Industry Pro Newsletter: BroadwayWorld Celebrates 20th Anniversary, Awards Season Officially Underway

The WGA and the Broadway League reached an agreement last week that the Union won’t picket a modified version of the Tony Awards

By: May. 22, 2023

BroadwayWorld celebrates its 20th anniversary with a star-studded concert benefiting Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, featuring a carefully curated lineup of talented performers. The nominations for the 12th Annual Off Broadway Alliance Awards are announced, recognizing outstanding productions such as "FAT HAM," "TITANIQUE," and "MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG." The winners of the 2023 Outer Critics Circle Awards and the Drama League Awards are revealed, honoring exceptional performances on and off Broadway. We also explore developments in the Tony Awards broadcast, theater litigation settlements, new artistic and managing director appointments, and an incident in London brings the need for heightened security for performers into view.

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Industry Pro Newsletter: BroadwayWorld Celebrates 20th Anniversary, Awards Season Officially Underway

BroadwayWorld Turns 20 With Starry Concert by Cara Joy David

Last night, BroadwayWorld celebrated its 20th anniversary with a concert at Sony Hall. The show, which benefited Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, took over a year to plan.

"In April of 2022, I called in a long-held promise with one of my best friends, director Richard Jay-Alexander, and made sure he was still on board to helm the night," said BroadwayWorld founder Robert Diamond. "Richard says this is his last benefit. If that's true, I'm glad it's for us!"

Diamond said the first calls were to line up the venue. Prior BroadwayWorld concerts had taken place at Joe's Pub, but this time a larger venue was needed. After some touring of locations, Sony Hall was chosen for, as Diamond put it, "its location, size, tech and glamour."

Then came the cast selection. When you're the largest theater website in the world, there are a lot of people who will happily come and celebrate you. But Diamond and Alexander wanted to make sure the lineup was carefully curated.

"We looked back through stars that we worked with previously--be it on concerts, pandemic projects like Next on Stage, Stage Door and BroadwayWorld Events," Diamond stated. "For many of the night's performers, we've had the pleasure of documenting their careers for the last two decades and then we expanded from there to include some new friends too."

Having the talent isn't everything. There was sponsorship to line up. An event like this costs tens of thousands of dollars, especially post-pandemic when costs have increased exponentially (and less people work for free). Sponsors for the night were BroadwayHD, the Museum of Broadway, New York Hilton and more. It was also arranged for the Mayor's Office to proclaim May 21, 2023 BroadwayWorld Day.

The cast ended up including Shoshana Bean, Liz Callaway, Mario Cantone, Jenn Colella, Eden Espinosa, Myles Frost, Debbie Gibson, Olivia Elease Hardy, Brittney Johnson, Constantine Maroulis, Donna McKechie, Orfeh, Hugh Panaro, Randy Rainbow, Marc Shaiman, Chris Sieber, Blair St. Clair, Paulo Szot, Elizabeth Teeter, Natalie Toro (with support from Kurt Domoney and Josh Walden) and Jessica Vosk. Of course BroadwayWorld's own Richard Ridge had to host, but he nicely got someone pretty iconic to support him--the legendary Chita Rivera agreed to co-host.

"When I finished WICKED and wanted to pursue my own music, it was met with a lot of resistance," said Bean yesterday afternoon, previewing comments she would make during the event. "When I wanted to promote my own music and shows, things that weren't theatrically based, Robert was there for me. I'll never forget the people who supported me being able to be more than one thing. So I'll always and forever show up for Robert and BroadwayWorld."

Wednesday and Thursday before the concert, many of the cast rehearsed with Musical Director Kevin Stites. Friday some came back to rehearse with the full band. Sunday was soundcheck starting at 2pm. For the cast, it was the first time onstage at Sony Hall. Hardy went first because she had a 3pm matinee at KIMBERLY AKIMBO-and the levels were naturally most off for her. (Luckily, by the end, her performance turned out so well, she received a standing ovation at the event after singing "I Am Changing" from DREAMGIRLS.) In addition to simply checking the sound, lighting was set and Alexander staged certain numbers. For example, Orfeh and Maroulis sang "Total Eclipse of the Heart" together, so some coordination was necessary there. There was less than an hour after that all was done before the cocktail party and the event.

Then the event happened and there was a reminder of why we do this all: for fans of the theater. Several performers talked about reading BroadwayWorld as a fan or being alerted to things on the message boards. Additionally, as part of the event, BroadwayWorld ran a "Are you BroadwayWorld's biggest fan?" contest. The winner, Nicole Quintana, is a high school teacher in Florida who teaches musical theater, theater history and costume, hair and makeup.

"When BroadwayWorld started I had just become a teacher and I was looking for things to add to my lesson plans," she said after the event. "I started reading the articles and I would use them as current events. I look at the games and the grosses. We talk a lot about what is Broadway or off-Broadway or off-off-Broadway and BroadwayWorld has really inspired a lot of that. It means so much to me."

Broadway/New York

Industry Pro Newsletter: BroadwayWorld Celebrates 20th Anniversary, Awards Season Officially Underway

FAT HAM, TITANIQUE, MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG, & More Nominated for 12th Annual Off Broadway Alliance Awards - BroadwayWorld

The nominees for the 12th Annual Off Broadway Alliance Awards have been announced, celebrating excellence in Off-Broadway theater. Productions like "FAT HAM," "TITANIQUE," and "MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG" are among the contenders in various categories. These awards recognize outstanding performances, creative achievements, and contributions to the Off-Broadway community. The winners will be announced on June 19th, 2023, during a virtual ceremony. Click here to read more...

Annaleigh Ashford, SOME LIKE IT HOT, LEOPOLDSTADT & More Win 2023 Drama League Awards - BroadwayWorld

Catch the full list of nominees and winners from this years 2023 Drama League Awards. The categories include Outstanding Production of a Play, Outstanding Revival of a Play, Outstanding Production of a Musical, Outstanding Revival of a Musical, Outstanding Direction of a Play, Outstanding Direction of a Musical, and the much-coveted Distinguished Performance Award. Click here to read more…

SOME LIKE IT HOT, LEOPOLDSTADT & More Win 2023 Outer Critics Circle Awards - BroadwayWorld

The winners of the 2023 Outer Critics Circle Awards have been revealed. "SOME LIKE IT HOT," "LEOPOLDSTADT," and "A CHRISTMAS CAROL" are among the productions recognized for their exceptional performances and creative accomplishments on and off Broadway. The Outer Critics Circle Awards honor excellence in both Broadway and Off-Broadway theater. These accolades highlight the exceptional talent and artistic contributions within the industry. Click here to read more…

WGA Won't Picket Unscripted Tony Awards Broadcast Set For June 11th - BroadwayWorld

The Writers Guild of America (WGA) has announced that they will not picket the unscripted Tony Awards broadcast scheduled for June 11th. This decision comes after negotiations between the WGA and the Tony Awards reached an agreement regarding the use of union writers for the broadcast. The Tony Awards, which celebrate excellence in Broadway theater, will proceed without any potential disruptions from the WGA. Click here to read more…

Jujamcyn and Pacific Indemnity Company Agree to End Litigation Over Coverage Claims - BroadwayWorld

Jujamcyn Theaters, the owner and operator of five Broadway venues, and Pacific Indemnity Company have reached a resolution in their litigation over coverage claims related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The parties have agreed to end the legal proceedings and have not disclosed the specific terms of their settlement. This development marks a significant step towards resolving the financial implications faced by theater owners and operators due to the pandemic's impact on the industry. Click here to read more…


Industry Pro Newsletter: BroadwayWorld Celebrates 20th Anniversary, Awards Season Officially Underway

David Ellenstein Named Artistic Director, Bill Kerlin Named Managing Director of Laguna Playhouse - BroadwayWorld

Laguna Playhouse in California has announced the appointment of David Ellenstein as its new Artistic Director and Bill Kerlin as its Managing Director. Ellenstein, an accomplished director and actor, will be responsible for overseeing the artistic vision and programming, while Kerlin, an experienced arts administrator, will manage the theater's operations and financial activities. Together, they aim to lead Laguna Playhouse to new heights and continue its mission of providing quality theater to the community. Click here to read more…

Rachel Fink Named Managing Director at Cleveland Play House - American Theatre

Rachel Fink has been appointed as the new Managing Director of Cleveland Play House in Ohio. With a background in arts administration and strategic planning, Fink brings her expertise to lead the theater's financial management, operations, and fundraising efforts. Cleveland Play House, one of the country's oldest and largest regional theaters, is known for its commitment to artistic excellence and community engagement. Fink's appointment signals an exciting new chapter for the theater as it continues to thrive and strengthen its impact on the cultural landscape of Cleveland. Click here to read more…

Dancers at California Topless Bar Become First in US to Unionize - Yahoo News

Dancers at the Condor Club in San Francisco, California, have made history by becoming the first exotic dancers in the United States to unionize. The dancers voted overwhelmingly in favor of joining the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, seeking improved working conditions, fair wages, and protection against harassment. This landmark decision has the potential to inspire similar movements across the country, empowering dancers in their fight for better rights and representation. Click here to read more...

The Broadway League Presents The 2023 League Awards - BroadwayWorld

The Broadway League has announced the recipients of the 2023 League Awards, recognizing outstanding contributions to the Broadway industry. Honorees include actors, producers, theater owners, and industry professionals who have made significant impacts on Broadway. These awards celebrate excellence, leadership, and dedication within the theater community. The winners will be honored during a special ceremony in recognition of their remarkable achievements. Click here to read more…

Adventure Theatre MTC Announces All-New Leadership - BroadwayWorld

Adventure Theatre MTC in Maryland has introduced its new leadership team. Raymond Caldwell has been named the new Artistic Director, while Joe Smelser has been appointed as the Managing Director. Together, they will guide the theater's artistic direction, operations, and strategic initiatives. Adventure Theatre MTC is known for its commitment to presenting theater for young audiences and fostering creativity in the community. This new leadership promises to bring fresh perspectives and innovative ideas to the theater's future endeavors. Click here to read more…


Intruder Tries to Take Illicit Photos in 222 West End Dressing Room - The Guardian

An incident occurred at the 222 West End theater in London when an intruder attempted to take illicit photographs in a dressing room. The unauthorized individual was swiftly apprehended and removed from the premises. The incident highlights the importance of maintaining security measures and protecting the privacy and safety of performers in theatrical spaces. The theater community remains vigilant in ensuring a safe and respectful environment for all involved. Click here to read more…

Missed our last few newsletters?

May 15, 2023 - English Wins the Pulitzer, Five Day Work Week in the UK

It seems like a silly thing to say week after week, but here we are again: the industry continues to shift in major ways. Now, though, we have started to gain enough distance from the initial shock and shutdown of the pandemic to really start analyzing how the industry has changed, and how much further it needs to go. This week, we take a look at recovery across the creative sector in an article from TRG Arts, Dance Magazine looks at how the dance industry has changed, and a new labor agreement between the Actors Union in the UK and producers highlights some of the major shifts in the industry across the globe. Click here to read more…

May 8, 2023 - TCG Conference Goes to Chicago, Garrett to Leave Oregon Shakespeare

The Theatre Communications Group (TCG) has selected Chicago, IL as the location for its 2024 National Conference, which will be hosted by the League of Chicago Theatres. The theme of the conference is "Theatre for the Whole of Us" and will focus on equity, diversity, and inclusion in the theatre industry. Meanwhile, the WGA strike, turmoil at regional theaters continues, and Britain gets a King who loves the arts. Finally, Cara Joy David catches up with Broadway director Jessica Stone, who was recently nominated for a Tony Award for her work on the acclaimed musical "KIMBERLY AKIMBO." Click here to read more…

May 1, 2023 - Final Tony Eligibility Decisions, Drama League Awards

In this issue, we discuss the challenges faced by Master of Fine Arts (MFA) programs in the performing arts in adapting to a changing landscape to maintain their level of excellence. We also take a peek behind the curtain at some of the final Tony eligibility decisions and share the nominations for the 2023 Drama League Awards. In addition, we share the exciting news that the 2023 Tony Awards Live Pre-Show will be available for free streaming on Pluto TV. Finally, we bring you the results of the Easter Bonnet Competition, which raised over $3.6 million for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. Click here to read more…

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