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Broadway Cares & TDF Videos | “We Will Be Back” – Broadway Shutdown Anniversary Event

Stage Directions • Theatre Buzz • March 17, 2021

The theater community reunited in Times Square exactly one year to the day since Broadway shutdown for We Will Be Back, a special live pop-up experience and commemoration of Broadway’s “lost year.” The socially distanced, COVID-mindful event aimed to provide a sense of hope as the industry and city move forward from the challenges brought on by the past year, by shining a spotlight on the arts workers who suffered during the theatre’s darkest hours as well as celebrating the sense of community and diversity within the arts environment that mirrors that of New York City itself. Here’s an overview video from Broadway Cares of We Will Be Back:

Broadway Cares proudly sponsored Friday’s socially distanced look forward and to again stand with the Broadway community, which has stood beside us for so long.

Broadway stars Chita Rivera, Matthew Broderick, André De Shields, Brian Stokes Mitchell, BD Wong, Joel Grey, Derrick Baskin, Nikki M. James, Kelvin Moon Loh, Joél Pérez, Peppermint, Lillias White, Tamara Tunie, Sierra Boggess, Sahr Ngaujah, Doug Wright, Jerry Mitchell, Robyn Hurder, Michael McElroy and the Broadway Inspirational Voices, and more were on hand for the event featuring song, dance, costumes, musicians and more in Times Square, the heart of New York City.

While the arts community has many months ahead before uniting in theatres once again, We Will Be Back provides the opportunity to safely and ceremoniously come together on Broadway, live and in-person, for this special one-time-only performance representing a myriad of arts and culture workers, unions, and individuals that comprise the Broadway community.

Here’s a longer version of We Will Be Back from TDF. Performances begin at 6:15​:

We Will Be Back included contributions from the variety of institutions and organizations that make Broadway what it is and are shaping the Broadway of tomorrow, including: Broadway Inspirational Voices, Musicians United for Social Equality (MUSE), Judi Wilfore (leading front of house, ushers, company managers and concessions efforts), Be An Arts Hero, Black Theatre United, The Costume Industry Coalition, Broadway For Racial Justice, The Dramatists Guild, Black Theatre Coalition, Local 802, The Casting Society of America, The New York Drama Critics Circle, Open Jar Studios, Stars in the House, Dominick Costa (Merchant’s Hospitality), and RRR Creative. Special thanks to Times Square champions, Senator Brad Hoylman, Erik Bottcher, District Leader Marisa Redanty, and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer.

This COVID-mindful gathering is sponsored by Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, NYCNext, and the Times Square Alliance, and is directed/produced by Holly-Anne Devlin/Kaleidoscope Entertainment, and Executive Produced by Blake Ross. Organizing artists include Michael McElroy, Tom Kitt, Seth Rudetsky, James Wesley, Brian Blythe, Carson Elrod, and Tara Rubin. Choreography is by Kellen Stancil with musical direction by Jacob Yates and Allen René Louis, sound design by Walter Trarbach, fashion direction by Sam Ratelle, and graphic design by Blake Manns.

We Will Be Back was supported by New Tradition Media, Clear Channel Outdoor, Our Man In Havana, and Treadwell Park. Masks are designed and donated by Christian Siriano and accessories are donated by H&M.

“Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS takes great pride today in standing with the Broadway community, which has stood beside us for so long,” says Executive Director Tom Viola. “These theater artists – all who work with such dedication onstage, backstage, and behind the scenes – are the first to respond with generosity, compassion, and action when crises hit others. We join everyone with a look to the future as we renew our longstanding commitment to do all that can be done to help ensure immediate, basic support for all those in the arts facing uncertainty in this unsettling pandemic and beyond.”

Speakers and talent in order of appearance:

Tom Harris, Acting President of the Times Square Alliance
Holly-Anne Devlin, Director and Producer at Kaleidoscope Entertainment
Brian Stokes Mitchell

“On Broadway” (Presented with support of author George Benson) is performed by Derrick Baskin, Charl Brown, Kelvin Moon Loh, and Joél Pérez and is arranged by Jacob Yates.

“Home” (From “The Wiz” Presented with support of Michale Smalls, son of author Charlie Smalls) is performed by Lilias White, Nikki M. James, Peppermint, and Solea Pfeiffer and arranged by Jacob Yates.

Matthew Broderick
Tom Viola
Tamara Tunie

“We Will Be Back” (Music, Lyrics and Musical Direction by Allen René Louis): Featuring Broadway Inspirational Voices: Danielle Chamgers, Casey Erin Clark, Allyson Kaye Daniel, Laura Dean, Angela DeCicco, Chris Dilley, Lucia Giannetta Angela Grovey, Kimberly JaJuan, Zonya Love, Jason McCollum, John Eric Parker, Kris Roberts, Desiree Rodgriguez, Ben Roseberry, Will Stone, Anne Fraser Thomas, Danielle K. Thomas, Virgina A Woodruff, and Christopher Zelno.

BD Wong
Nikkole Salter
Joel Grey
Chita Rivera
Andre De Shields

“Magic to Do” (Written by Stephen Schwartz and performed with his support) is arranged by Tom Kitt and performed by André De Shields, Brandon Nase, Heath Saunders, Kathryn Gallagher, Ryann Redmond, Charl Brown, Bre Jackosn, Michael Fatica, Anna Uzele, Olivia Vallli, Gerry McIntyre, Kris Coleman, Orville Mendoza, and featuring Jackie Cox, with supporting vocals by Broadway Inspirational Voices.

Dancers led by choreographer Kellen Stancil feature Julius Anthony Rubio, Keely Bierne, Karla Garcia, Tyler Eisenreich, Lloyd Boyd, Ryan Worsing, Rosie Fiedelman, Samantha Farrow, Michael Graceffa, and Whitney Cooper.

Featured musicians led by Jacob Yates include Aurelien Budyne and Justin Vance.  And background vocalists feature Cameron Hill, Mia Gerachis, Melissa Rose Hirsch, Shaunice Alexander and Kim Blank, Ben Toomer, Josh Tolle, John Batt, Anthony Murphy and Julian Decker.

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