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Aleshea Harris, Whitney White, and The Movement Theatre Company Launch Resilience

The team behind the critically acclaimed What to Send Up When it Goes Down—playwright Aleshea Harris, director Whitney White, and The Movement Theatre Company—have reunited to launch Resilience. Created in response to the current moment, the digital initiative consists of an online love letter drive, featuring messages of love, recognition, and solidarity to the Black community, and a short film titled soft light.

A meditation on the joys and challenges of Black remembrance, soft light is written and narrated by Harris, directed by White and produced by TMTC. The short film can be viewed above, and is freely available on YouTube.

“What I recall most vividly about the summer Trayvon Martin was killed was the desire to hold and be held by people who felt as I did,” says Harris. “The despair so many are experiencing now is reminiscent of that time, with its challenges to accessing community and the overwhelming images of Black death. My hope for this moment is that we’ll find ways to reach for one another across distance, that we’ll stand in the truth of our belonging and refuse to abandon joy.

READ: How The Movement Theatre Company Went From Grassroots Troupe to Off-Broadway Force

Soft light features Jozben Barrett, Keelay Gipson, Kenard Jackson, Andy Jean, Daniel Alexander Jones, Cheri L. Miller, Ashton Muñiz, Lynn Nottage, Shaina Lynn Simmons, John Sweet, and Kara Young. Collaborators include sound designer Sinan Zafar, editors Tarik Smith and Matthew Russell, and visual artist Byron McCray. Digital design is by Yu-Hsuan Chen.

Resilience also features an Instagram love letter campaign via the @loveletterstoblackpeople account, where audiences can view—and send—loving messages from far and wide. To contribute with a message, email whattosendup@gmail.com.

Harris’ website, bagofbeans.net/wtsu-resources also has resources related to communal healing and social justice.

SIX Musical Will Play Drive-In Style Across the U.K.

The SIX queens are ready to go live in consort once again—but with a socially distanced twist.

The internationally buzzy musical will return to U.K. stages this summer, becoming the first West End musical to do so since the coronavirus pandemic shut down theatres around the world. Of course, health precautions prohibit theatres from reopening and operating as they once did for now, so the show will play festival-style in open air sites, with audiences attending while being stationed in their own vehicles.

Utilita Live from the drive in
c/o Live Nation

The plan marks a collaboration with Utilita Live From the Drive-In, a program from Live Nation ensuring live performances can go on in some capacity in accordance with government guidance and restrictions. Audiences will drive their vehicles to designated spots, where they will be able to set up a socially distanced private area to watch.

Aside from the atypical seating arrangement, the Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss musical will otherwise be the same as it played with full production elements, including a live “Ladies in Waiting” band. Big screens will also project the performance throughout the playing arena.

The musical will play multiple performances in 12 open spaces across the country, with each venue equipped to accommodate about 300 vehicles (limit seven people per vehicle).

Tentatively and based on availability, the Arts Theatre cast will play Milton Keynes, Leeds, Teeside, Lincoln, Cheltenham, Newmarket, and Birmingham, with the U.K. tour cast taking the stage in Liverpool, Bolton, Bristol, Edinburgh, and London-area Northway Village.

“With the industry in crisis, theatres struggling, and some even going out of business, this drive-in event offers hope for the future, and equally importantly, jobs for about 50 of our company,” producer Kenny Was said, noting that rehearsals and travel will take place “in a bubble” and follow up-to-date protocol.

After originating in the U.K. at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2017, SIX, a pop-laden re-imaging of Henry VIII’s six wives, headed to London, going on to earn five Olivier Award nominations. The musical began previews on Broadway February 13, but was hours short of its official opening night March 12 before the New York shutdown brought all productions to a standstill, with the U.K. and other engagements around the world following suit shortly after.

Tickets for the drive-in presentations will go on sale July 3 at LiveNation.co.uk. See below for the full schedule.

August 4–9: Milton Keynes
The National Bowl, Watling St.

August 11–16: Liverpool
Central Docks, Liverpool Waters

August 11–16: Leeds
Leeds East Airport

August 18–23: Bolton
University of Bolton Stadium

August 18–23: Teeside
Teesside International Airport,

August 25–27: Lincoln
Lincolnshire Showground

August 29–30: Cheltenham
Cheltenham Racecourse

August 25–30: Bristol
Filton Airfield

September 1–6: Edinburgh
The Royal Highland Centre

September 1–3: Newmarket
Newmarket Racecourse

September 5–10: Birmingham
Resorts World Arena

September 8–12: London (Northaw)
Colesdale Farm

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Natalie Toro, Kennedy Kanagawa, Cheech Manohar, More Read Jonathan Harvey’s Beautiful Thing on Stars in the House

Stars in the House, the daily live streamed concert series created by Playbill correspondent and SiriusXM Broadway host Seth Rudetsky and producer James Wesley, presents a reading of Jonathan Harvey’s Beautiful Thing June 27 at 2 PM ET. Tony winner BD Wong (M. Butterfly) hosts.

The cast features Natalie Toro (A Tale of Two Cities), Kennedy Kanagawa (Dinner With Georgette), Cheech Manohar (Mean Girls), Kuhoo Verma (Octet), and Jason Veasey (The Lion King). Devanand Janki (Side Show) directs. Watch the stream above.

B.D. Wong Joseph Marzullo/WENN

The reading is the latest presentation of the Plays in the House spinoff series, which continues every Saturday and Wednesday at 2 PM until Broadway reopens. Director-writer Peter Flynn serves as the online reading coordinator for Plays in the House. The stream will be available for limited viewing following the live stream.

Money raised during the stream will go to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the leading nonprofit legal organization fighting to protect voting rights and equality for all.

Since March 16, Stars in the House has promoted support for The Actors Fund and its services in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

New shows—streaming Monday–Saturday at 8 PM ET with afternoon shows Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday at 2 PM—feature performances by stars of stage and screen, in conversation and song with Rudetsky and Wesley. Streaming direction is by Peter Flynn. Click here to watch previous episodes.

There is no 8 PM stream June 27.

To donate to the NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund, visit NAACPLDF.org. To make a tax-deductible donation to The Actors Fund visit ActorsFund.org/Donate.

Click Here for Playbill’s Theatre Coverage,
Resources, and More During
the Coronavirus Shutdown

What to Stream Pride Weekend: A Playbill Spectacular Concert, Zachary Quinto-Helmed The Boys in the Band Sequel, More

Pride Month 2020 culminates in a weekend of virtual programming, with the spectrum of events from the theatre community spanning online play readings, concerts, discussions, and more. Take a look at some of the June 26–28 offerings—including Playbill’s final three special events with Pride Plays—below.

These are just some of the virtual offerings this week. For more, check out Playbill’s Streaming Calendar, presented in partnership with Broadway Podcast Network. All times Eastern.

Friday, June 26

2 PM: The Sound of Music Live!
The YouTube channel The Shows Must Go On continues its slate of past NBC live musical broadcasts with a re-airing of the production that kicked off a wave of similar programming: 2013’s The Sound of Music Live!, starring Carrie Underwood, Audra McDonald, Laura Benanti, and more. The stream will be available for 48 hours.

7 PM: The Men From the Boys
Playbill’s next live stream reading with Pride Plays honors the late Mart Crowley with the sequel to his Tony-winning The Boys in the Band. Zachary Quinto directs a cast that includes Denis O’Hare, Rick Elice, Mario Cantone, Charlie Carver, Kevyn Morrow, and Telly Leung. The stream will be available for 72 hours.

Saturday, June 27

2 PM: Raúl Esparza and Samira Wiley in Tartuffe
Molière in the Park presents a free live stream of a reading of the classic comedy, as translated by Richard Wilbur. In addition to Tony nominee Esparza and Emmy winner Wiley, the cast includes Kaliswa Brewster, Neomi Lorrain, Jared McNeill, Jennifer Mudge, Rosemary Prinz, and Carter Redwood. Reserve tickets here; the performance will also stream at 7 PM.

2 PM: Global Goal Concert, Featuring Hamilton
The worldwide streaming event supporting Global Citizen will feature performances by Lin-Manuel Miranda and his original Hamilton co-stars, opera star J’Nai Bridges with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson, as well as appearances by Hugh Jackman, Kerry Washington, and Billy Porter.

5 PM: New York City Opera’s Virtual Pride Celebration
Cast members from NYCO’s recent productions of Angels in America, Brokeback Mountain, and Stonewall will reunite virtually to discuss LGBTQ+ representation on opera stages and in opera libretti. Watch on Facebook Live or Instagram.

7 PM: Masculinity Max
Playbill’s Pride Plays reading series concludes with MJ Kaufman’s play, follows a trans man navigating his relationships with family, roommates, dates, and more after affirming his gender identity. Will Davis directs a cast that includes Ty Defoe, Theo Germain, David Greenspan, Judy Gold, Jason Butler Harner, Esco Jouley, Francis Jue, Matt Maher, Avi Roque, Aneesh Sheth, Kelli Simpkins, Zo Tipp, and Vishal Vaidya. The stream will be available for 72 hours.

Sunday, June 28

7 PM: The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me
A one-night-only presentation of the play, written by Provincetown Theater Artistic Director David Drake, will benefit the Massachusetts venue. The stream captures the 2013 performance at the Gerard W. Lynch Theater, which benefited Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and featured Drake himself, Robin de Jesús, André De Shields, Claybourne Elder, Rory O’Malley, Anthony Rapp, BD Wong, and more.

8 PM: Playbill Pride Spectacular
In lieu of a parade, celebrate Pride Sunday with Playbill with a concert event featuring Michael R. Jackson, John Cameron Mitchell, Harvey Fierstein, Jenn Colella, Matt Gould and Griffin Matthews, Mj Rodriguez, L Morgan Lee, and more. The one-night-only special will benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

More Streaming Options

  • On the docket in the Metropolitan Opera’s Nightly Met Streams series: L’Elisir d’Amore starring Kathleen Battle and Luciano Pavarotti (Friday), Joyce DiDonato in Cendrillon (Saturday), and Julie Taymor’s production of Die Zauberflöte (Sunday).
  • Among the several online dance classes taking place this weekend are Tiler Peck’s Turn It Out series on Broadway on Demand, sessions for various levels of expertise through Smuin Contemporary Ballet, and a Cha Cha session with Razcan Stoian of Battery Dance.
  • Get a triple dose of Seth Rudetsky: Stars in the House presents a star-studded special Free to Be…You and Me Friday night and returns Saturday, and Rudetsky’s Seth Concert Series, featuring guest Lea Salonga, streams Sunday at both 9 AM and 8 PM.