In the News: Alex Newell, Leslie Odom Jr., Mj Rodriguez Set for Divas Simply Singing! Benefit, Drama League Announces Members of Directors Council | Playbill

Industry News In the News: Alex Newell, Leslie Odom Jr., Mj Rodriguez Set for Divas Simply Singing! Benefit, Drama League Announces Members of Directors Council Plus, Larry Owens, Adam Hyndman, Wayne Brady, and more will star in a Roger Q. Mason spotlight.
Alex Newell Harrison James O'Brien

Read on for some recent theatre headlines you may have missed in today's news.

Alex Newell, Leslie Odom Jr., Mj Rodriguez, More Set for Divas Simply Singing! Benefit
DIVAS Simply Singing!, the long-running musical AIDS benefit, will be streamed December 5 at 10 PM ET and will also be broadcast on KTLA Los Angeles. Produced and hosted by Tony nominee Sheryl Lee Ralph, the event is the culmination of DIVAS Health Awareness Week, a slate of programming that kicks off with a World AIDS Day Town Hall December 1. Funds raised through DIVAS Health Awareness Week benefit Project Angel Food and Better Brothers Los Angeles. Currently set to be part of the December 5 concert are Tony winner Leslie Odom, Jr., Grammy winner Lalah Hathaway, Jenifer Lewis, Stephanie Mills, Kenny Lattimore, Grammy winner Anthony Hamilton, Mj Rodriguez, Kalen Allen, The Clark Sisters, Oleta Adams, Thelma Houston, Jody Whatley, Alex Newell, Gloria Gaynor, J'Nai Bridges, Emmy winner Loretta Devine, the cast of Mighty Real, and more.

“The impact that this pandemic has had on so many lives globally has been vast, and our new normal is now before us,” Ralph said in a statement. “After much deliberation, we decided to take our World AIDS Day commemoration virtual and expand our programming. We will continue to fight stigma, raise HIV/AIDS awareness and other critical health issues, every dollar raised through our efforts has gone to help men, women, and children fighting HIV/AIDS and other life-threatening diseases. The lights, the mic, and the DIVAS Simply Singing! is a show like no other.” All events will be streamed at

The Drama League Announces Members of First Directors Council
The Drama League has announced the formation of a Directors Council to further embed artists in the decision-making process of The Drama League, establish peer-to-peer mentorship for Fellowship recipients, and to have leading directors guide the League’s programming initiatives as the organization expands its mission to support directors and lead in the re-emergence strategies of Broadway and the theatre industry. The Council features directors from around the country, including Daniel Banks, Melia Bensussen, Christopher Burris, Jillian Carucci, Jennifer Chang, Desdemona Chiang, R.J. Cutler, Estefanía Fadul, Raz Golden, Brian Eugenio Herrera, Adam Immerwahr, Gwynn MacDonald, Tony Phelan, Lisa Portes, Lisa Rothe, Gabriel Stelian-Shanks, Rob Urbinati, Nicole A. Watson, Sharifa Yasmin, and Pirronne Yousefzadeh.

“As the American theatre emerges in 2021 from the COVID-19 pandemic, the incredible artists of the Directors Council will inform and partner in our efforts to create a revivified field and a better institution—one that further embraces anti-racist practices, equitably supports BIPOC artists, improves the lives of its communities, and leads the world in healthy practices,” said Artistic Director Gabriel Stelian-Shanks. The council gathered November 6 on Zoom and plans to meet on an ongoing basis in the coming months.

Larry Owens Gerda Mostonaite

Larry Owens, Adam Hyndman, Wayne Brady More Will Star in Roger Q. Mason Spotlight
A virtual showcase of four works by Roger Q. Mason, written during Mason's time as a resident of The Fire This Time Festival (TFTT) or shortly after, will launch the group’s Alumni Spotlight November 24 at 8 PM ET on Facebook and TFTT’s website. The initiative amplifies the work of talented African-American TFTT playwrights who have yet to receive a major Off-Broadway debut. Slated to perform are Larry Owens, Adam Hyndman, Wayne Brady, Pierre Jean Gonzalez, Ianne Fields Stewart, and Gillian Williams. The evening is directed by Taibi Magar, June Carryl, Larry Powell, and Zhailon Levingston. In addition to performances of Mason’s work, the spotlight will feature appearances by Pulitzer-winning playwright Lynn Nottage, Kevin Free, and L Morgan Lee. Click here for more information.

Chicago's Lookingglass Will Stream Mary Zimmerman's The Steadfast Tin Soldier
Chicago's Lookingglass Theatre Company will stream ensemble member Mary Zimmerman's The Steadfast Tin Soldier December 1–27. Based on Hans Christian Anderson's story about a little tin soldier who never gives up, the production features ensemble members Kasey Foster as the Ballerina, Anthony Irons as the Goblin, Joe Dempsey as the Nursemaid, John Gregorio as Rat, and Alex Stein as the Steadfast Tin Soldier. Original music for the piece, which was filmed in 2019, was composed by Andre Pluess and Amanda Dehnert. Tickets are on sale by clicking here.

Misty Copeland for Bloomingdale's Virtual Holiday Benefit

Misty Copeland Will Be Part of Bloomingdale's Virtual Holiday Benefit
Bloomingdale’s will offer a Virtual Holiday Benefit November 23 at 7 PM ET. Co-hosted by Ali Wentworth and Bloomingdale’s CEO Tony Spring from its 59th Street flagship store in New York City, the benefit will include performances from singer and songwriter Andra Day and American Ballet Theatre dancers Misty Copeland, Skylar Brandt, and Gabe Stone Shayer, utilizing immersive technology and animation effects. The upcoming event supports the Child Mind Institute’s mission to transform the lives of children and families struggling with mental health and learning disorders. Guests can register at and make a donation in the amount of their choice to receive access, with all proceeds benefiting the Child Mind Institute.

Beth Leavel, Christian Borle, More Set for New Q&A Series
Tony winners Christian Borle and Beth Leavel, Tony nominee Alex Brightman, Vasthy Mompoint, and Ciara Renée will take part in a new Q&A series this fall, presented in partnership by Broadway on Demand and Audience Rewards. The participating artists—each featured as part of the new master class subscription service Broadway Access Pro—will take part in a 60-minute conversation followed by a 30-minute audience Q&A. The sessions, running between November 19 and December 14, will be open to 25 Audience Rewards members; click here for more information.

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