Metro Weekly

Broadway Cares streams ‘Disney on Broadway’ benefit concert on April 17

The livestream will raise funds for theater workers -- both onstage and off -- impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic

disney, broadway cares, newsies, 25, covid-19

Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS will stream a concert celebrating the 25th anniversary of Disney on Broadway, after a musicians’ union dropped its opposition.

The pretaped concert will stream on Friday, April 17 and raise money for Broadway Cares’ COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Fund, which helps support entertainment professionals both onstage and behind the scenes who are impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Dubbed “Celebrating 25 Magical Years of Disney on Broadway,” the concert was staged last year and featured almost 80 performers paying homage to the 25th anniversary of Disney opening a show on Broadway.

It featured presentations of hits from a number of Disney musicals, as well as a special reunion of 18 castmembers of Newsies from the show’s Broadway and touring productions.

The original concert served as a fundraiser for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, one of the nation’s leading industry-based HIV/AIDS fundraising and grant-making organizations, and raised more than $570,000.

Plans to stream a taping of the concert as a fundraiser for those impacted by COVID-19 were derailed earlier this month after the American Federation of Musicians said it would withhold streaming rights. That decision was later reversed after those who performed at the November concert urged AFM’s International President Ray Hair to reconsider.

“There is no better news today than that which helps us ensure all in the entertainment industry who are facing the serious challenges of this COVID-19 pandemic can depend on the support of all their colleagues in the industry,” Tom Viola, executive director of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, said in a statement.

“My thanks to the leadership of the American Federation of Musicians. My best wishes and many thanks to AFM Local 802 President Adam Krauthamer and the Local 802 membership who were willing to speak up during this unprecedented time to support the arts community and those in need. We all will surely one day gather in Times Square together to celebrate Broadway’s rebirth and renewal of hope.”

The stream will start at 7 p.m. Eastern on the Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS website, as well as its YouTube and Facebook pages.

Broadway actor Ryan McCartan will host the stream from his home, and interview Disney on Broadway stars throughout the evening.

The stream also will be available on Playbill.com, iHeartRadio Broadway, and the sites of iHeartRadio’s New York City stations, abc7ny.com and the sites of the ABC Owned Television Stations around the country.

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Rhuaridh Marr is Metro Weekly's managing editor. He can be reached at rmarr@metroweekly.com.

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