A star-studded lineup of award-winning performers brought down the house Monday night at Broadway Stands Up for Freedom – the New York Civil Liberties Union’s annual benefit concert.
“We definitely set a record this year for show-stopping numbers,” NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman said. “Every year, Broadway stars share their time and talent to celebrate the vital link between the arts and civil liberties. We deeply appreciate their generosity and support.”
Proceeds from the show, held at NYU Skirball Center for Performing Arts, will benefit the NYCLU’s youth programs, including its work with LGBT teenagers; its Teen Health Initiative, which educates teenagers on their rights to access health care in New York City; and its work to stop overly aggressive policing and military recruiting in the city’s public schools.
Dozens of Broadway’s finest graced the stage – including renowned playwright and director Moisés Kaufman, Tony-winner Nikki M. James of The Book of Mormon, Tony-winner Beth Leavel of Baby It’s You,, Nellie McKay (I Want to Live!), Daphne Rubin-Vega (Rent), Erich Bergen (Jersey Boys), John Tartaglia (Avenue Q), Gavin Creel (Hair), Christina Sajous (American Idiot), Lindsay Mendez (Everyday Rapture), Celia Keenan-Bolger (Spelling Bee), Carly Rose Sonenclar (Wonderland) and founding performer Liana Stampur with Clinton Curtis.
Seth Rudetsky, host and musical director, guided the show with a light touch and quick wit. Daniel Goldstein, who will direct the upcoming Broadway revival of Godspell, directed.
Ms. James and Gbenga Akinnagbe (The Wire) recited winning entries from the NYCLU’s annual Freedom of Expression contest, which invited young people in New York City to lend their voices and creativity to the struggle for social justice.
The annual contest, funded by a grant from the Shelley and Donald Rubin Foundation, asks youth to explore a topic relevant to their lives and related to civil rights and liberties. This year, young people were invited to reflect and comment on justice in America – in school, on the street and in society at large. The awards were presented to contest winners at Monday’s show.
Also during the show, Assembly Member Daniel O'Donnell thanked the NYCLU for its tireless and effective advocacy of the Marriage Equality Act -- the new law giving gay and lesbian couples the freedom to marry in New York State. O''Donnell, who sponsored the Marriage Equality Act, presented Donna Lieberman with one of the pens that Gov. Andrew Cuomo used to sign the bill into law.