The annual Broadway Backwards concert, featuring gender-reversed and star-studded twists on classic and modern favorites, will be held virtually due to the ongoing coronavirus concerns.
The upcoming evening, produced by Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS to benefit both Broadway Cares and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center in New York City, will look toward life post-pandemic and will be streamed for free March 30 at 8 PM ET at BroadwayCares.org/Backwards2021. It will be available on demand through April 3.
Exploring how the isolation of the pandemic has affected the LGBTQIA+ community, the benefit will feature Jay Armstrong Johnson as an isolated New Yorker who dreams a fantastical journey guided by a late-night television host, portrayed by Jenn Colella. Viewers can also expect an opening number with Stephanie J. Block, Deborah Cox, and Lea Salonga, plus performances and appearances by Matt Bomer, Darren Criss, Ariana DeBose, Robin De Jesús, Cynthia Erivo, Joshua Henry, Cherry Jones, Kelli O’Hara, and Jim Parsons, with more guests to be announced. (New performances will be mixed in with full numbers from previous editions of Broadway Backwards.)
Creator Robert Bartley returns as writer and director with Mary-Mitchell Campbell as music supervisor, Ted Arthur as music director, and Eamon Foley as director of photography and video editor. Joshua Buscher-West joins as associate director, along with Nick Connors as orchestrator, Benedict Braxton-Smith as music producer and audio engineer, Matt Kraus as sound designer, and Samantha Rodriguez as costume designer.
The 2020 edition of Broadway Backwards was scheduled for March 16 and was canceled just days before the show because of the pandemic. Since its launch in 2006, Broadway Backwards has raised more than $5.3 million for Broadway Cares and The Center.
While the stream is free, donations will be accepted for Broadway Cares and The Center. Every dollar donated will help those affected by HIV/AIDS, COVID-19, and other critical illnesses receive meals, lifesaving medication, mental health support, and other health and wellness services.