Sunrise, Florida (CNN) Drama students past and present shared the stage Monday night for a benefit concert featuring stars and survivors of a school shooting in Parkland, Florida.
Sunrise, Florida (CNN) Drama students past and present shared the stage Monday night for a benefit concert featuring stars and survivors of a school shooting in Parkland, Florida.
“From Broadway With Love: A Benefit Concert for Parkland, USA” featured a star-studded roster of Broadway and television entertainers, including “Glee” actor Matthew Morrison, “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” star Rachel Bloom and award-winning recording artist Deborah Cox.
More than 4,700 people attended the concert at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida, organizers said. The celebrity entertainers performed with Stoneman Douglas students and local arts groups, including the Student Choir of Broward and Dance Theatre of Broward, on a program that ranged from upbeat and inspirational to reflective and moving to fun and silly.
Despite the circumstances that brought them together, Bloom said the chemistry among the performers was instantly palpable. After all, the celebrity performers were once theater kids, she said.
“Tonight is about them and I’m happy to be here and support them. The kids from Marjory Stoneman Douglas are doing what the arts are supposed to do — they are channeling their intense feelings and rage and thoughts into their art, which is a way to communicate with people and make the world better,” Bloom said in an interview before the show.
“This is an example of why theater and the arts in schools is so important,” she said. “It makes me proud to be a fellow theater kid seeing what all these people are doing with theater and music.”
‘A healing night’
The concert opened with a stirring rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” sung by “Mamma Mia!” actress Carrie Manolakos and a choir of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students.Former “American Idol” contestant Justin Guarini performed a song written by a Stoneman Douglas student.
Deborah Cox crooned “I Will Always Love You” as images of the 17 victims flashed behind her. The dance group that victim Jaime Guttenberg belonged to staged an emotional performance that elicited cheers of “We love you, Jaime” as the dancers left the spotlight.
Moments of levity punctuated the somber tone, such as Bloom’s rendition of “F—ton of Cats” and Erich Bergen’s performance of “Man in the Mirror,” all with backup from Stoneman Douglas students. “Glee” star Matthew Morrison and Stoneman Douglas senior Kali Clougherty nearly stole the show with a duet performance of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”
Stoneman Douglas sophomore Tanzil Philip, who hit the high note near the end of “Seasons of Love,” said performing in the show was difficult during the memorial parts. “But by the end, the whole thing felt healing,” he said. “It was a healing night.”
‘Everything we’re doing is for them’
Working with the teen performers made the February 14 shooting feel all the more real, Broadway performer Donna Lynne Champlin said. But in the frenzied excitement of rehearsals, it was easy to momentarily forget why they were there, the “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” actress said.
“We’re sort of looking at our younger selves and going, ‘When we were your age we were writing songs about rainy days and broken hearts, and here you are writing songs about losing numerous friends.’ I think they’re extraordinary” she said. “I can’t even imagine what their reality is like.”
The concert was the culmination of weeks of intense preparation, Stoneman Douglas junior Sawyer Garrity said before the concert. But she never forgot what brought everyone together.
“There’s been some really awesome moments because of this, but it’s hard to feel excited or happy about them because you realize what happened and why we’re getting all these opportunities,” she said.
With the help of composer Duncan Sheik, she and another student composed a song based on a poem written by shooting victim Alex Schachter. His parents asked them to write the song after their first performance at a town hall after the shooting, she said.
“This song is for him. He’s going to live on through this song and through this poem he wrote,” she said.
“In the end, everything that we’re doing is for them and everything that we’re doing is so that they’ll be remembered — all the 17, and even the ones who were injured and anyone hurt by gun violence.”
From Broadway With Love: A Benefit Concert for Parkland, USA will feature performances and special appearances from Emmy, Tony, and Golden Globe nominee Matthew Morrison (Glee, Finding Neverland), Golden Globe winner Rachel Bloom (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend), award-winning recording artist Deborah Cox (The Bodyguard), Wayne Brady (Kinky Boots, Hamilton), Kirsten Maldonado (Pentatonix), Noah Galvin (The Real O’Neals, Dear Evan Hansen), Justin Guarini (American Idol, In Transit), Vincent Rodriguez III (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend), Ephraim Sykes (Hamilton, Hairspray Live), Erich Bergen (Madam Secretary), Christy Altomare (Anastasia), Laura Bell Bundy (Anger Management, Legally Blonde), Telly Leung (Aladdin), Jordan Donica (My Fair Lady, Hamilton), Donna Lynne Champlin (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend), Gabrielle Ruiz (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, If/Then), Etai Benson (The Band’s Visit), Carrie Manolakos (Mamma Mia), George Salazar (Godspell, The Lightning Thief), Bryan Fenkhart (Waitress, Memphis), Charity Angel Dawson (Waitress, Side Show), Jessica Vosk (Wicked), Brandon Shapiro, and Jake Wildhorn.
The performers will be accompanied by the South Florida Symphony. Some of the songs that will be performed were written by the Stoneman Douglas students in collaboration with composers Joe Iconis, Bobby Cronin, Zoe Sarnak, Drew Gasparini, and others.
There will also be a performance by Jamie Guttenberg’s dance troupe in honor of her memory. Several Stoneman Douglas students will speak at the event as well.
Approximately 10,000 tickets have been donated to the families of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students and staff.
The performance line-up is subject to change and additional performers will be announced in the coming weeks.
Stars of the stage and screen will unite April 16 for From Broadway With Love: A Benefit Concert for Parkland, a one-night-only concert to benefit the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Victims’ Fund and Shine MSD, which is working to promote arts advocacy in the community in the wake of the February 14 tragedy at the Florida high school. The concert will be held at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida.
Tickets are available online at Ticketmaster.com, by calling (800) 345-7000 or at the BB&T Center Box Office.
Matthew Morrison, is known for starring in Glee, but long before that he treaded the boards of Broadway in Hairspray, The Light in the Piazza, South Pacific and most recently Finding Neverland. Now he is performing at Feinstein’s/54 Below until January 13th and this is a show not to miss. Morrison exudes a natural sex appeal. He claims in his show, that Feinstein’s/54 Below is the sexiest room, but this is the sexiest show, as Morrison seduces his audience with charisma galore. Starting off with a crooning “Nice N Easy,” Morrison entered from the front of the room, making audience members swoon with joy as he passed their table. Sounding and oozing the same charge, that Frank Sinatra did. His smooth stylings gave way to a man with a heart, when a young girl almost fainted with glee, was allowed a selfie with him. I have never seen anyone as delighted as this girl was. All night the cell camera’s were zoomed in so as not to miss a moment.
Next up was a sinful “On The Street Where You Live.” All I can say is if the revival of My Fair Lady has this version, it is sure to smolder.
Father to 12-week-old son Revel James Makail, John Mayer’s “Waiting on the World to Change” brought lyrics that really affected the singer, but it was “As Long As He Needs Me” from Oliver that his emotional ties to his son came through. The arrangement had Jimmy Emerson on flute and it added to the plaintiveness of the song. Also on “Waiting on the World to Change” there were some mean solos by Emerson on Sax and Daniel Kalischer on guitar.
Bill Withers “Ain’t No Sunshine” showed off the singers dancing skills, as well as some soul. Morrison feeds off the energy of his fans as he gyrated with a sinewy grace. During the song his hand slide down the mike as if making love to it and I can guarantee most of the audience wished it was them instead of that mike.
In “Hey There” from Pajama Game, Morrison oozed boyish charm as he played the ukulele. This was in tribute to his first gig as a back-up singer for Don Ho.
Brad Ellis, the arranger from Glee, is Morrison’s musical director and played the keys, but it was his arrangement of Cole Potter’s “It’s Alright With Me” that rocked the house. Morrison pulled some Bob Fosse moves that shook the house. Bass player Gary Wicks and drummer Pete Antunes also showed mad skills.
“We Kiss In The Shadow” was Morrison’s tribute to gay marriage and what life was like before acceptance.
His South Pacific medley made me want to see his performance and made me realize what a talented musician this man truly is.
Nominated for a Tony Award for his performance as Fabrizio in The Light In The Piazza “Il Mondo Era Vuoto,” was my favorite of the night. Stating “that show was the hardest I’ve ever done. It’s also the highlight of my career,” he vocally soared. It is in a more classical sound, that Morrison impresses and impress he does.
Keeping us up to date with the shows he has performed in, a Finding Neverland medley followed. A nine-minute Hairspray medley had Morrison rocking and rolling. It is clear he has a complete love for this show.
“Come Rain or Come Shine/ Basin Street Blues” allowed the whole band to show off. Morrison surrounds himself with some of best musicians and the caliber of this show is exceptional. For opening night Morrison’s guest was his wife Renee and the curtain call number was a medley of two Beatle songs for the girl who has knitted his young sons caps.
Morrison is personable and makes sure that everyone has a great seat and a fabulous time. His humor is a little sarcastic, but with a devilish charm. Morrison has that “it” factor and has talent galore. How Broadway hasn’t snatched him up to star in a role written for him is beyond puzzling. Do not miss this show as it is one of the best I have seen in a long time.
Matthew Morrison on Being a ‘Present and Proactive’ Father to Son: ‘He’s Teaching Me So Much’
POSTED ON Dec 07, 2017 BY Valentina INNews
The father of one, 39, recently told PEOPLE about his daddy-baby bonding time and the joys of newfound parenting as well as Sherpapa Supply Co., his line of gear and accessories designed for the modern dad and family man, which landed a coveted spot on Gwyneth Paltrow‘s goop gift guide this holiday season.
“I revel in his bravery. It sounds weird but with especially with everything going on right now, he’s so brave to come into this world. He’s teaching me so much,” Morrison said about his only child.
“He can’t talk to me yet but he’s forcing me to learn how to communicate with someone who is trying to communicate with me. It’s a lesson in patience. I’ve never been impatient with my child. I know a lot of parents can be,” the star continued. “I’m learning how to communicate with him about him and what every burp and fart means.”
The Glee alum and Zach McDuffie, a photographer, entrepreneur and father to a three-year-old little girl, launched Sherpapa Supply Co. to create quality products for all parents. (Morrison and McDuffie recommend their popular reversible blanket for a future Christmas gift!)
“Zach’s the best example for me of a present, proactive father and that’s what I want to be so it’s been a great journey. It informs who I am as a father,” Morrison said about building his lifestyle brand and raising his son. “I’m ready for anything, I’m so prepared. I love being prepared and that’s basically why we started this company. Sometimes having a kid is planning a NASA launch.”
One particular thing he’s recently proud of is his son’s growth.
“[Revel] moved out of his newborn diapers so he’s on the next stage of diapers which is very exciting. But we actually try to do the diapers that aren’t really diapers, the cloth diapers. It’s a lot of washing, a lot of laundry. It’s eco-friendly and we’re trying to do that as much as we can,” Morrison said.
“The biggest one I would say I felt like for the first time maybe in the last week he saw me for the first time,” he added. “He actually had that recognition and he smiled. I can’t wait until we make him laugh and to hear his laugh.”
The Elton John AIDS Foundation Partners with Mobile Messaging App Kwippit for World AIDS Day
POSTED ON Dec 03, 2017 BY Valentina INNews
For the 29th annual World AIDS Day (Dec. 1), legendary artist and noted philanthropist Sir Elton John is continuing his commitment to raising awareness and funds for the global HIV/AIDS epidemic with the help of mobile messaging app Kwippit and 25 famous friends.
Each day during the next month, a custom-made digital heart — similar to an emoji — is set to release to subscribers of Kwippit’s Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF)channel to share on social media and text messages. One hundred percent of the proceeds from downloads ($.99 annual membership) directly benefits the non-profit’s grant-making programs that focus on raising awareness, sharing preventative information, and offering medical care and treatment to all people living with HIV.
John, who designed six of the 31 hearts for the digital campaign (exclusive sketch below) tells Billboard: “I am so grateful to all of the EJAF friends participating in this Kwippit project for sharing their creativity with us, supporting our work, remaining steadfast to the cause, and believing in our ideals.”
“Ending AIDS ultimately comes down to this: We must open our hearts to love one another and help every person in need, regardless of who they are, who they love, where they’re from, or what they do,” said EJAF executive director Scott P. Campbell. “That’s what this campaign is all about — opening our hearts and raising funds to end AIDS once and for all — for everyone.”
In the Spring, the Foundation is capitalizing on its long-standing relationship with Hollywood by hosting an auction during its 26th annual Academy Awards Viewing Party (Mar. 4, 2018). During the sale, all 31 custom heart designs — 6”x 6” heart-shaped tiles — are framed and autographed by each celebrity.
Musicians lending their support include Boy George, Cyndi Lauper, Steven Tyler, Ozzy Osbourne, Ansel Elgort, Beth Ditto, Adam Lambert along with Broadway stars Neil Patrick Harris and Andrew Rannells. Other celebrity supporters include Ellen DeGeneres, Andy Cohen, Lea Michele, Matthew Morrison, Chris Colfer, Sharon Stone, Jonathan Groff, Colton Haynes, Cheyenne Jackson, Billie Jean King, Heidi Klum, Padma Lakshmi, Sandra Lee, Andy Roddick, Jake Shears, and Russell Tovey.
“We’re incredibly honored to work with the Elton John AIDS Foundation on this campaign,” adds Kwippit’s chief brand officer, Krista Treide. “We’re excited to connect the digital/social media generation with EJAF’s important efforts to end the AIDS epidemic in our lifetime.”
Matthew Morrison, Adrienne Warren and more to join Roundabout Theatre Company’s Damn Yankees benefit
POSTED ON Nov 18, 2017 BY Valentina INNews
Roundabout Theatre Company (Todd Haimes, Artistic Director/CEO) has just announced that Matthew Morrison “Joe Hardy,” Stephen Bogardus“Joe Boyd,” Annie Golden “Doris,” Julie Halston“Sister” and Adrienne Warren “Gloria Thorpe” have joined the Benefit Concert Reading of Damn Yankees, the Tony award-winning musical comedy by George Abbott and Douglass Wallop with music and lyrics by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross. The evening will bring these beloved stars of stage and screen back to the Broadway stage for one night only with Whoopi Goldberg as “Applegate,” Maggie Gyllenhaal as “Lola,” Danny Burstein as “Van Buren” and Victoria Clark as “Meg Boyd.”
Roundabout’s Associate Artist Kathleen Marshall will direct this one-night only special event. Roundabout welcomes back Kathleen following her Tony Award winning work directing and choregraphing Anything Goes and prior to that, her Tony- winning choreography for another Adler and Ross musical comedy – The Pajama Game (Tony Award, Best Revival). Ms. Gyllenhaal returns following her acclaimed Broadway debut in The Real Thing, Matthew Morrison was last at Roundabout in A Naked Girl on the Appian Way, Danny Burstein returns following his Tony nominated performance in Cabaret and before that Talley’s Folly, Victoria Clark returns following her starring role in The Marriage of Bette and Boo, Annie Golden returns after the Tony-nominated musical Violet and Julie Halston was last with Roundabout for Anything Goes and On the Twentieth Century. Roundabout is thrilled to welcome legendary Ms. Goldberg and Adrienne Warren into the family of Roundabout artists.
The Benefit Concert Reading will take place on Monday, December 11, 2017 at 7:30 PM at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre.
Would you do ANYTHING to help your favorite baseball team win the pennant? In the Faustian baseball musical, Damn Yankees, Joe Boyd sells his soul to the devil to be the home run hitter that will guide his favorite team, the Washington Senators, to a win against those “Damn Yankees.” Featuring the classical musical theatre standards, “Heart,” “Two Lost Souls” and “Whatever Lola Wants”, follow Joe in his quest to save his team…and his soul.
Proceeds from the Benefit Concert Reading of Damn Yankees support Roundabout Theatre Company‘s many programs and initiatives, including Education at Roundabout.
VIP, Benefactor and Producer tickets include admission to an exclusive cast party following the performance. Additional cast members and creative team will be announced soon. Generous underwriting support is provided by Roxanne and Scott Bok, Michael T. Cohen, Colliers International NY LLC, Kiendl and John Gordon, Tom and Kitty Patterson Kempner, and Diane and Tom Tuft. Damn Yankees is sponsored by Google. Golden Ram Imports is the wine sponsor for the evening.
Matthew Morrison To Star In Chinese Pic ‘Crazy Alien’ From ‘Breakup Buddies’ Ning Hao
POSTED ON Aug 14, 2017 BY Valentina INNews
Matthew Morrison has been set to star in Chinese feature Crazy Alien, the third installment in director Ning Hao’s black comedy trilogy that includes 2006’s Crazy Stone and 2009’s Crazy Racer (aka Silver Medalist). The logline is being kept under wraps, though it’s understood Alien will be in keeping with the previous Crazy crime capers.
Production on the Chinese-language movie is just getting underway in Qingdao. Morrison will speak English in the picture with his role subtitled in Chinese.
Co-starring is Ning’s frequent collaborator Huang Bo, who was in the previous Crazypics as well as the director’s 2014 smash Breakup Buddies. Also aboard are Tom Pelphrey (Iron Fist, Banshee); Kat Nelson (A Girl Is A Gun); and Shen Teng, who appeared in Breakup Buddies and is known for another local box office hit, Goodbye Mr Loser.
A Tony, Emmy and Golden Globe nominee, Glee alum Morrison recently starred in the Harvey Weinstein-produced Finding Neverland on Broadway and next will be onscreen in Tulip Fever, which releases domestically on August 25. He’s repped by CAA.
Glee was a popular series in China. Said Ning: “We are expanding the potential audience for Chinese films. This time, we are collaborating with extraordinary Hollywood actors. I believe that all these amazing talents will inspire each other to put on a great performance.”
Breakup Buddies was the No. 2 movie of 2014 in the Middle Kingdom, grossing $188M. Ning’s other credits include 2013’s neo-Western thriller No Man’s Land,which competed in Berlin and has been compared to the work of the Coen brothers.
Huanxi Media and Dirty Monkey are producing Crazy Alien with a China release set for February 5, 2019. Morrison is repped by CAA and management Podwall Entertainment.
Carmen Cusack, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Matthew Morrison, Vanessa Williams and More Set for SONDHEIM ON SONDHEIM at The Hollywood Bowl
POSTED ON Jun 20, 2017 BY Valentina INNews
The Hollywood Bowl has announced the cast and creative team for a benefit performance of SONDHEIM ON SONDHEIM, with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, conceived and directed on Broadway by James Lapine.
The production will feature Lewis Cleale, Carmen Cusack, Claybourne Elder, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Ruthie Ann Miles, Matthew Morrison, Solea Pfeiffer, Vanessa Williams and additional cast members to be announced, and will have one performance only, on Sunday, July 23, 2017 at 7:30pm. The Hollywood Bowl production benefits the LA Phil’s flagship program, Youth Orchestra Los Angeles (YOLA), and other LA Phil educational initiatives.
SONDHEIM ON SONDHEIM will be directed by Sarna Lapine with Gustavo Dudamel conducting the Los Angeles Philharmonic and YOLA, who will join the show to perform “Children Will Listen” alongside the LA Phil. The production will be choreographed by Michele Lynch with lighting design by Ken Billington in addition to new orchestrations by Michael Starobin, arrangements by David Loud and video created and designed by Peter Flaherty.
From Follies and Into the Woods to A Little Night Music and Sweeney Todd, Stephen Sondheim‘s umpteen Broadway masterpieces assure him a permanent spot among the very top creators of the American musical. Audiences will not want to miss this “funny, affectionate and revealing tribute to musical theater’s greatest living composer and lyricist” (USA Today), a musical revue-style journey through the extraordinary life and career of Stephen Sondheim.
SONDHEIM ON SONDHEIM will have one performance only at the Hollywood Bowl this summer – Sunday, July 23, at 7:30 PM.
Subscriptions and single tickets for performances during the Hollywood Bowl 2017 summer season are available at www.HollywoodBowl.com, or via credit card phone order at 323.850.2000, and in person at the Hollywood Bowl Box Office. For further details or questions, call 323.850.2000 from 10am – 6pm daily, or visit www.LAPhil.com.
Matthew Morrison and His Wife Are Going to Italy for a Babymoon
POSTED ON Jun 03, 2017 BY Valentina INNews
“My Father’s Day, we’re actually going to be on our babymoon,” the Glee alum shares. “We’re going to be in Italy.”
Though the couple – who confirmed their pregnancy to PEOPLE last month – won’t welcome their baby until the fall, Morrison says, “We do feel like this will be our first Father’s Day, we really celebrated Mother’s Day this year for [Renee].”
He adds, “We’ll be just enjoying our travels before we have our addition.”
The couple – who wed in 2014 – can’t wait to grow their little family.
Says the actor, “I feel like through pregnancy and infancy, a lot of fathers are confused of their role. I’m just so excited to just go after it and this is going to be the greatest adventure of my life and it’s starting soon.”
Matthew Morrison is going to be a dad – and a cool one at that, armed with some signature new gear.
“I’m so excited, and I just want to be the best father I possibly can be,” Morrison, 38, tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue, admitting that he’s “looking forward to everything” about fatherhood.
Says the actor of his new addition, due to arrive this fall, “The fact that it’s half me and half the person that I love most in this world … I’m so excited to meet our child and to see what he or she looks like, and to see what features of my beautiful wife that he or she has.”
The timing couldn’t be better. Though he and McDuffie have been working on bringing Sherpapa to life for a while, it’s May website launch allows Morrison to be a purveyor and customer.
“Zach and I were on this mission to build this company and now it means so much more to me,” he raves. “It’s so much more relevant.”
Sherpapa includes a range of high-quality products, including dad-branded tees and hats, as well as custom specialty items like painted baseball bats and canoe paddles. The business partners tell PEOPLE they hope Sherpapa encourages family adventure.
“In this generation, there’s a lot more dual-income families and shared responsibilities of raising a kid,” says McDuffie. “Dads are much more involved in raising their kids. There hasn’t been any lifestyle brand geared toward those kind of dads until now.”
McDuffie, a photographer, and Morrison first met through their wives, becoming fast friends. As the father of a 2-year-old little girl, McDuffie realized a lot of products for new parents were geared toward mothers.
“I was carrying my wife’s diaper bag and I started thinking. I was like, ‘There’s gotta be something cooler for guys,’ ” he says. “Yet there was nothing for dads – and it’s the best job in the world – as far as gear.”
Thus, Sherpapa was born. Explains McDuffie, “The name started out as a nickname my wife had for me, because when you’re a dad, you carry a lot of stuff for your family.”
“So it’s a combination of ‘sherpa’ – those local guides that carry all the gear for climbers at Mount Everest – and ‘papa,’ which is the most universal term for dad.”
“Our definition of Sherpapa is a modern family leader and protector of children’s futures,” McDuffie continues.
Both men are partial to the brand’s bags – the James and the Sierra – which, Morrison says, are Sherpapa’s “staple pieces.”
“It’s really a bag for all seasons of fatherhood,” he says. “From a go-bag for the delivery room in the hospital to the diaper bag, to putting tools in it. Zach uses it for carrying lunch around, and it’s a great car tote. I use it as a carry-on – it fits perfectly under an airplane seat.”
“There are a couple stereotypes about dads that we want to break,” says Morrison. “One, that dads are hard to shop for. And two, that men somehow lose their style when they become fathers. And that’s why we are creating these gifts and gear in a classic style that reflects the belief of quality over quantity, and durability over the disposable.”
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