“From Broadway With Love: A Benefit Concert for Orlando” brought together some of Broadway’s biggest stars on July 25, 2016 to support the LGBTQ community in Orlando. The benefit concert, which sold out within two hours of tickets going on sale, took place at Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.
The star-studded line-up included a host of Tony Award winners: Chita Rivera, Norbert Leo Butz (see my interview with Norbert in May), Kelli O’Hara, Jessie Mueller, Brian Stokes Mitchell, and Lillias White, along numerous other stars, including Darren Criss of “Glee,” Carmen Cusack, Andrea McArdle, Liz Callaway, Josh Henry, Keala Settle, Anika Larsen, Justin Sargent, Carrie Manolakos, Lilla Crawford, Wilson Cruz, Priscilla Lopez, Seth Rudetsky, and Christine Pedi. The Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra accompanied the performers.
The 2-1/2-hour concert included performances of “Sugar Daddy” from “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” performed by Darren Criss; “Sun Is Gonna Shine” from Broadway’s “Bright Star” performed by Carmen Cusack; Carole King’s “Beautiful,” performed by Jessie Mueller; “The Wizard and I” from “Wicked” performed by Carrie Manolokas; “The Impossible Dream” from “Man of La Mancha” performed by Brian Stokes Mitchell, “All That Jazz” from “Chicago” performed by Chita Rivera, “Don’t Rain On My Parade” from “Funny Girl” performed by Lillias White; “Slide Some Oil to Me” from “The Wiz” performed by Joshua Henry; and “They Don’t Let You in the Opera If You’re a Country Star” performed by Kelli O’Hara, just to name a few. The entire company united onstage for the final number, singing “What the World Needs Now is Love.”
Local performers included the Orlando Gay Chorus, singing “What a Wonderful World,” and dance troupe VarieTease, sharing a routine to Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue.”
In addition to the concert, more than 50 online auction pieces, including sitting on-stage during Darren Criss’ number, available to benefit the evening’s charitable partners.
“From Broadway With Love: A Benefit Concert For Orlando” was created by Seth Rudetsky, Kenny Howard, and James Wesley; directed by Kenny Howard; written by Michael Wanzie with musical direction by Michael J. Moritz, Jr.