Broadway comes to BG with benefit to support AIDS, HIV

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Gabby Thomas and Hennessey Bevins sing at the Broadway Cares BG fundraising event to raise awareness to support AIDS/HIV research.

By Megan Wimsatt and By Megan Wimsatt

A revolution has come to the University.

Broadway Cares BG once again graced the Wolfe Center with their show “Broadway: A Revolution” on Jan. 21 and 22. The Eva Marie Saint Theatre was filled with the sound of students performing songs that were revolutionary to Broadway.

“This year our theme generated almost 100 songs that could be tied or described as revolutionary,” said Alex Lenzo, music director and co-director of the show. “Following that, the production team then had to sit down and discuss whether or not we felt the song could be performed with the expected cast we would have.”

“Broadway: A Revolution” featured songs from musicals like “Hamilton,” “Cabaret,” “Mama Mia” and “Pippin.”

Preparation for the show also takes quite a bit of time, according to the show crew members.

“Normally between four to six weeks it takes for us to put it up,” said Braeden Tuttle, choreographer for the show. “With (winter) break giving us the time to learn the music on our own and the choreography or whatever else we’ve learned prior.”

To make preparation for this year’s show even more complicated, performers had to learn American Sign Language for the songs pulled from the Deaf West version of “Spring Awakening.”

“Adam Rawlings (the show’s producer and co-director) is very well adept at ASL, so he was the one who taught us all the American Sign Language,” Tuttle said.

There was also a silent auction with Broadway items for people to place bids on.

These included signed show posters for “Something Rotten,” “The Lion King,” “The Book of Mormon,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” a snow globe and playbills.

“In the past we’ve had baseball caps, snow globes and different posters from the previous Broadway season, posters that have been autographed by the cast, sometimes there’s been calendars,” Rawlings said. “They also send wristbands that we can pass out to the audience and the cast members and Broadway Cares ribbons.”

Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS was brought to the University seven years ago. During those years, event emcee Geoff Stephenson said over $65,000 was raised. BC/EFA itself has raised over $250 million to help provide aid to those struggling with AIDS and other illnesses in the U.S.

“Broadway Cares awards annual grants to more than 450 AIDS and family service organizations nationwide,” Stephenson said.BC/EFA also supports the Actors Fund, which has social service programs such as the HIV/AIDS Initiative, the Phyllis Newman Women’s Health Initiative and the Al Hirschfeld Free Health Clinic.

Rawlings hopes those who attended Broadway Cares were inspired to donate.

“It is such a great cause and they give to so many organizations and give out grants,” he said.