It’s Broadway Backwards March 30: Streaming Benefit Features Lea Salonga, Deborah Cox, Stephanie J. Block, More

The annual Broadway Backwards concert, featuring gender-reversed and star-studded twists on classic and modern favorites, takes place March 30 virtually due to the ongoing coronavirus concerns.

The 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, looks toward life post-pandemic and is streamed for free at 8 PM ET at BroadwayCares.org/Backwards2021. It will be available on demand through April 3.

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Jay Armstrong Johnson – The Phantom of the Opera Roberto Araujo

Exploring how the isolation of the pandemic has affected the LGBTQIA+ community, the benefit features 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.

Additionally, the stream includes new appearances by Amy Adams, Debbie Allen, Matt Bomer, Brenda Braxton, Len Cariou, Glenn Close, Loretta Devine, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, James Monroe Iglehart, Cheyenne Jackson, Cherry Jones, L Morgan Lee, Raymond J. Lee, Aasif Mandvi, Eric McCormack, Michael McElroy, Debra Messing, Ruthie Ann Miles, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Jessie Mueller, Javier Muñoz, Kelli O’Hara, Karen Olivo, Jim Parsons, Bernadette Peters, Eve Plumb, Roslyn Ruff, Sis, Elizabeth Stanley, and Tony Yazbeck as well as journalists Anderson Cooper, Don Lemon, and Robin Roberts.

The show also includes performances from previous editions of Broadway Backwards by Ward Billeisen, Charl Brown, Tituss Burgess, Joshua Buscher-West, Len Cariou, Carolee Carmello, Jamie Cepero, Bryan Terrell Clark, Darren Criss, Steven Cutts, Ariana DeBose, Cynthia Erivo, Garlen Gilliland, Andrew Keenan-Bolger, Andy Kelso, Eddie Korbich, Marty Lawson, Michael McElroy, Bonnie Milligan, Debra Monk, Alfie Parker Jr., Brandon Pearson, Eric Petersen, Waldemar Quinones-Villanueva, Andrew Rannells, Alex Ringler, Chita Rivera, Michael James Scott, Ryan Steele, Dennis Stowe, Lillias White, Curtis Wiley, and Tony Yazbeck.

Bernadette Peters, Brian Stokes Mitchell, and Ruthie Ann Miles
Bernadette Peters, Brian Stokes Mitchell, and Ruthie Ann Miles

The evening also includes special appeals from Chasten Buttigieg, Ariana DeBose, Debra Messing, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Tony Shalhoub, and Ben Vereen as well as performances by Robert Creighton, Danyel Fulton, Eileen Galindo, Sam Gravitte, Sheldon Henry, Diana Huey, Aaron Libby, Nathan Lucrezio, Melinda Porto, Shelby Ringdahl, Vishal Vaidya, and Blake Zolfo.

Creator Robert Bartley returns as writer and director with Mary-Mitchell Campbell as music supervisor, Ted Arthur as music director, Eamon Foley as director of photography and video editor, and Tyler Milliron as VFX designer. Joshua Buscher-West is the 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.

For sponsorship opportunities visit BroadwayCares.org/Backwards2021.