Chita Rivera and Richard Ridge photographed by Stephen Mosher
BroadwayWorld Announces Lineup of Emmy-, Grammy- and Tony-Award Winning Artists for 20th Anniversary Celebration Concert Benefiting Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS
Tickets are now on sale for the May 21st concert at New York City’s Sony Hall.
BroadwayWorld, the #1 online destination for Broadway, theatre and live entertainment news across the globe, will celebrate its 20th anniversary with an exciting lineup of award-winning legends and rising stars at its 20th Anniversary Concert. The evening will feature performances and appearances from Michael Arden, Shoshana Bean, Laura Benanti, Liz Callaway, Jenn Colella, Deborah Cox, Debbie Gibson, Olivia Elease Hardy, Brittney Johnson, Howard McGillin, Donna McKechnie, Orfeh, Christopher Sieber, Blair St. Clair, Paulo Szot, Elizabeth Teeter, Natalie Toro, Michael Urie and Jessica Vosk, as well as others who have streamed across the website during its 20 years of unparalleled growth.
“In 1997, from my college dorm room at Syracuse University, I created a website as an ode to The Phantom of the Opera’s Michael Crawford as a way for his fans to come together,” said BroadwayWorld Founder Robert Diamond. “Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that it would evolve into an online community for theater lovers and professionals from all around the world, or that twenty years later, we would be celebrating this milestone with so many talented artists. I love the theatre, I love this community and we ALL love Broadway Cares.”
As previously announced, BroadwayWorld’s 20th Anniversary Celebration Concert will be hosted by Tony Award-Winning Broadway legend Chita Rivera, along with her longtime friend, BroadwayWorld’s own Richard Ridge. The festivities will take place on Sunday, May 21, 2023 at the iconic Sony Hall (235 W 46th St., NY, NY), in the heart of Broadway’s theatre district. Tickets for the event are now on sale at bww20.broadwayworld.com.
BroadwayWorld’s 20th Anniversary Celebration Concert creative team includes direction by Broadway veteran, longtime friend and occasional BroadwayWorld contributor Richard Jay-Alexander, choreographers Baayork Lee and Kyle Garvin, and Richard’s frequent collaborator, musical director Kevin Stites.
The space opened in 1938 as the Diamond Horseshoe and quickly became one of the most iconic venues of the vaudeville era, eventually becoming the home for the Avant garde off-broadway hit Queen of the Night. In March 2018, Sony Hall officially opened its doors with much of its original history and dynamic design and décor elements still kept in-tact. The decision to leave the venue as is was one which Sony Group Corporation made without hesitation after first stepping into the space. From the moment you enter, the room’s rich heritage can be felt throughout every corner. By retaining its original design and incorporating the latest Sony technology, Sony Hall respects the venue’s history and legacy while making it a truly special place where both creativity and technology seamlessly come to life.
Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS is the single largest financial supporter of the essential social service programs at the Entertainment Community Fund (formerly The Actors Fund), including the HIV/AIDS Initiative, the Phyllis Newman Women’s Health Initiative and The Friedman Health Center for the Performing Arts. We also award annual grants to more than 450 AIDS and family service organizations nationwide.
Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS is one of the nation’s leading industry-based, nonprofit AIDS fundraising and grant-making organizations. By drawing upon the talents, resources and generosity of the American theater community, since 1988 Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS has raised more than $300 million for essential services for people living with HIV/AIDS, struggling with COVID-19 and facing other critical illnesses in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C.
Sponsorship opportunities are now available. Fill out the form below for more information.
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Cast & Creative
CHITA RIVERA (Host) | A theatrical icon and one of Broadway’s greatest triple-threat talents, Chita Rivera is one of the most nominated performers in Tony Award history having earned 10 nominations, won twice and received the 2018 Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre. A versatile actress/singer/dancer, her most recent starring roles include The Visit, the final John Kander/Fred Ebb/Terrence McNally musical directed by John Doyle and choreographed by Graciela Daniele on Broadway; the Broadway revival of The Mystery of Edwin Drood; the Broadway and touring productions of The Dancer’s Life, a dazzling musical celebrating her spectacular career, written by Terrence McNally and directed by Graciela Daniele and the revival of the Broadway musical Nine with Antonio Banderas. She trained as a ballerina (from age nine) before receiving a scholarship to the School of American Ballet from the legendary choreographer George Balanchine.
Chita’s first appearance (age 17) was as a principal dancer in Call Me Madam. Her electric performance as Anita in the original Broadway premiere of West Side Story brought her stardom, which she repeated in London. Her career is highlighted by starring roles in Bye Bye Birdie, The Rink (Tony Award), Chicago, Jerry’s Girls, Kiss of the Spider Woman (Tony Award), and the original Broadway casts of Guys and Dolls, Can-Can, Seventh Heaven and Mr. Wonderful. On tour: Born Yesterday, The Rose Tattoo, Call Me Madam, Threepenny Opera, Sweet Charity, Kiss Me Kate, Zorba, Can-Can with The Rockettes. Chita was awarded The Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama in 2009 and received the coveted Kennedy Center Honor in 2002.
In 2019, Chita performed her solo concert at London’s Cadogan Hall; in 2018 she was honored as a Living Landmark by the New York Landmarks Conservancy; in 2016 she headlined at Carnegie Hall and in 2015, Great Performances aired their special Chita Rivera: A Lot of Livin’ To Do, a retrospective of her extraordinary life and career nationally on PBS. Her current solo CD is entitled And Now I Swing. Her most treasured production is her daughter, singer/dancer/choreographer Lisa Mordente.
RICHARD RIDGE (Host) | is the lead correspondent for Broadway World, one of the most popular theatre websites receiving over 8 million visitors every month. For BroadwayWorld, he is the host of “Backstage with Richard Ridge” which has long been the most popular outlet for Broadway stars and legends to talk about their careers. His guests have included Chita Rivera, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Josh Groban, Cherry Jones, Julie Taymor, Laura Benanti, Brian Cox, Zachary Quinto, Judith Light, Joan Rivers, Elaine Paige, Kristin Chenoweth, Nick Jonas, Jessie Mueller and Hugh Dancy. Prior to that, he was the host of the groundbreaking “Broadway Beat” for 20 years. His latest venture is the filmed SAG-AFTRA Foundation and BroadwayWorld’s “Conversations on Broadway”, which recognizes and celebrates the vibrant theatre community in New York City. These in-depth interviews are filmed for the Foundation’s educational archives and Broadway World. Past participants have included Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, Matt Bomer, Bobby Cannavale, Harold Prince, Stockard Channing, Nathan Lane, Darren Criss, Sara Bareilles, Tony Goldwyn, Cheyenne Jackson, Kelli O’Hara, David Tennant, Vanessa Redgrave, Liev Schreiber, Jeff Daniels, David Hyde Pierce, Jim Parsons, Gena Rowlands, Michael Urie, Jason Alexander and Juliette Binoche. Richard made his Broadway debut in 2019 in the groundbreaking musical “The Prom”.
RICHARD JAY-ALEXANDER (Director) | began his theatrical career in 1977 in the original cast of the Broadway play, ZOOT SUIT, appearing thereafter in the original Broadway cast of AMADEUS, which led to his being engaged as Associate Director of the National Touring Companies of that Tony Award-winning Play. He also staged AMADEUS in Santiago, Chile, in Spanish, in which he is fluent. However, he is probably best known for his association with Producer Cameron Mackintosh, having served as Executive Director of Mr. Mackintosh’s American company for ten years, running its day-to-day operations in North America. Richard first came to Mr. Mackintosh’s attention as stage manager/dance captain of his Broadway revival of OLIVER! and stage manager/assistant director of his Broadway production of SONG & DANCE, which is where he met Bernadette Peters. He has worked with some of the world’s greatest entertainers, including Bette Midler (KISS MY BRASS Tour), Barbra Streisand (TIMELESS Tour and the most recent STREISAND Tours of the U.S and Europe, also serving as a co-writer), Ricky Martin, Polly Bergen, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Lea Salonga, Sam Harris, Rosie O’Donnell, Hayley Westenra, Mary Cleere Haran, Jill Eikenberry and Michael Tucker, Will & Anthony Nunziata, Betty Buckley, Johnny Mathis, Debby Boone, Jane Monheit, Lea Michele, Julie Andrews, Russell Watson and Bernadette Peters, the latter two having also been telecast on PBS.
BAAYORK LEE (Choreographer) | has performed in a dozen Broadway shows and created the role of Connie in A Chorus Line. As Michael Bennett’s assistant choreographer on A Chorus Line, she has directed and choreographed many national and international companies in Klagenfurt, Spain, Austria, Santiago, Chile, Hollywood Bowl and Pace University.
Her directing and choreography credits also include; The King and I and Bombay Dreams (National tours), R&H’s Cinderella (NYC Opera), Barnum (Australia), Carmen Jones (Kennedy Center), Porgy and Bess and Jesus Christ Superstar (European tours), Gypsy and A New Brain. She has also choreographed shows including; Miss Saigon (KC Starlight), Mack and Mabel (Shaw Festival), Animal Crackers, South Pacific (Helen Hayes nominations,) Coconuts, Camelot, and Damn Yankees all at Arena Stage in Washington, DC.
Most recently, Baayork Lee was the recipient of the 2017 Isabelle Stevenson TONY Award. Ms. Lee was honored for her commitment to future generations of artists through her work with National Asian Artists Project and theatre education programs around the world.
KYLE GARVIN (Choreographer) | Originating from Bridgeport, CT, Kyle earned a BFA degree in Musical Theater from the University of the Arts. Kyle has toured both nationally and internationally in How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Madison Square Garden), Go Diego Go Live! ( Radio City Music Hall), favorite credits include Twist: An American Musical, under the direction of Debbie Allen (Alliance Theater, Pasadena Playhouse), Hairspray (Courthouse Repertory Theater), Matilda (Virginia Stage Company), The Wild Party (Barrow Group Theater), and Oliver (Paper Mill Playhouse), Parable of the Sower Opera (Touring), Jersey Boys (Capital Repertory Theater), The Wizard of Oz as Lion/Zeke (Capital Repertory Theater). As a Choreographer Kyle was previously creatively involved in Baayork Lee’s National Asian Artist Project’s (NAAP) productions of Carousel, Hello Dolly!, and Oliver! He is the director/choreographer for NAAP’s multi-award-winning PS 124 theater club, and on the choreography team at Kristin Chenoweth’s Broadway BootCamp. Most recently the choreographer of NAAP’s comeback production Pajama Game.
KEVIN STITES (Musical Director) | Broadway: South Pacific (LCT), Tale Of Two Cities, The Color Purple (Music Supervision / Incidental Music), Titanic (Original Musical Supervisor/Music Director), Sunset Boulevard, Pamela’s First Musical, Children and Art, Les Miserables (2006 revival), The Threepenny Opera (Roundabout Revival), Fiddler on the Roof (Alfred Molina), Nine (Antonio Banderas), OKLAHOMA! (Nunn/Stroman), On The Town, Nine to Five (Additional Musical Arrangements). National Tours: Little House On The Prairie, The Color Purple, Martin Guerre, Miss Saigon, The Phantom Of The Opera, Les Miserables, Titanic. Regional: The Master Butchers Singing Club (world premiere) by Marsha Norman (Composer/Music Arranger) at The Guthrie, Titanic at the St. Louis Muny, and Take Flight at The McCarter Theatre. Film/Television: Rosie Live!, Reefer Madness, Letterman, Rosie, several Tony Awards Telecasts, Macy’s Fourth of July Spectacular, NBC’S Christmas At Rockefeller Center, and others. Guest Conductor: Grant Park Symphony (Sondheim, Bernstein, and Gershwin tributes), Hollywood Bowl’s Guys And Dolls and Les Miserables.
NELLIE BEAVERS (Assistant Director) | is an entertainment jackknife and digital unicorn. She met Richard Jay-Alexander in 2007 and has worked with him on various projects with Barbra Streisand, Kristin Chenoweth, Hugh Panaro, Deborah Cox, Lisa Howard, and Norm Lewis (among others) in various capacities from art direction and concert production, to social media, photography, and video editing. She can also be found twirling tassels as burlesque performer Honey Beavers in New York City.