On Friday, October 15 and Monday, October 18, more than 60 actors, writers, directors and notable members of the Broadway community were filmed sharing their personal and often painful stories to provide hope and inspiration to LGBTQ youth across America. The video created from these sessions is part of the It Gets Better Project, which was founded by noted syndicated columnist Dan Savage in response to LGBTQ teenagers who in recent months have taken their own lives after being bullied in school. The project is a video archive where people can share their stories of overcoming bullying and finding happiness and letting young people know “It Gets Better.”
The video is a joint venture between BC/EFA, Broadway.com and Broadway Impact and was created by [title of show]’s Susan Blackwell and Hunter Bell and Matt Vogel (Little Shop of Horrors) who in a joint statement said:
“Our intent with this video is to provide young people with a message of hope and support, and to encourage adults to not only support these organizations financially, but to consistently set an example by teaching acceptance, kindness and respect and intervening when homophobia, bigotry and bullying occurs. We are proud to stand up with the Broadway community, who has once again demonstrated that when there is a crisis, it will show up and channel its voice, creative energy and money toward positive change and inspiring activism.”
BC/EFA has made a $25,000 donation in the name of the Broadway community to The Trevor Project, the leading national organization focused on crisis and suicide prevention efforts among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth.
“I am privileged to stand side by side with a community of people who are as extraordinarily generous and compassionate as they are talented. On behalf of all who participated in this project and so many more across our community who stand with them in solidarity, I encourage others to join us in supporting The Trevor Project to make sure someone will always be on the other end of the line when a kid calls,” said BC/EFA’s executive director Tom Viola.
“We must remember that words have meaning and can create a hostile environment for any young person who feels different for any reason from what is taken for ‘normal’ or ‘good.’ As adults for whom ‘it has gotten better,’ we must find the courage to stand up to the preachers, politicians and parents whose harsh and shaming words leave any child feeling unloved and alone, as we support those who can reach out and comfort them at the other end of the line.”
The video features (in alphabetical order): George Akram (West Side Story), Local 1 production carpenter Jack Anderson,Bryan Batt (“Mad Men”), Hunter Bell ([title of show]), Susan Blackwell ([title of show]), Heidi Blickenstaff ([title of show]), publicist Chris Boneau, production manager Kevin Broomell, Danny Burstein (Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown), Charles Busch (The Divine Sister), Kevin Chamberlain (The Addams Family), Tony Chiroldes (In The Heights), John Ellison Conlee (The Constant Wife), actor Josh Cruz, Wilson Cruz (“My So Called Life”), Robin De Jesus(La Cage Aux Folles), Colman Domingo (The Scottsboro Boys), Saidah Arrika Ekulona (Ruined), Joanna Gleason (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels), Judy Gold (Love, Loss, and What I Wore), producer Robyn Goodman, Ann Harada (Avenue Q), director Richard Jay-Alexander, Cherry Jones (Mrs. Warren’s Profession), director/playwright Moisés Kaufman, Zoe Kazan (Angels in America), Celia Keenan-Bolger (The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee), producer Thomas Kirdahy, Nathan Lane (The Addams Family), composer Andrew Lippa, Jose Llana (The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee), designer Anna Louizos, Melissa Rae Mahon (Chicago), Tyler Maynard (Altar Boyz), Audra McDonald(“Private Practice”), Michael McElroy (Big River), playwright Terrence McNally, Ray Mercer (The Lion King), Lin-Manuel Miranda (In The Heights), director/choreographer Jerry Mitchell, Julia Murney (Wicked), Denis O’Hare (Elling), Broadway Impact’s Rory O’Malley, Karen Olivo (West Side Story), Sarah Paulson (Collected Stories), Corrie Pond (The Phantom Tollbooth), Billy Porter (Angels in America), Anika Noni Rose (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof), Broadway personality Seth Rudetsky, Thomas Sadoski (Reasons To Be Pretty), Luis Salgado (Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown), Chris Sarandon (The Light in the Piazza), producer Thomas Schumacher, composer/lyricist Marc Shaiman, Christopher Sieber(Shrek The Musical), J. Robert Spencer (Next to Normal), musical director Leslie Stifelman, Jason Tam (A Chorus Line),John Tartaglia (John Tartaglia’s ImaginOcean), playwright Lucy Thurber, Alexandria Wailes (Big River), director/lyricistScott Wittman, and Garrett Matthew Zuercher (Big River).
Also on hand to share his story was BC/EFA Producing Director Michael Graziano who said, “It has been completely gratifying to see people come together with such passion and commitment to share their stories and lend their voices to this important message. It also meant a lot to hear from dozens of others who wanted to participate but weren’t in town. Susan and Hunter, who showed extraordinary vision and leadership since they first mentioned this project weeks ago, are always smart, creative and fun to work with. They, along with co-creator Matt Vogel, put in countless hours filming and going through footage to edit together. It all came straight from the heart which I think shows in the final piece.”
Broadway’s “It Gets Better” video was created by Susan Blackwell, Hunter Bell, and Matt Vogel in partnership with BC/EFA (Tom Viola, Michael Graziano), Broadway.com (Paul Wontorek), and Broadway Impact (Rory O’Malley, Jenny Kanelos).
For anyone in crisis or needing assistance:
The Trevor Project’s Trevor Lifeline: 866-4-U-TREVOR (866-488-7386)
Toll free, confidential and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Other “Broadway It Gets Better” Videos
- It Gets Better Broadway Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/ItGetsBetterBroadway#p/f
- Chicago on Broadway: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f0D5nNIM5H4
- Rock of Ages on Broadway: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LDXDDL0C7sU
- Wicked on Broadway: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_0uN6Ghjp48
- Memphison Broadway: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5xft1-rblgc
- Wicked 1st National Tour http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9dsKDtWbqig&feature=related
- Shrek the Musical 1st National: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hME-RVUPRyo
- Priscilla Queen of the Desert: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KAgufQSRVcI
- Jersey Boys National Tour: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tQof1sUsLUc