Lin-Manuel Miranda Among 300 BIPOC Artists to Sign Open Letter Demanding Change from the “White American Theater”

Lin-Manuel Mirandais addressing the “White American Theater.”

As protests and rallies against racial injustice and the killing of black lives continue throughout the world, the 40-year-old Puerto Rican composer, lyricist, singer, rapper, actor, producer, and playwright is bringing the theater world into the spotlight, to address systemic racism against black, indigenous and people of color (BIPOC).

Lin-Manuel Miranda 

An open letter addressed to “White American Theater” and demanding change was published earlier this week. 

The letter was filled with ugly truths that those who’ve worked in the theater industry have experienced for decades. 

Among the 300 BIPOCs who signed the letter were Miranda,Viola DavisSandra OhUzo AdubaSterling K. BrownCynthia ErivoYahya Abdul-Mateen IIDanai GuriraAndre HollandConrad RicamoraTanya SarachoAnika Noni RoseJessica HagedornLeslie Odom Jr.,Katori Halland others.

The letter bluntly calls out the industry: “We see you. We have always seen you. We have watched you pretend not to see us.”

“We have watched you exploit us, shame us, diminish us, and exclude us. We see you. We have always seen you. And now you will see us.”

It continues to drag theater’s history of tokenism, white privilege, patriarchy, blatant racism, bias and hypocrisy: “We have watched you amplify our voices when we are heralded by the press, but refuse to defend our aesthetic when we are not, allowing our livelihoods to be destroyed by a monolithic and racist culture.”

“Join us in demanding change for BIPOC theater artists at http://weseeyouWAT.com. #WeSeeYou #TomorrowTherellBeMoreOfUs,” Miranda tweeted, sharing the letter and a petition with everyone.

The open letter comes as the protests following the killing of George Floyd and other black lives continue around the globe. It also comes when there seems to be a reckoning in all industries when it comes to racial inequality. 

Jimmy Smits Taking Part in PBS’ Virtual “National Memorial Day Concert”

Jimmy Smits is honoring the military personnel who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces in a special way…

The 64-year-old half-Puerto Rican actor will be taking part in the National Memorial Day Concert.

Jimmy Smits

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, this year’s show will be a virtual concert. But creators hope it takes on a special resonance.

“These important rituals and holidays have a whole meaning for all of this time too,” said executive producer Michael Colbert. “We are certainly completely focused on what Memorial Day is, but I feel like at this time it is touching so many of us today.”

The National Memorial Day Concert willair on PBS on Sunday at 8:00 pm ET. The 90-minute show honors members of the military and veterans with performances and personal stories, it’s is a 31-year tradition.

Joe Mantegna and Gary Sinise are returning to host the event, with a line up that includes former Secretary of State Colin PowellCynthia ErivoRenée FlemingTrace Adkins, CeCe WinansKelli O’HaraMary McCormack, Christopher Jackson and the National Symphony Orchestra conducted by Jack Everly, as well as General Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The broadcast will also feature performances from previous concerts, including those by Sam ElliottLaurence Fishburne and Esai Morales.

Colbert believes that the concert, which has honored sacrifices made in wars of the past, sends an important message for what the country is going through today. The event also will spotlight those who have been on the front lines of the coronavirus crisis, including first responders, doctors, nurses, grocery clerks, truck drivers and postal workers.

“We just felt that, to have that focus on what we have already gone through, will bring a real connection to people to what is going on today, to show that we are going to get through this,” he said.

Also woven throughout the show will be messages from entertainers and other artists directed at members of the military, veterans and front-line workers. The list includes Chris EvansGeorge Clooney, Gwyneth PaltrowJulianne MooreJimmy KimmelMark Wahlberg and Smits. 

The National Memorial Day Concert also will air on the American Forces Network, and will be streamed on YouTube and Facebook, as well as PBS.org. It also will be available on demand.

Here’s the list of performers with taped messages: Anthony RamosBlair UnderwoodBrian TeeChely WrightChris EvansCourteney CoxDenis LearyDule HillGeorge ClooneyGraham GreeneGwyneth PaltrowJaina Lee OrtizJennifer GarnerJimmy KimmelJimmy SmitsJon HammJulianne MooreLindsey VonnLisa KudrowMarcia Gay HardenMark WahlbergMilo VentimiglioNoah WylieRita MorenoS. Epatha MerkersonSteven WeberSugar Ray LeonardVanessa Williams.

Also participating in new and some past selected performances are members from the U.S. Army Herald TrumpetsThe U.S. Army Chorus, the U.S. Army Voices and Downrange, the Soldiers’ Chorus of the U.S. Army Field Band, the U.S. Navy Band Sea Chanters, the U.S. Air Force Singing Sergeants and Service Color Teams provided by the Military District of Washington, D.C.

Lin-Manuel Miranda to Perform at This Year’s Tony Awards

Lin-Manuel Miranda is making his triumphant return to the Tony Awards

The 37-year-old Puerto Rican composer, playwright, actor and singer will perform on Sunday’s Tonycast, almost one year after his hit Broadway musical Hamilton swept the awards.

Lin-Manuel Miranda

The casts of Bandstand, Come From Away, Dear Evan Hansen, Falsettos, Groundhog Day The Musical, Hello, Dolly!, Miss Saigon, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 and War Paint will perform during 71st Annual Tony Awards, which CBS will broadcast live from Radio City Music Hall from 8:00 to 11:00 PM.

There’s still no word on what Miranda will perform.

There will be additional performances by The Radio City Rockettes and Tony Award winners Cynthia Erivo (The Color Purple) and Leslie Odom Jr. (Hamilton).

There will be additional appearances by Scott Bakula, Sara Bareilles, Orlando Bloom, Rachel Bloom, Glenn Close, Stephen Colbert, Brian d’Arcy James, Cynthia Erivo, Tina Fey, Sutton Foster, Josh Gad, Whoopi Goldberg, Jonathan Groff, Mark Hamill, Taraji P. Henson, Christopher Jackson, Allison Janney, Scarlett Johansson, Anna Kendrick, Keegan-Michael Key, Nick Kroll, John Legend, John Lithgow, Patina Miller, John Mulaney, David Oyelowo, Chazz Palminteri, Sarah Paulson, Lea Salonga, Tom Sturridge, Tommy Tune, Olivia Wilde, and 2017 Tony nominees Sally Field, Josh Groban, Bette Midler and Ben Platt.

Although Midler will appear as a presenter in one of the acting categories, she is not scheduled to participate in the Hello, Dolly! segment, which will be led by co-star Hyde Pierce. The blockbuster production’s offer to present the title song, or another of Dolly’s show-stoppers, live via remote from the Shubert Theatre was declined by the Tony producers.

The ceremony will be hosted by Tony and Academy Award-winning actor Kevin Spacey.

The Tony Awards are presented by The Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing.

Maldonado & Her Pentatonix Groupmates to Salute the Bee Gees at Grammy Tribute

Kirsitie Maldonado will be experiencing disco fever…

The 24-year-old half-Mexican and part-Spanish American singer and her fellow Pentatonix members will be helping commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack next month.

Pentatonix

Maldonado’s a capella group will perform at Stayin’ Alive: A Grammy Salute to the Music of the Bee Gees, which will premiere April 16 on CBS.

The event, led by the Recording Academy, AEG Ehrlich Ventures and CBS, will focus on improving music life and culture through the Bee Gees‘ legacy, celebrating the members of the five-time Grammy-winning group and Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award recipients.

Barry Gibb, the Bee Gees’ co-founder and last surviving member, will make an appearance and perform classic hits from the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack.

In addition to Pentatonix, special tributes from musicians will include performances by Stevie Wonder, Keith Urban, John Legend, Nick Jonas, Tori Kelly, Celine Dion, Little Big Town, Thomas Rhett, Jason Derulo, Kelsea Ballerini, Andra Day, Ed Sheeran, DNCE and many more.

Other guest appearances to add to the lineup are John Travolta, Cynthia Erivo and Wilmer Valderrama.

Pentatonix, who earned a Grammy for their collaboration with country legend Dolly Parton on “Jolene,” recently released their cover of John Lennon’s “Imagine,” part of the group’s upcoming album.

Maldonado and the gang previously covered Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” performed a Star Wars-themed medley at the American Music Awards, and performed the Oak Ridge Boys’ “Elvira at the CMA Awards.

Rodriguez to Star in New Regency’s Heist Thriller “Widows”

Michelle Rodriguez is turning to a life of crime…

The 38-year-old Puerto Rican and Dominican-American actress has joined the cast of New Regency’s heist thriller Widows from British helmer Steve McQueen.

Michelle Rodriguez

Rodriguez will join Oscar-nominated actress Viola Davis, as well as Cynthia Erivo.

Gone Girl scribe Gillian Flynn co-wrote the script with McQueen, based on the 1983 British miniseries penned by Lynda LaPlante (Prime Suspect).

The story begins when four armed robbers are killed during a failed heist and their surviving widows join forces and resolve to pull off the next raid themselves.

Widows marks McQueen’s first feature since winning the Best Picture Oscar for 12 Years a Slave in 2014.

Rodriguez, who made a name for herself with roles in Universal Pictures’ hit Fast and Furious franchise, has starred in Avatar, Resident Evil and Resident Evil: Retribution. Her other credits include Girlfight, S.W.A.T. and Battle: Los Angeles.

Miranda to Perform at One-Night Only Broadway Show Benefiting Hillary Clinton’s Hillary Victory Fund

Lin-Manuel Miranda is stumping for Hillary Clinton

The 36-year-old Puerto Rican actor and Hamilton star/creator has joined the list of Broadway and Hollywood stars teaming up for a one-night only Broadway performance benefiting the Hillary Victory Fund.

Lin-Manuel Miranda

Miranda joins a lineup that includes Julia Roberts and Hugh Jackman, all appearing in support of Clinton.

The show, “Stronger Together,” features Chelsea Clinton as a special guest and Billy Crystal as host, appearing alongside familiar faces including Sarah Jessica Parker, Matthew Broderick, Emily Blunt, Anne Hathaway, Josh Groban, Angela Bassett, Neil Patrick Harris, Helen Mirren, Sienna Miller, Bernadette Peters, Cynthia Erivo, Renee Elise Goldsberry, Rebecca Naomi Jones, Sarah Jones, Andrea McArdle and Ayodele Casel.

Organizers of the evening promise new duets and collaborations.

Michael Mayer, the Spring Awakening and Hedwig and the Angry Inch director whose Off-Broadway production of Love, Love, Love is now running, will direct the production, with Diane Paulus on board as special consultant. John Guare serves as script consultant, with Seth Rudetsky as musical director.

The event is set for October 17 at the St. James Theater, the Jujamcyn-owned venue currently occupied by “Something Rotten!,” which is dark on Monday nights.

Tickets are on sale on the Hillary Clinton website.