written for men — which will be presented Feb. 7 at 8 PM at the Longacre Theatre on West 48th Street.
The starry evening will benefit both Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS (BC/EFA) and The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center (the Center).
Creator Robert Bartley will again direct and choreograph with musical direction by Chris Haberl.
The one-night-only event will boast the talents of the newly announced Tony winners Hinton Battle (Miss Saigon), Bebe Neuwirth (The Addams Family), Karen Olivo (West Side Story) and Lillias White (The Life) as well as Academy Award winner F. Murray Abraham and Brooks Ashmanskas (Promises, Promises), Ward Billeisen (Anything Goes), Colman Domingo (Scottsboro Boys), Mandy Gonzalez (Wicked) and Jason Tam (A Chorus Line).
These artists join the previously reported “American Idol” runner-up Clay Aiken (Spamalot) and Tony winners Alan Cumming (Cabaret and CBS’ “The Good Wife”) and Denis O’Hare (Take Me Out and HBO’s “True Blood”) as well as Tituss Burgess (The Little Mermaid), Len Cariou (Tony winner for Sweeney Todd), Robin De Jesus (La Cage aux Folles), Jose Llana (The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee), Debra Monk (Curtains), Bobby Steggert (Ragtime), Brian Charles Rooney (The Threepenny Opera) and Tony Yazbeck (Gypsy).
The creative team also includes lighting designer Paul Miller, costume designer Philip Heckman and musical supervisor Patrick Vaccariello.
In a previous statement Bartley said, "I am so proud to have created something that provides joy to so many here in New York and helps many, many more who benefit from the important work of these two extraordinary organizations, Broadway Cares and the LGBT Center. We are putting together an exciting line up of stars this year performing some of the most beloved songs of the Broadway stage."
BC/EFA’s Director of Communications and Development Danny Whitman added, “Broadway Backwards offers the gay and lesbian community and our friends and family a chance to see the best of Broadway, but in a whole new light – or shall we say, a whole new key. Hearing Betty Buckley sing, ‘Once you have found her, never let her go,’ from South Pacific’s ‘Some Enchanted Evening’ without a pronoun change was absolutely stunning and seemed to touch this audience deeply. Last year, Douglas Sills’ charmingly giddy ‘I Could Have Danced All Night’ from My Fair Lady stopped the show, as did Broadway hunk Nick Adams leading the famous Sweet Charity singing and dancing trio in ‘There’s Gotta Be Something Better Than This.’”
The fundraiser, according to press notes, is the "only annual Broadway event custom-made for the gay and lesbian community, their friends and family and will feature some of Broadway’s biggest names singing songs originally written for the opposite gender: women singing songs written for men and men singing songs written for women. By keeping all of the lyrics intact, including the original pronouns, each song takes on an entirely new dimension, sometimes with hysterical results and sometimes with immensely touching results."
Tickets are now available by visiting www.broadwaycares.org or by calling (212) 840-0770, ext. 268.
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