The Broadway community is one synonymous with generosity. For decades, the industry has taken care of its own and the world through organizations like Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, The Actors Fund, and more. Individual shows participate year-round in events for these organizations, like BC/EFA’s Red Bucket Follies or The Fund’s special benefit performances. But the giving doesn’t stop there. A number of Broadway shows have taken on their own individual initiatives, fundraising efforts, and events to raise awareness and money to make the world a better place.
Here are 11 Broadway shows leading by example:
Members of the cast of Aladdin participate in the annual Broadway Bee, an adult spelling bee between the Broadway shows. The more funds each team raises, the more lifelines they get to stay in the Bee. Proceeds benefit arts education charity Broadway Bound Kids.
Come From Away
The production about the passengers of 37 planes re-routed to Gander Newfoundland after the 9/11 terrorist attacks has been yoked to the national day of mourning since its inception. Every year, on September 11, the cast gathers to pack lunches for needy communities as part of the 9/11 Day of Service. The company also participates in the “pay it forward” initiative. On September 11, every company member receives $100 to give out and help in random acts of kindness, paying for someone’s coffee, subway fare, or anything that will help or put a smile on someone’s face. Afterward, the company participates in talkbacks with the audience to share what they did with the money that year. This is something the real life Kevin started after he spent the week in Gander. He gave $100 to each of his employees to do good in the community.
Dear Evan Hansen
The 2017 Tony-winning Best Musical has used its global platform to support a number of organizations and eradicate the stigma around mental health issues. A portion of sales from the official show merchandise benefits The JED Foundation, The Trevor Project, Child Mind Institute, Crisis Text Line, and Born This Way. Twice a year, Dear Evan Hansen works with Arts Connection for workshops that bring arts to adolescents. The next workshop is set for November 12, where two cast members attend; the students will attend a performance and talkback November 19, and then artwork inspired by their experience will be on display at Sardi’s, where a reception will take place in January 2020.
Among its contributions is EduHam, the program that brings students to see the Broadway production of the musical and participate in learning history through the arts. The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History’s program engages students in creating original works — such as poems, raps and songs — related to Alexander Hamilton and the country's founding. And now, students in grades 6-12 can participate in the Hamilton Education Program Online. They will join high school students in engaging in a custom-designed, teacher-led integrated curriculum and will have access to the wealth of materials on the #EduHamOnline website, including information about more than 45 Founding Era individuals and 14 key events, as well as 180 supporting documents, video clips from Hamilton and more. The original education program, #EduHam launched in the spring of 2016 with a goal of serving 250,000 students and teachers in Title-1 eligible high schools in select cities throughout the country by the end of 2020.
At the heart of Tina Fey’s satire has always been a mission to improve the self-esteem of and camaraderie amongst young women. As part of an ongoing partnership with the Young Women’s Leadership Network, Mean Girls invited high school students from all five of their NYC branches to see the show and conducted workshops with cast members to discuss themes from the show and create an open dialogue about the effects of bullying in schools. Additionally, Mean Girls is a partner of the Kind Campaign, creating online social content to highlight the negative effects of girl-on-girl bullying. Proceeds from the official “You Can Sit With Us!” T-shirt benefits the Campaign.
Back in June, cast members of the newest Broadway musical Moulin Rouge! Benjamin Rivera, Morgan Marcell, and Jacqueline B. Arnold combined forces to design Moulin Rouge! Pride shirts “because we believe our show celebrates love, acceptance, and pride,” says Rivera. Though originally intended as a display of solidarity for the entire cast and crew of the show, when Rivera took over the official Instagram account for the smash hit, fans went berserk and wanted to know where they could buy them. Well now, they can. Online sales for the T-shirts are now open through August 31 and all proceeds from the unofficial show merch benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, The Trevor Project, and Human Rights Campaign Greater New York. Visit MoulinRougePride.com.
The Tony Award–winning revival of the Rodgers & Hammerstein classic is the first Broadway show in history to join Gun Neutral, a non-partisan initiative working to eradicate gun violence. For every visible gun in Oklahoma!, the production has made a minimum donation of $100 to Gun Neutral. These funds are dispersed to reduce the number of illegal guns in circulation, provide funding to support arts and STEM education in underserved communities and areas affected by gun violence, and invest money in research regarding portrayal of gun violence in entertainment.
The Cher Show
Cast members Stephanie J. Block, Teal Wicks, Dee Roscioli, Aléna Watters, Tiana Okoye, and Blaine Krauss will represent the bio-musical at the 2019 Covenant House Stage & Screen Sleep Out. Covenant House International is an organization that offers housing and support services to homeless youth. Serving 800,000 youngsters each year, Covenant House conducts Sleep Outs to raise awareness and funds for their locations and programming by sleeping on the street for a single night in solidarity with these kids. The Broadway community began sleeping out five years ago, and in 2018 the summer event expanded to include all members of the entertainment community as the Stage & Screen Sleep Out. Participating as a team, The Cher Show has already raised over $20,000 ahead of the August 19 event.
To Kill A Mockingbird
Since the show opened in December 2018, all proceeds from official merchandise sold at the Shubert Theatre benefit the Monroe County Public Library, where To Kill a Mockingbird author Harper Lee grew up, and the Trayvon Martin Foundation.
What the Constitution Means to Me
The production is also behind one of the teams at the Covenant House Stage & Screen Sleep Out on August 19 to benefit homeless youth.
Over its 15-year Broadway run, Wicked has dedicated support for numerous organizations, including BC/EFA and the Broadway Green Alliance. Wicked is also a partner of BullyBust.org, a campaign led by the National School Climate Center to prevent bullying in schools.