NEW YORK CITY: Inspired by the cultural phenomenon Verzuz, the Broadway Advocacy Coalition will present the 2022 Broadway VS fundraising event on June 20. Hosted by Broadway alum Amber Iman, this year’s event will celebrate the careers of performers Norm Lewis and Joshua Henry, while raising funds to support BAC’s initiatives to support and empower artist activists.
The event will coincide with Juneteenth and serve as a space for Black Broadway to celebrate not just these two men, but also the many Black men who have led the way for so many others. The evening will honor the vital impact of Black culture on Broadway, featuring song selections from both artists’ extensive careers onstage and beyond, including music from Once on This Island, Carousel, The Little Mermaid, and more, as well as conversations between the two iconic Black Broadway stars.
“This year Broadway VS is honoring two Black men who have inspired and influenced the theatre community for years,” said director of industry initiatives Zhailon Levingston. “In that spirit, we want to use this event to intentionally bring together and lift up so many other Black men—too rarely given their own space to be celebrated—to honor our historic and invaluable presence onstage, but also backstage, front of house, in school, and across all theatrical departments, while continuing to push the need for broader celebration of all marginalized communities.”
Added BAC president Britton Smith in a statement: “My mom told me very young, probably by the age of 7, ‘Son, you’re Black, you’re male, you’re large, and you will have to work twice as hard, because this country is afraid of what you might become,’ and she was right. Celebrating Norm Lewis and Joshua Henry is bigger than celebrating their notable accomplishments in the theatre. We’re celebrating the prayers, the wisdom, and the level resilience required to arrive where they have as Black men in America. My hope is that Broadway VS 2022 adds a bit of fuel to their journey as they both have many years ahead to continue offering each of us something to be inspired by.”
Lewis is an Emmy, Grammy, Tony, and SAG Award nominee. He recently starred in Spike Lee’s critically
acclaimed Da 5 Bloods and in the groundbreaking FX series Pose. He was also seen as Caiaphas in the award-winning NBC television special Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert! Lewis returned to Broadway in fall 2021, starring in Chicken and Biscuits. Other credits include the Broadway revival of Once on This Island, the Off-Broadway production of Sweeney Todd, The Phantom of the Opera, Porgy & Bess, Sondheim on Sondheim, The Little Mermaid, Les Misérables, Chicago, Amour, The Wild Party, Side Show, Miss Saigon, and The Who’s Tommy. He is a proud founding member of Black Theatre United, an organization formed to help protect Black people, Black talent, and Black lives of all shapes and orientations in theatre and communities across the country.
Joshua Henry is a Canadian American actor of stage and screen who can currently be seen starring opposite Jason Mamoa in See on Apple TV. Most recently, Joshua appeared on Broadway in Waitress. Other credits include The Wrong Man at MCC Theatre and on Broadway in Carousel, Hamilton, Shuffle Along, Violet, The Scottsboro Boys, Porgy & Bess, and American Idiot. His debut album Grow is available on all music platforms.
The Broadway Advocacy Coalition is a multidisciplinary organization which unites artists, legal experts, and community leaders to create lasting impact on policy issues from criminal justice reform to education equity to immigration. The coalition was founded in 2016 by members of the Broadway community as a direct response to the nation’s pandemic of racism and police brutality. In 2021, BAC received a Special Tony Award for providing an unparalleled platform for marginalized members of the theatre community and tools to help the theatre industry move toward a more equitable future. Via its partnership with the Center for Institutional and Social Change at Columbia Law School, BAC has collaborated with institutions across New York City, including the New York City Council, Bronx Defenders, and the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office. As of 2019, the BAC had a budget of approximately $24,658.
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