Disney on Broadway celebration to stream for free after setback

Disney on Broadway celebration to stream for free after setback

The livestream of the “Celebrating 25 Magical Years of Disney on Broadway” concert is back on after it was halted earlier this week amid union disputes.

Originally slated for Monday, the live-captured Disney on Broadway fundraiser has been rescheduled for April 17, following a recently struck agreement between Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and the American Federation of Musicians to waive fees for the playback. The stream will be available to watch for free on the Broadway Cares YouTube channel and Facebook page beginning at 7 p.m. Friday.

Taped in November at the New Amsterdam Theatre, the concert brings together a star-studded cast of 79 performers and a 15-piece orchestra to perform hit songs from Disney on Broadway musicals. The original event raised $570,426 for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

Ryan McCartan of Broadway’s “Frozen” will host the livestream of the recording from his family’s house and will remotely interview select Broadway stars. Friday’s event aims to raise money for the recently launched Broadway Cares COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Fund, which provides aid to those in the theater and performing arts community affected by the ongoing pandemic and resulting shutdown.

“There is no better news today than that which helps us ensure all in the entertainment industry who are facing the serious challenges of this COVID-19 pandemic can depend on the support of all their colleagues in the industry,” Broadway Cares Executive Director Tom Viola said. “We all will surely one day gather in Times Square together to celebrate Broadway’s rebirth and renewal of hope.”

The November concert is hosted by Whoopi Goldberg and includes performances from Christian Borle, Ashley Park, Tamika Lawrence, Norm Lewis, Gavin Creel and more. Viewers can expect to see songs from “The Lion King,” “Newsies,” “Frozen,” “Beauty and the Beast” and other select productions.

“The event last November was such an unforgettable evening of Disney on Broadway magic,” Viola said. “We are so grateful to all our friends at Disney Theatrical Productions for generously joining us in sharing this evening again, supporting our entertainment industry friends and colleagues who are out of work and facing serious health and personal challenges due to this devastating coronavirus pandemic.”

The blockbuster Broadway arm of Disney launched in 1993. At the time of the November concert, Ashey Brown (Broadway’s original Mary Poppins) stated during the show that Disney productions have raised more than $18 million for Broadway Cares over the intervening years.

A continuation of ongoing support efforts, Broadway Cares’ emergency fund was created in March as a response to the immediate challenges facing theater workers affected by the coronavirus shutdown. Administered by the Actors Fund, the relief drive was launched with an initial $250,000 seed. Lin-Manuel Miranda raised an additional $52,000 on the Jimmy Fallon show, and a group of more than 20 Broadway producers banded together to offer a $1 million challenge match to “double the impact of donations to the fund.” Since its inception, the effort has raised over $2,500,000.

“When crises hit, the extended Broadway community and the theatre fans everywhere have always responded with generosity, compassion and action,” Viola said. “Buoyed by and on behalf of those onstage, backstage and throughout the theaters of New York City and on the road, we are proud to launch this emergency initiative in collaboration with the Actors Fund to provide immediate, basic support for those facing uncertainty in this unsettling pandemic.”

The Actors Fund is actively processing applications to distribute aid. Those who wish to make donations can do so here.