THE SCREENING ROOM: Broadway Community, Including Laura Benanti, Harvey Fierstein, Michael Urie, Andrea McArdle, Jonathan Groff, Jeremy Jordan and More, Respond to Russia's Anti-LGBT Laws in Musical Sketch

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23 Jan 2014

Michael Urie, Victoria Clark, Harvey Fierstein, Laura Osnes, Andrew Rannells, Lilla Crawford, Joanna Gleason, Annaleigh Ashford, Danny Burstein, the puppets of Avenue Q and more, are among the artists who participate in the new video "Russian Broadway Shutdown."



Created by John Walton West (Newsical, The Last Smoker in America), who also directed a Broadway musical spoof of "Downton Abbey" at 54 Below last year, the video features music and lyrics by Jason Michael Snow (The Book of Mormon, South Pacific). Putin's soliloquy was composed by Anthony de Angelis.

Playbill.com spoke with West, who, along with his collaborators, spent last night making final edits to the piece.

"We knew that Broadway actors get asked to do a lot of these things, so we just tried to let them know as we reached out that it would be something fun that they don't get to necessary do," he told Playbill.com. "This cause was also particulary important, and everyone involved was excited to be part of it and to do what they could as performers to say and do something about it."

West said he was inspired to create the video after listening to Dan Savage's podcasts about Russia's intolerant laws against the LGBT community, as well as Harvey Fierstein's op-ed piece in the New York Times. "We wanted to let people know what was happening and what the law said. At the same time, we wanted to be sensitive to what the LGBT community is going through in Russia, but we wanted to satirize the absurdity of the country's anti-gay philosophy. Through comedy we are holding up a mirror to how ridiculous it is – most of all, that they would channel their intolerance and fear to say that these laws are for the sake of the children.

Here's how West's video unfolds:

As part of the country's homosexual propaganda law, Russia outlaws theatrical performances that contain gay references. The Russian Broadway Community responds the only way it knows how: with a show of their own, Love and Punishment.

Also featured are Jonathan Groff, Jeremy Jordan, Josh Bergasse, Michael Berresse, Laura Benanti, Sierra Boggess, Stephanie J. Block, Michael Cerveris, Mary Testa, Lena Hall, John Bolton, Christine Pedi, Leslie Kritzer, Santino Fontana, Andrea McArdle, Jeff McCarthy, Eric Anderson, Jim Caruso, Casey Nicholaw, Stephen Schwartz, Harriet Harris, Edward Hibbert, Ann Harada, Cady Huffman, Stephanie Umoh, Roger Rees, Nick Wyman, Robyn Goodman, Andrew Lippa, David Cromer, Harvey Fierstein, Chris March, William Ivey Long, Christina Bianco, Jackie Hoffman, Jay Binder, Jeff Bowen and more.

Check it out below: