I came away from this show with some interesting thoughts:
- There is so much fabulous talent on Broadway.
- I can’t wait to go back to Broadway and see some live Broadway shows.
- So many times I said to myself, “Clay Aiken would really shine in this role.”
- I am in awe that Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids works so hard for so many people.
When, during the broadcast, it was announced that the cast of Memphis was going to perform, I listened carefully. When the show told of the over 1,000 students who had the opportunity to attend their first Broadway show, I got emotional. And then I heard that BC/EFA was one of the sponsors for this exciting experience. I was excited and proud that so many Clay Aiken fans support this amazing organization.
After the broadcast was over, I wanted to find out more about this interesting project. I found the following article about the project. Please read the following from The Kansas City Starlight Theater Blog.
World-renowned watchmaker Audemars Piguet partnered with Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS (BC/EFA) and the Tony Awards, to host 1,100 New York City students at their very first Broadway show. Through “Inspire Change,” an initiative launched by the producers of Memphis, students from public schools and AIDS Service organizations throughout the 5 boroughs of Manhattan enjoyed this special performance of Memphis in addition to in-school workshops and a “talk-back” with the cast and producers of the show and representatives from the Tony Awards.
At the end of the performance, all 1,100 students surprised the cast by jumping to their feet to join in for the show’s finale, “Steal Your Rock and Roll.” The students, who had been practicing both the lyrics and choreography for weeks, took to the aisles and stage to join the excited cast members for the song.
François-Henry Bennahmias, President & CEO of Audemars Piguet North America, says, “After two incredibly successful years partnering with the Tony Awards, this year we are excited to make a direct impact in our community. Audemars Piguet is proud to offer 1,100 students their first Broadway experience, as part of our commitment to New York City’s theater community, the Tonys and Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. Music has touched my life and I hope that this special experience will foster a lifelong love of music among these students, too.”
“The cast flipped out when they saw the whole audience stand up and dance!” says Sue Frost, producer of Memphis, “It was absolutely incredible, I wish it could happen every night! We’re so grateful to Audemars Piguet, BC/EFA and the Tony Awards for joining Memphis in our effort to inspire change.”
“Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS is grateful to Audemars Piguet and the Tony Awards for the opportunity to work with the producers of MEMPHIS and “Inspire Change” on such a special day for so many in underserved public schools and social service agencies across New York City,” said Tom Viola, BC/EFA’s executive director. “The stories of personal courage in MEMPHIS reflect the challenges these kids face each day. To see their lives portrayed on stage creates self-esteem that encourages young people to make healthy choices outside the classroom.”
“We would like to thank our partners, Audemars Piguet and Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS for giving these amazing students such a spectacular opportunity, and for helping to create a moment of Broadway history,” said Charlotte St. Martin, executive director for The Broadway League & Howard Sherman, executive director of the American Theatre Wing – the two organizations who present the Tony Awards.
Audemars Piguet will continue their support of Broadway through their third annual sponsorship of the red carpet at the 65th Annual Tony Awards, which will be broadcast in a live three-hour ceremony from the Beacon Theatre in New York City, on the CBS television network on Sunday, June 12, 2011.
Did you watch The Tony’s on TV? What did you think?