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BWW Interview: Broadway's Michael Longoria Talks SONGS FOR NEW ALTERNATIVES, His LGBT Youth Benefit

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Michael Longoria kicks off New York Pride with SONGS FOR NEW ALTERNATIVES, a star-studded fundraiser to empower LGBT youth and raise money for the New Alternatives center. BroadwayWorld spoke with Longoria to learn more about the event, his passion for the community, and his heartfelt album, BROADWAY BRICK BY BRICK.


What inspired you to create this event?

Me, Taylor James from 42 West [PR] and Kristina Bramhall from Telsey [+ Co] Casting were having dinner and we were talking about organizations in New York that were specifically targeted towards LGBT youth, because I wanted to get involved. Kristina had done some work with New Alternatives, and let us know about the housing situation, how their space is going to be taken away and used for other programming. So, we knew, if anything, this was a sign telling us to get involved in that moment, and we decided then and there whatever we were going to do it would be for New Alternatives.

We had a meeting with the founder and it kept evolving. We wanted to do a concert. I had just done my Joe's Pub concert, so I didn't want to repeat another concert of what I just did, and I said, "We have so many talented friends, why don't we just get all our friends involved?" A few phone calls later, we had twenty people involved, and it's growing- which is awesome, because they're both LGBT and straight, and they want to use what they have, which is their talent. They're very talented, these talents are very big - Diana DeGarmo, Constantine Maroulis alone, those voices in a small environment like the Hardware Bar... how intimate it's going to be! It's a once in a lifetime chance to see. I'm hoping it's going to be a fun party. It's going to be celebratory. Some people will be hearing about New Alternatives for the first time, so to get it in their ears and on their mouths that there's this place that exists... that's the best we can do.

Tell us more about the cause, New Alternatives.

I just wanted to help this organization. I heard that they were losing their donated space in August so they're in danger of being homeless themselves. I have to do something, obviously raise some money, but also provide awareness, especially right now as I release my album, there's a lot of talk about right now. I thought this would be a good opportunity to actually use that platform and talk about something where we can get involved to help. Especially for Pride. This is for young people. They're only homeless because they're LGBT, they don't have familial support. It's such a weird, horrible thing, already to be homeless, but to have that be the reason. We have to let this generation know that it's gonna be ok, not only is it going to get better during a time where they probably feel unsupported, especially with what's going on with LGBT issues.

What songs can people expect to hear?

Well... [Laughs] The song list is still being dissolved, but I know that I'm probably going to sing "As if We Never Said Goodbye" from Sunset Boulevard, also from my album Brick by Broadway Brick. I heard Daniel Reichard from Jersey Boys, my costar, might come in. I think he's leaning towards "Put a Little Love in Your Heart". I know someone is singing "Stitches" by Shawn Mendes. It's going to be a variety of pop songs, but also Boadway songs, since a lot of my friends are Broadway people. So we wanna live in that variety. I heard some are actually singing original songs, and I also have a co-host Ashley Austin Morris, who's a comedienne, and she's hilarious. She's going to be keeping us giggling throughout the night.

Is there a way to donate and get involved still if we can't attend the event?

Yes! You can donate by going to the Alternatives website, http://newalternativesnyc.org.

You had mentioned your solo album, tell us about the process behind that.

A year ago, I was in search of myself- something was missing. There was a desire for some sort of greatness- artistic greatness. I listened to every Broadway musical that summer. Everything that I gravitated to kept reminding me of home, and that desire to find home, even though as an adult, once you move, you never really find it. In the music, these songs kept bringing me back to the first time I heard them, which was at home. These songs kept reminding me of my journey not only of home, but leaving home, and finding my dream. All of us who dream of a life in New York and a life in the theatre, have to leave home. All these songs kept bringing me back specific moments and all the ways to find home.

So that is how you chose the songs?

I chose "Home" from The Wiz for in that moment, it's the desire to return home. For "The Sound of Music," I did it in a Latin Mariachi style, because I wanted to give homage to my mother. She gave me the music, and the music is Mariachi. My mom sang in Spanish, and that was the music of my years before Broadway. I wanted to start the album in that world of Latin music and that mixture of how Broadway infused itself in my ears.

The whole of Broadway Brick by Brick is telling my story, from this little Mariachi boy who got into NYU (I had no way to get there, but got a scholarship), to all of a sudden as a waiter at Ellen's Stardust Diner. All those songs did that for me- they took me to that moment. It's a way to narrate my story all the way up to Jersey Boys, using songs that really mean something personally to my life's core and who I was. Also to pay tribute to the music that changed my life. The whole reason I'm here is because I heard these songs as a little boy. These Broadway songs that live in our world inspire me. It's because of all those actors who lay the track down in a studio one night. I hear it decades later and now I'm singing these songs.

SONGS FOR NEW ALTERNATIVES is at Hardware Bar on Thursday, June 23rd at 9pm. Tickets are a suggested $10.


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