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 Kwippitand 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.”
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 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.
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.
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.
The expectant couple will soon be celebrating their baby joy abroad in Italy, Morrison tells PEOPLE at the Gilt launch of his chic dad gear line Sherpapa Supply Co. at Catch LA on Wednesday night.
“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.”
“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.”
Sherpapa is partnering exclusively with Gilt.com for the launch. Gilt will offer an exclusive curated selection of Morrison and McDuffie’s favorite Sherpapa products to subscribers starting June 1.With the brand up and running, Morrison is set to focus on fatherhood. “I can’t wait to share experiences and watch life through my kid’s eyes,” he says.
Matthew Morrison, the Emmy, Tony and Golden Globe Award-nominated star from Fox TV’s hit television series “Glee,” will perform at Musikfest Cafe at ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks in Bethlehem, it was just announced.
Morrison will perform at 8 p.m. Sept. 7.
Tickets, at $44-$54 for Morrison, go on sale at 10 a.m. May 16 to ArtsQuest members and 10 a.m. May 19 to the public at www.steelstacks.org and 610-332-3378.
TV and stage actor Matthew Morrison will headline the September 9 benefit gala for the Westport Country Playhouse in Connecticut.
The event will raise money for the classic summer stock theatre where Stephen Sondheim once worked as a summer volunteer, which is getting set to launch its 87th season.
Morrison, who earned a Tony Award nomination for his performance in The Light in the Piazza, has also appeared in the 2008 revival of South Pacific and as Peter Pan author J.M. Barrie in the musical Finding Neverland. But he is even more widely known for his performance as Mr. Schuester, director of a high school glee club, in the FOX musical comedy series Glee, which earned him an Emmy nomination and two Golden Globe nominations,
The gala’s theme, “Moonlight Over Venice,” is a nod to the Playhouse’s planned autumn production of Romeo and Juliet. The gala will begin with a 5:45 PM cocktail party cocktail party, followed by the 7 PM presentation of the Playhouse Leadership Award to longtime trustee Ann Sheffer, and the 7:15 PM performance by Morrison. Dinner will be served at 8:30 PM. A silent auction will be ongoing throughout the evening.
The Honorary Gala Committee includes Maureen Anderman, Frank Converse, Mia Dillon, Keir Dullea, Jill Eikenberry, Daniel Gerroll, Joanna Gleason, James Earl Jones, Patricia Kalember, James Naughton, Kelli O’Hara, Christopher and Elaine Plummer, Chris Sarandon, and Michael Tucker.
Tickets, at $1,000 and $2,500, can be ordered by calling the box office at (203) 571-1138, or by emailing email@example.com.
Before Hairspray made its way to Broadway, where it would go on to win the Tony Award for best musical, the show’s leading man left the production.
“We went out of town to start doing the show and our Link Larkin got a movie and left us cold,” says Marissa Jaret Winokur, who is featured in the current issue of PEOPLE.
Winokur, who starred as plus-size optimist Tracy Turnblad in the musical based on the 1988 John Waters film of the same name, says she decided to get involved in the casting process.
“Matt Morrison was the hot chorus boy and I kept saying to them, ‘Matt Morrison is really hot. He should do it’ – only because I thought he was hot,” she says of the Gleestar. “I didn’t know if he was talented or anything. He was just that cute boy with the big curly hair. I said, ‘That’s my Link.’ But the joke is on us. He blew up and is everywhere.”
Of course, being costars meant making out in eight shows a week.
“My boyfriend at the time, who is now my husband, would come visit and I would be, like, ‘I like the way Matt kisses better,’ ” jokes Winokur, who wed TV producer Judah Miller in 2006.
Now, Winokur will cameo in NBC’s TV event based on the Broadway musical inspired by Waters’ 1988 film, Hairspray Live!
“I said, ‘Even if there’s something fun for us to do backstage, I just want to be a part of it,’ ” she says.