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Broadway stars release a powerful musical plea for love to support Orlando

Adam Feldman
Written by
Adam Feldman

At the Tony Awards on June 12, the day of the mass shooting that claimed 49 lives at an LGBT club in Orlando, host James Corden began the telecast with a somber announcement: “On behalf of the whole theater community and every person in this room our hearts go our to all of those affected by this atrocity. All we can say is you are not on your own right now. Your tragedy is our tragedy. Theater is a place where every race, creed, sexuality and gender is equal, is embraced and is loved. Hate will never win. Together we have to make sure of that.”

The Broadway community is now putting its talent where its heart is. Last week, dozens of artists from the Broadway world gathered to record a moving cover of the Burt Bacharach–Hal David song “What the World Needs Now Is Love,” a 1965 hit for Jackie DeShannon. The resulting recording can be downloaded today for $1.99; all proceeds from the Broadway for Orlando effort will benefit the GLBT Center of Central Florida. It's a beautiful song, and you can buy it here.

Lin-Manuel Miranda, Chita Rivera, Bernadette Peters, Audra McDonald, Idina Menzel and Lillias White are among the many singers, joined by pop stars Sara Bareilles, Carole King and Gloria Estefan. If you want to follow along with who's singing what, here is a “We Are the World”–style video of the recording session. 

Participating artists include: Sara Bareilles, Kristen Bell, Wayne Brady, Matthew Broderick, Andréa Burns, Ann Hampton Callaway, Liz Callaway, Len Cariou, Paul Castree, Michael Cerveris, Joshua Colley, Lilla Crawford, Carmen Cusack, Darius de Haas, Fran Drescher, Gloria Estefan, Kimiko Glenn, Whoopi Goldberg, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Joel Grey, Sean Hayes, James Monroe Iglehart, Julie James, Carole King, Judy Kuhn, Nathan Lane, Anika Larsen, Zachary Levi, Jose Llana, Rebecca Luker, Andrea Martin, Audra McDonald, Idina Menzel, Janet Metz, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Jessie Mueller, Donna Murphy, Rosie O’Donnell, Kelli O’Hara, Rory O’Malley, Orfeh, Sarah Jessica Parker, Christine Pedi, Rosie Perez, Bernadette Peters, Billy Porter, Alice Ripley, Chita Rivera, Seth Rudetsky, Keala Settle, Kate Shindle, Jennifer Simard, Will Swenson, Rachel Tucker, Tommy Tune, Jonah Verdon, James Wesley, Juli Wesley, Lillias White, Edith Windsor, Marissa Jaret Winokur, BD Wong and Tony Yazbeck. The project was created by Rudetsky and Wesley for Broadway Records.

Many of these singers, along with others who were not part of the recording, will perform the song tomorrow night (June 21) on the NBC variety show Maya & Marty.  

Musical-theater stars will also unite on Monday, June 27, for Broadway Up, Guns Down, a live concert at Le Poisson Rouge. Participants include Waitress’s Jessie Mueller, as well as Christine Dwyer, Jessica Vosk, Jenni Barber, Katie Thompson, Danny Quadrino , Samantha Marie Ware, Matt DeAngelis, Charity Dawson, Timothy Ware, Alexander Sage Oyen and more. Tickets cost $15–$25; proceeds go to the Zebra Coalition in Orlando, a charitable network for at-risk LGTBQ youth. Tickets or more information can be found here.

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