Executive-produced by Stephen Schwartz (Wicked, Godspell, Pippin) and Bruce Cohen ("American Beauty," "Milk," "Silver Linings Playbook," I Am Harvey Milk), the 8 PM concert promised to be "entertaining and inspiring, weaving together stories and performances by activists and artists from around the world."
Emmy Award winner Jane Lynch ("Glee," Annie) was the evening's host.
In addition to 16-time Grammy Award winner Sting and two-time Tony winner Patti LuPone, the event promised performances by Kinky Boots Tony winner Billy Porter, Hedwig Tony winner Lena Hall, country music star Chely Wright, Olympic Gold Medalist Greg Louganis, Bollywood star Celina Jaitly along with the cast and creators of the new musical Witness Uganda, including Matt Gould and Griffin Matthews.
Tony Award nominee Stephanie J. Block offered a special performance with the cast of Wicked. Also set to perform were the Broadway cast of Once and the cast of the upcoming Andrew Lippa oratorio I Am Harvey Milk. Joining them were Kathy Najimy ("Sister Act"), MSNBC and NBC News anchor Thomas Roberts, executive director of the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice J. Bob Alotta, Ugandan LGBTI activist Long Jones, and Kenyan LGBTI activist and co-founder of the The National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission Njeri Gateru.
The concert coincided with the United Nations General Assembly and the Clinton Global Initiative in New York City.
Academy Award winner Dustin Lance Black ("Milk") penned the script for Uprising of Love: A Benefit Concert for Global Equality that is directed by Schele Williams and produced by Jayson Raitt. Alex Lacamoire (In the Heights) serves as musical director.
Presented in a partnership with the United Nations Foundation, the event "strives to support the efforts of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the UN's Free & Equal campaign in calling for equal rights globally for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals, and to raise significant funding for grassroots organizations and activists working toward that goal around the world."
Net proceeds from the event will go directly to Fueling the Frontlines, a three-year campaign for global LGBTI rights led by the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice. Astraea is the only philanthropic organization in the United States solely dedicated to advancing LGBTI rights globally.
Uprising of Love is a global movement to support the safety and dignity of LGBTI people around the world. Co-founded by Melissa Etheridge, Dustin Lance Black, Bruce Cohen, and dozens of prominent individuals in entertainment, sports, business, and politics, the campaign was initially launched leading up to the Sochi Winter Olympics to shine a light on Russia’s anti-gay laws. Uprising of Love is now focused on raising awareness and funds for activists making a difference on the ground in every part of the globe where LGBTI safety and dignity is compromised.