Best of Broadway

The 24th season of Broadway Bares kicked off with Winter Burlesque, raising big bucks for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

January 28 2014 2:54 PM

Burned out on waiting for SCOTUS alerts? Boy, so are we. This video and photos from the Broadway Bares folks will help.

June 25 2013 6:30 PM

Broadway Backwards, an annual benefit performance, features some of Broadway's biggest names singing songs originally written for the opposite gender: women singing songs written for men and men singing songs written for women. But, more importantly, at Broadway Backwards women sing about other women and men sing about other men.

Broadway Backwards gives its audience a chance to experience some of the most treasured songs of the Great White Way in a new context. The event is produced by Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and will benefit that organization and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center of New York City. Last year's show raised a record-breaking $281,243 for the groups.

The star-studded line-up for this year's event, Broadway Backwards 7, will include Tony Award nominees Adam Pascal and Andrew Rannells, and two-time Emmy Award–winning comedian Bruce Vilanch.

Broadway Backwards 7 is not just another night on Broadway. It's the only Broadway event custom-made for gays and lesbians, their friends, and their families. Creator Robert Bartley will again direct and choreograph this special evening with musical direction by Mary-Mitchell Campbell.

This year's edition also will include performances by Bryan Batt, Sierra Boggess, Mario Cantone, Robin De Jesús, Shawna Hamic, and Telly Leung. Additional performers will be announced in the coming weeks. This year's event is tonight at 8 p.m. at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre, 302 W. 45th St., New York.

We hope you enjoy this gallery of images from some of the great performances over the years. For more information and for tickets: 

March 05 2012 1:35 AM

Kristin Chenoweth is not afraid of contradictions. The Tony and Emmy award-winning star of stage and screen, who is probably best known to gay audiences for originating the role of Glinda in Wicked and playing alcoholic high school dropout April Rhodes on Glee, is just as comfortable talking about her Christian faith as she is speaking out for gay rights.

Last year when a Newsweek writer questioned whether openly gay actors like Chenoweth’s Promises, Promises costar Sean Hayes could convincingly play straight, the actress fired off a burning missive that labeled the piece “horrendously homophobic” and likened the writer’s comments to bullying. And in 2005 after being named singing spokeswoman for a Women of Faith concert in Oklahoma City, promoters demanded her resignation after learning of her pro-gay stance — which ironically came out during an appearance on The 700 Club that upset many of her gay fans. Chenoweth refused to step down, saying if Women of Faith had a problem with her beliefs they could fire her. They did, which she referred to as the saddest moment in her professional life.

Her fourth studio album, Some Lessons Learned, available September 13, is an exploration of the Oklahoma native’s Southern roots, a journey that will continue with her role as Carlene Cockburn in Steel Magnolia writer Robert Harling’s upcoming ABC drama Good Christian Belles.

The Advocate: Many of the songs on your new album are about yearning for someone or something. Were you nervous about putting out something so personal?
Kristin Chenoweth: Yes and no. Every album I’ve done felt personal to me at the time, and obviously this one is about some lessons I’ve learned — both good and frustrating, and hard and wonderful. Mostly I wanted it to be full of hope and inspiration for women like me: women that have had love but maybe haven’t found that right one yet.

Did you learn any specific lessons while you were making the record?

Yeah, I always learn. I feel so lucky because every time I put out an album I learn so much. I think the lesson for me on this one was just to let it go. These guys [I worked with] were like, “Let’s throw it all away, and let’s just sing.” There’s a freeing element that happens when you do that. And I loved it. I loved living in Nashville; I loved getting together with those musicians and songwriters.

What was it like working with the legendary Jordanaires, who sang backup for Elvis Presley and some of country music’s greatest artists?
Oh, my gosh, you’re the first person to ask me that! I think it was one of the coolest moments because two of the original members of the Jordanaires were in the recording studio with me. And they were so sweet. One of them said, “I do believe this song’s a hit!” They have game. They’re team players, and I got why Elvis loved them. I was very honored to get to work with them. That was Bob Ezrin, my producer’s, idea. I was like, “We’ll never get them!” And they said yes. I couldn’t believe it.

March 03 2012 8:40 PM

Performer (and Advocate contributor) John Carroll discusses being bullied as a teenager for being considered effeminate and being a member of one of the first gay couples to marry in New York, during an interview after being named Broadway Hero of the Month by website

February 06 2012 3:46 PM

 NBC's musical drama Smash, about the behind-the scenes efforts to stage a lavish Broadway musical about Marilyn Monroe, achieves a small miracle. It's that rare series with actually lives up to the accompanying fanfare and hype. Part of the reason is surely the prestigious cast (Anjelica Huston, Debra Messing, Broadway star Christian Borle, Wicked's Megan Hilty, and American Idol's Katharine McPhee) and its pedigreed production team (among them are producer Steven Spielberg, Hairspray songwriters Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, renowned writer-producer Theresa Rebeck, and Tony Award-winning director Michael Mayer). Also instrumental to the authenticity of Smash is the multi award-winning team of Neil Meron and Craig Zadan, who've produced the Oscar-winning Chicago, Hairspray, and the current hit Broadway revival of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. Meron and Zadan tell The Advocate why the backstage drama of creating a
musical about Monroe has mass appeal and why big stars like
Anjelica Huston, Uma Thurman, Bernadette Peters, and Nick Jonas were eager to appear in it.

The Advocate: Smash is certain to be a big hit with people who love musical theater, but how do you anticipate it will play to people outside of urban areas?
Neil Meron: Our point of view is that we do think in all the areas outside of New York there’s experience in musical theater because of the tours of Cats, Les Miz, and Phantom during the past 10-15 years. Theater has really infiltrated America like never before, so we consider theater popular and right up there with going to the movies and watching television as far as being accessible. We believe that audiences are ready for a show about theater because they’ve been nurtured by all the tours in their hometowns.

That makes sense. Did you take any steps to make the show accessible to as broad an audience as possible?

Craig Zadan: We were very cautious to make sure each script has universal characters so it’s not a show for a niche audience like Entourage. For instance, in the pilot you have Anjelica Huston’s character going through a divorce, Debra Messing and her husband are adopting a child, Katharine McPhee’s family is visiting from the Midwest and expressing their fear about what she’s going to do and how the likelihood of her success is minimal. We think the show is actually universal. If you look at the show like A Chorus Line — it’s about a bunch of dancers but it played all over the world and was an international hit because everyone related to the characters.

Although they're very different, I imagine the success of Glee made it easier to get Smash on the air.
Meron: One hundred percent. I think Glee opened the door for us to come in and be our own show and exist in the same universe as Glee but be different.

February 04 2012 11:21 AM

"My parents usually bought most Broadway cast albums of the bigger shows as soon as they came out. When the cast album of My Fair Lady with Rex Harrison and Julie Andrews came, I was a star-struck 4-year-old. I was not allowed to touch the record player at that age, so I had to ask my mother to play it for me. Over and over and over again. I became obsessed with both the music and with Julie Andrews. I would dance around the living room for hours on end to all the songs, making up my own interpretations of what they were about, as George Bernard Shaw was a little out of  my reach at that point." —Christopher Harrity, Manager Online Production 

February 03 2012 4:00 AM

February 03 2012 4:00 AM

When I was in the fifth grade, my teacher would mark the end of every test by bellowing out, “Time waits for no one and neither does Mrs. Daruba!” Well, Mrs. Daruba was right again. As much as I would have loved to dress in the equivalent of a black leather slingshot and dance around on a boat overflowing with horny sailors, neither Cher nor I could turn back time. January 22, the closing date of Follies, had finally arrived.

I woke up that morning thinking things would feel different. It was going to be the last day we did this production, with this cast, in this Broadway theater. It was the end of a whirlwind, magical era.

When I walked through the stage door for the last time I thought, Take it all in. Every second. I was trying to force myself to feel something. To feel nostalgic, to feel sad or emotional. Yet that morning, I felt like Diana Morales in A Chorus Line. I felt nothing. (That’s not entirely true. I did feel a little gassy.)

At the top of the show, when I was waiting in line with the other cast members for my entrance, I looked around to get a sense of things. Sure, some people were sad and even a little emotional but, for a lot of us, it seemed like a normal Sunday. Elaine Paige said she was fine. Jan Maxwell was behind me wishing everyone a good show and being her usual witty self. I figured, maybe you get to a certain point where it is just another closing of another show. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary. Business as usual. That is, until we heard the audience.

It was like a rock concert. Every time someone walked through the door and onto the stage, the audience went crazy. When it came time for Elaine and me to enter, I grabbed her hand and off we went. The crowd went wild. Normally, as we walk downstage toward the audience, I talk to her and keep my focus on her. But for some reason I looked out over the crowd and took it all in. Actually, I know very well what the reason was ... for the audience to see me!

It was unbelievable. To hear that kind of response and feel that kind of energy is literally breathtaking. However, it wasn’t until Elaine turned to look at me and I saw those huge tears in her eyes that it hit me like a ton of bricks. Finally, I felt something!

I looked around and noticed the majority of people on stage were teary-eyed, myself included. I started thinking of all the things I was going to miss. I’ll miss Elaine telling a joke every night onstage to get everyone in a good mood. I’ll miss Elaine’s character Carlotta introducing me to the other party guests and my saying, “My name is Peter. Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater,” while gesturing toward Elaine and saying, “Have you met my date ‘Pumpkin’?”

February 02 2012 11:43 AM

February 02 2012 4:00 AM