A 90th anniversary benefit for the Library of the Performing Arts’ Billy Rose Theatre Division

Last week, it was announced that multiple Tony Award-winning actor and playwright Harvey Fierstein, the son of a librarian, donated $2.5 million to The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center, which will establish a new dedicated educational space in the building, named in his honor. The Harvey Fierstein Theatre Lab, for students and teachers from middle school through graduate school levels, will allow the Library to make new and innovative use of its extensive theater archives and collections by providing scholarly engagement, curricular and extracurricular experiences for students and teachers, and programming for lifelong learners.

Harvey Fierstein. Art by James McMullan.

In addition to his generous gift, the star has also named the Library for the Performing Arts a beneficiary of the Harvey Fierstein Trust, which will provide the iconic institution with additional support in the future. And, on the evening of Wednesday, June 23, beginning at 8 pm, as part of the virtual benefit I’m Still Here: A Celebration of the Billy Rose Theatre Division, he will help the Library celebrate that department’s 90th birthday.

The online pay-what-you-can fundraiser, honoring producer/director Harold Prince and playwright/director George C. Wolfe, will offer a rare opportunity to view never-before-seen clips from the Theatre on Film and Tape Archive (TOFT, now celebrating its 50th anniversary), interviews with Broadway legends and emerging creatives, and reconceived performances of classic musical theater show tunes, including Bring in ‘da Noise, Bring in ‘da Funk, In the Heights, The Mountaintop, Ragtime, The Seagull, Spamalot, and Sunset Boulevard. Funds raised by the event will allow the TOFT Archive to capture Broadway and Off-Broadway shows coming out of this historic pandemic shutdown, and to ensure that the Division’s vast collection of historic theatrical negatives are digitized before they erode.

Photo courtesy of The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.

Produced and conceived by Julie Boardman and Nolan Doran (with direction by Steve Broadnax, Sammi Cannold, Nick Corley, Ty Defoe, Lorin Latarro, Mia Walker, and Jason Michael Webb; choreography by Ayodele Casel, Lorin Latarro, Ray Mercer, and Travis Waldschmidt; music direction by Rachel Dean; new arrangements by Rachel Dean, Brian Usifer, and Annastasia Victory; and orchestrations by Brian Usifer), the show will feature archival performances by Angela Bassett, Craig Bierko, Christian Borle, Andrea Burns, Glenn Close, Tim Curry, Robin de Jesús, Christine Ebersole, Rupert Everett, Savion Glover, Marcia Gay Harden, Christopher Jackson, Samuel L. Jackson, Angela Lansbury, Rebecca Luker, Bette Midler, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Kelli O’Hara, Karen Olivo, Meryl Streep, Paulo Szot, and more.

There will also be new online performances and appearances by Troy Anthony, Annaleigh Ashford, Major Attaway, Alexander Bello, Laura Benanti, Malik Bilbrew, Susan Birkenhead, Shay Bland, Stephanie J. Block, Alex Brightman, Matthew Broderick, Jason Robert Brown, Krystal Joy Brown, David Burtka, Sammi Cannold, Ayodele Casel, Kirsten Childs, Antonio Cipriano, Victoria Clark, Max Clayton, Calvin L. Cooper, Trip Cullman, Taeler Elyse Cyrus, Quentin Earl Darrington, André De Shields, Frank DiLella, Derek Ege, Amina Faye, Harvey Fierstein, Leslie Donna Flesner, Chelsea P. Freeman, Savion Glover, Joel Grey, Ryan J. Haddad, James Harkness, Sheldon Harnick, Marcy Harriell, Mark Harris, Neil Patrick Harris, David Henry Hwang, Arica Jackson, Michael R. Jackson, Cassondra James, Marcus Paul James, Taylor Iman Jones, Maya Kazzaz, Tom Kirdahy, Leslie Kritzer, Michael John LaChiusa, Norman Lear, Baayork Lee, L. Morgan Lee, Robert Lee, Sondra Lee, Telly Leung, Priscilla Lopez, Ashley Loren, Allen René Louis, Brittney Mack, Morgan Marcell, Aaron Marcellus, Joan Marcus, Michael Mayer, Annie McGreevey, Sarah Meahl, Joanna Merlin, Ruthie Ann Miles, Bonnie Milligan, Rita Moreno, Madeline Myers, Pamela Myers, Leilani Patao, Nova Payton, Joel Perez, Bernadette Peters, Tonya Pinkins, Jacoby Pruitt, Sam Quinn, Phylicia Rashad, Jelani Remy, George Salazar, Marilyn Saunders, Marcus Scott, Rashidra Scott, Rona Siddiqui, Ahmad Simmons, Susan Stroman, Rebecca Taichman, Jeanine Tesori, Bobby Conte Thornton, Sergio Trujillo, Kei Tsuruharatani, Ben Vereen, Jack Viertel, Christopher Vo, Nik Walker, Marisha Wallace, Shannon Fiona Weir, Christopher Wheeldon, Helen Marla White, Natasha Yvette Williams, and Kumiko Yoshii.

I’m Still Here will stream exclusively on Broadway On Demand on Wednesday, June 23, at 8:00 pm. The virtual event is a benefit, with a suggested donation of $19.31 (the year that the Billy Rose Theatre Division was founded). An in-person viewing party for donors (at the $1000+ level) will start at 6:00 pm, at the Library for the Performing Arts in Lincoln Center, and will include a pre-screening wine and cheese reception and performance by Pulitzer Prize winner Michael R. Jackson (A Strange Loop) and Grammy and two-time Tony Award winner Duncan Sheik (Spring Awakening). For tickets, go online; to send a donation via check, email [email protected] or call (212) 930-0019.

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Deb Miller
Deb Miller (PhD, Art History) is the Senior Correspondent and Editor for New York City, where she grew up seeing every show on Broadway. She is an active member of the Outer Critics Circle and served for more than a decade as a Voter, Nominator, and Judge for the Barrymore Awards for Excellence in Theatre. Outside of her home base in NYC, she has written and lectured extensively on the arts and theater throughout the world (including her many years in Amsterdam, London, and Venice, and her extensive work and personal connections with Andy Warhol and his circle) and previously served as a lead writer for Stage Magazine, Phindie, and Central Voice.


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