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In addition to some of Broadway’s hottest rising talent, the evening will showcase the teenage winners of the NYCLU’s Freedom of Expression contest, which invites New York City public schools students to speak their minds on important civil liberties issues in their lives.
Broadway’s finest will be performing at this year's Broadway Stands Up for Freedom:
Daniel Goldstein and Peter Flynn, Directors
Lynn Shankel (Allegiance), Musical Director
SUSAN BLACKWELL (host) is on a mission to free people’s self-expression. She created and played a character based on herself in the original Broadway musical [title of show] and the Off Broadway musical NOW. HERE. THIS. She hosts the freewheeling chat show Side by Side by Susan Blackwell on Broadway.com. Her television credits include Netflix Presents the Characters, Master of None and SMASH. Her film credits include The Comedian, Margin Call and P.S.: I Love You. As the founder of Susan Blackwell & Co, she partners with artists and thought leaders to deliver inspiring entertainment and educational offerings aimed at freeing people’s creative self-expression.
WHITNEY BASHOR currently stars as Nora Joyce in the new musical Himself and Nora at the Minetta Lane Theatre. She received a Clarence Derwent Award for her role in The Bridges of Madison County on Broadway. Her regional credits include Beaches, Fly By Night, Light in the Piazza, Unsinkable Molly Brown, Diner, To the Lighthouse and Edges. Her television and film credits include Boardwalk Empire, Love Monkey, All My Children and Off the Black.
ERICH BERGEN currently stars as Blake Moran on the hit CBS drama, Madam Secretary. He recently starred as Bob Gaudio in the Clint Eastwood film Jersey Boys, reprising his critically acclaimed performance from the National Tour and Las Vegas productions of the hit musical. He can be seen in the upcoming film Humor Me, scheduled to be released next year. His album Never Give Up is available on iTunes and Amazon. Erich is a founding member of Broadway Stands Up For Freedom.
CHRISTINA BIANCO has become a worldwide YouTube sensation. Her impression videos have gained over 23 million views, leading to major television appearances that include The Ellen Degeneres Show and The Today Show. Her Off Broadway credits include The Marvelous Wonderettes, Application Pending (Drama Desk Award Nomination), Newsical the Musical, Forbidden Broadway: Goes To Rehab (Drama Desk Award Nomination) and Forbidden Broadway: West End. Her television credits include POPTV’s sitcom Impress Me and Hallmark’s Signed, Sealed, Delivered. Christina frequently performs with major U.S. and Canadian symphonies. As a cabaret artist, she has performed across the US and abroad. This August Christina will launch her first U.K. concert tour.
THE BROOKLYN TECH LADY DRAGONS formed in the late 1990s and are the first step team from Brooklyn Technical High School. This diverse team of talented steppers was the subject of a Vice Sports documentary and a 2010 Webby nominated documentary Step Brooklyn, and they taught Rihanna how to step on MTV’s TRL. They have competed in Battle in the Apple, Break the Stage and Youth Step, and performed all over New York. They have been regional champions at Youth Step in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2016, and have consistently ranked among the top five high school step teams in the nation.
TODD BUONOPANE’s Broadway credits include Cinderella, Chicago, Grease and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Off Broadway, Todd has played a dog, a cow, a waiter and an improviser. Regionally, he’s appeared at the Signature Theater, Pasadena Playhouse, 5th Avenue Theater, Papermill Playhouse, Goodspeed Opera House, Barrington Stage and the Prince Music Theater. He also appeared in the U.S. tour of Godspell. His television and film credits include 30 Rock, Braindead, Grey’s Anatomy, The Black Donnellys, Law & Order: CI, The Break-Up Girl and Paragon School For Girls. He is the host of the new podcast Broadway Stories.
DEVIN TREY CAMPBELL is a 7 year old actor and dancer from New York City. He currently plays Young Lola in the Tony Award winning musical Kinky Boots on Broadway. He began his acting career in community theater at the age of 4 in shows such as Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid and Peter Pan. Devin is also passionate about dance and competes at the Regional and National level. He is very excited to be a part of Broadway Stands Up for Freedom 2016, and he dedicates this performance to his friends and family for their continued support.
CLINTON CURTIS is a singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, educator and passionate student of American musical heritage and history. In partnership with indie record label 27 Sound, he has released four acclaimed original studio albums. As the frontman of the Clinton Curtis Band, he has performed in 46 states and 10 countries. As a classical choral singer, in 2014 he performed with the Vienna Philharmonic and Franz Welser-Möst, the San Francisco Symphony with Michael Tilson Thomas, and the New York Philharmonic with Alan Gilbert. He made his Carnegie Hall debut in 2011 with the San Francisco Symphony.
CRYSTAL MONÉE HALL is a musician who fuses folk, gospel, regional blues and soul. After playing numerous roles in the Broadway and National Touring companies of the Tony Award-winning musical, RENT (2004-2009), she released her debut album River Train in 2012. She followed this with the EP Three Days in Nashville in 2013, and will soon release an as-yet untitled EP. Hall is also the front woman for the Mickey Hart Band, led by Grateful Dead drumming legend Mickey Hart. She is thrilled to join the NYCLU for this celebration of freedom.
ALEX GRUBBS is a member of the folk band The Lobbyists, which was recently nominated for a Drama Desk Award for their world premiere production of SeaWife. His New York theater credits include Kentucky (EST/P73), Utility (Rattlestick Playwrights Theater), Mary Kate Olsen is in Love, a cautionary tail, These Seven Sicknesses (The Flea), The 39 Steps, and Barefoot in the Park (Heritage Theater Festival). He has workshopped and read at The Civilians, New Georges, Joe's Pub, The Lark, Ma-Yi, EST, NYSF, Ars Nova, Cape Cod Theatre Project, 59E59, and Exit Pursued by a Bear.
CELISSE HENDERSON is a New York City based singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, actress and spoken word artist. She is also known for her work in the Broadway Revival of GODSPELL at Circle in The Square Theater and her work on The Electric Company. Her other television credits include 30 Rock, Rescue Me, The Big C, White Collar and Are We There Yet. Her other theater credits include Wicked (First National Tour, San Francisco), Bernstein’s Mass (Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center), In Transit (Drama Desk Award, Primary Stages).
JAYNE HOUDYSHELL's Broadway credits include The Humans, Fish in the Dark, Romeo and Juliet, Dead Accounts, Follies (Tony Nomination), The Importance of Being Earnest, Bye Bye Birdie, Wicked and Well (Tony Nomination). Her Off-Broadway credits include The Humans (Obie Award); Harrison, TX; Coraline; The Receptionist; The New Century and The Pain and the Itch. Jayne won an Obie and a Theatre World Award for Well’s original run at the Public Theatre, and won a 2013 Special Drama Desk Award for her versatile and distinctive Broadway and Off Broadway performances. Her film credits include Lucky Stiff, Everybody’s Fine and Trust the Man. Her television credits include American Odyssey, Elementary, Blue Bloods and Law and Order: SVU.
ANDREW KEENAN-BOLGER is an actor, director, author and filmmaker. He recently starred on Broadway as Jesse Tuck in Tuck Everlasting (Drama League Award nominee). He created the role of Crutchie in Newsies (Outer Critics Circle nominee). His Broadway credits include Mary Poppins, Seussical, Beauty and the Beast and A Christmas Carol. He appeared in the first national tours of Spelling Bee, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Mary Poppins and Ragtime. He is co-director of the short films The Ceiling Fan and Sign. He co-created the critically acclaimed web series Submissions Only, and is also co-author of the children’s series Jack & Louisa (Penguin Random House).
CELIA KEENAN-BOLGER is participating for her eighth year in Broadway Stands Up For Freedom. Her Broadway credits include Glass Menagerie (Tony Award Nomination, Dorothy Loudon Award, Drama Desk Award), Peter And The Starcatcher, (Tony Award nomination, Drama Desk Award nomination, Drama League nomination) Les Miserables (Drama Desk Award nomination) and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Tony Award nomination, Drama Desk Award for Best Ensemble, Theatre World Award). Her Off Broadway credits include The Oldest Boy (Lincoln Center Theater), Merrily We Roll Along (City Center Encores), A Small Fire (Playwrights Horizons), Bachelorette (2econd Stage), Saved (Playwrights Horizons), Juno (City Center Encores) and Little Fish (Second Stage). Celia graduated from the University of Michigan.
KRISTOLYN LLOYD's stage credits include Dear Evan Hansen, Invisible Thread (Second Stage Theatre), Cabin in the Sky (Encores City Center), Paradise Blue (Williamstown), The Liquid Plain (Signature Theatre), Heathers the Musical (New World Stages, The Hudson), Witness Uganda (A.R.T.), Hairspray, Rent (Hollywood Bowl) and Once on this Island (Reprise Theatre). Her television credits include ER and Lie to Me. Kristolyn is a two-time NAACP Image Award nominee for her role as Dayzee Leigh Forrester on the CBS day-time show, The Bold and the Beautiful.
GRACE MCLEAN makes her Broadway debut this fall in Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812. Her theater credits include Brooklynite (The Vineyard), Sleep No More, Bedbugs!!!, The World is Round (BAM), La MaMa Cantata, The Last Goodbye (Wild Project and WTF 2010) and Twelve Ophelias (Woodshed Collective). As Grace McLean and Them Apples, she performed in both the 2015 and 2016 seasons of Lincoln Center's American Songbook, and traveled to Pakistan last year on a tour sponsored by the U.S. State Department.
RAY MERCER is in his 14th year as a member of the Tony Award-winning cast of Disney’s The Lion King. His visually striking and thought-provoking choreography has won best onstage presence seven times at Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS’ Gypsy of the Year competition. Mercer is the resident choreographer for the Ailey/Fordham Bachelor of Fine Arts program, and directed and choreographed for the Smithsonian Oman Project. Mercer and his work have been recognized by The New York Times, Chicago Sun-Times, Dance Magazine and Movmnt Magazine.
BENJ PASEK and collaborator Justin Paul are the songwriting team behind the Broadway musicals Dear Evan Hansen (Obie Award, Drama Desk Award, Outer Critics Circle Award, Helen Hayes Award, Drama League nomination), A Christmas Story, The Musical (Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle nominations), Dogfight (Lucille Lortel Award, Drama League, Outer Critics Circle), James and The Giant Peach and Edges. His upcoming film projects include La La Land, Trolls, The Greatest Showman, Tom and Jerry Return to Oz and Medusa. He has received a Richard Rodgers Award for Musical Theatre, an ASCAP Richard Rodgers New Horizons Award and a Jonathan Larson Award.
BEN PLATT originated the title role in Dear Evan Hansen Off Broadway at Second Stage Theatre (Obie Award, Outer Critics Circle, Drama League nominations) and will reprise his performance on Broadway this fall. Platt was the original Elder Cunningham in the Chicago production of The Book of Mormon and reprised the role on Broadway. His film credits include, Pitch Perfect, Pitch Perfect 2, and Ricki and the Flash. His regional credits include Dear Evan Hansen (Arena Stage), The Black Suits (Barrington Stage Company), The Power of Duff (New York Stage and Film), Dead End (Ahmanson Theatre) and The Sound of Music (Hollywood Bowl).
ZACHARY PRINCE was last on Broadway in Honeymoon in Vegas. He has appeared in On a Clear Day You Can See Forever and Baby It’s You, and toured North America in the First National Tour of Jersey Boys. Off Broadway, Zachary was in the revival of The Last Five Years at Second Stage Theatre. His world premieres include Triangle at Theatreworks, Silicon Valley (Best Actor, Theatre Bay Area Awards 2015) and Mann… and Wife at Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma. Prince has also performed as a guest artist with symphonies including the Cincinnati Pops, Sun Valley Summer Symphony, Carolina Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Omaha Symphony and Pittsburgh Symphony.
JENNIFER SIMARD is a 2016 Tony Award nominee and 2016 Drama League nominee for her role as Sr. Mary Downy in Disaster! She has also been nominated for the Drama Desk four times, the Drama League twice and once for a Lucille Lortel. She enjoys a career in television, film and theatre. Most recently, she guest starred on CBS’ The Good Wife in the episode entitled “Payback.”
LIANA STAMPUR is a teacher/singer/songwriter/ mom and the proud founder of the NYCLU's Broadway Stands Up For Freedom annual benefit concert. She holds a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Bank Street College of Education. She gives her special thanks to the Broadway Stands Up For Freedom organizing committee, and kudos to Donna Lieberman and all of the wonderful folks at the NYCLU who have used their voices to stand up for freedom.
ALEXANDRIA SUAREZ is a 15 year old actress who originated the role of Little Gloria in the Broadway musical On Your Feet. At six months of age, she did her first ad for Tylenol. She voices the role of Backpack and various other characters on Nickelodeon’s Dora the Explorer and Naiya on Dora and Friends. She starred with Tom Selleck and Donny Wahlberg on the pilot episode of Blue Bloods (CBS). She has appeared on episodes of Saturday Night Live and Law & Order, and various films and radio spots. She is thrilled and honored to be participating in Broadway Stands Up for Freedom.
LIESL TOMMY is an award-winning international theater director. Her world premieres include Eclipsed (Tony nomination, Lucille Lortel Award), The Good Negro, The Urban Retreat, Informed Consent, A Melancholy Play, Kid Victory, Party People, Appropriate, The White Man – A Complex Declaration of Love, Peggy Picket Sees the Face of God, A History of Light and Angela’s Mixtape. Her modern interpretations of classics include Les Miserables, Hamlet, A Raisin in the Sun, Piano Lesson, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, and a four-city tour of Ruined. She is the recipient of an Obie Award, Pioneer of the Arts Award, Lillian Hellman Award, Alan Schneider Award, Susan Stroman Award, and NEA/TCG Directors Grant.
*Performers are subject to change
SPECIAL THANKS TO OUR 2016 SPONSORS!
Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP
Lowenstein Sandler LLP
Barbara Whitman/Purple Plume Foundation