The 89-year-old Puerto Rican actress, dancer, and singer, a living Latina legend, will take part in PBS’ Wicked in Concertspecial.
Co-hosted by the Tony Award-winning musical’s original Broadway stars Kristin Chenoweth and Idina Menzel, the musical event will feature performances by Moreno, Mario Cantone, Gavin Creel, Ariana DeBose, Cynthia Erivo, Stephanie Hsu, Jennifer Nettles,Alex Newell, Isaac Powell, Amber Riley, Gabrielle Ruiz and Ali Stroker.
The starry line-up was announced by Nouveau Productions Executive Producer Robert Pullen. The concert special will air on Sunday, August 29 at 9:00 pm ET on PBS, PBS.org and the PBS Video App.
The concert, directed by Baayork Lee, is designed as a celebration of the return of Broadway following the 16-month COVID-19 pandemic shutdown.
This special will feature reimagined, never-before-heard Wicked musical arrangements created by music director and conductor Luke Frazier just for this broadcast, with performances filmed in multiple locations including Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and New York City.
Since opening on Broadway in 2003, Wicked, with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and a book by Winnie Holzman based on Gregory Maguire’s novel reimagining some characters from The Wizard of Oz, is the fifth longest-running show in Broadway history.
The musical has been seen by over 60 million people worldwide and has amassed over $5 billion in global sales.
Naya Rivera will be the focus of a special tribute at this year’s GLAAD Media Awards…
Gleecast members Jacob Artist, Chris Colfer, Darren Criss, Vanessa Lengies, Jane Lynch, Kevin McHale, Heather Morris, Matthew Morrison, Alex Newell, Amber Riley, Harry Shum Jr., Becca Tobin, and Jenna Ushkowitz will reunite at the virtual edition of the awards show on April 8 for a special tribute to the legacy of the Santana Lopez, the character portrayed by the late half-Puerto Rican actress/singer and Glee star, who drowned last July while on an outing with her son on California’s Lake Piru.
The tribute will honor the 10-year anniversary of Santana’s coming out as lesbian in the musical comedy. Glee is a GLAAD Media Award winning series and the reunion will spotlight Santana’s impact on LGBTQ teens and Latinx LGBTQ representation on television. Demi Lovato, who played Santana’s girlfriend on Glee, will introduce the special tribute.
The GLAAD Media Awards will be hosted by Niecy Nash and stream on YouTube on April 8 at 8:00 pm ET. The event will also stream on Hulu on April 8 starting at 10:00 pm ET, and will be available to stream on-demand on the streamer until the end of June.
Ariana DeBose is helping homeless and trafficked youth…
The 29-year-old half-Afro-Puerto Rican actress, singer and dancer, known for her work in musical theatre and on So You Think You Can Dance, will take part in a virtual concert event to benefit the Covenant House charity for homeless and trafficked youth.
DeBose joins a 50-plus roster of stars who’ll perform or appear for the May 18 fundraiser that includes Meryl Streep, Diane Keaton, Jon Bon Jovi, Rachel Brosnahan, Stephen Colbert, Martin Short, Dolly Parton, Dionne Warwick, Stephanie J. Block, Tony Shalhoub, Charlie Day, Chris O’Dowd, Zachary Leviand Zachary Quinto.
A Night of Covenant House Stars, to be held on Monday, May 18 at 8:00 pm ET on the Broadway on Demand streaming platform, will be co-hosted by six-time Tony Award-winner Audra McDonald and 60 Minutes orrespondent John Dickerson, both members of the Covenant House Board of Directors.
The event is designed to support Covenant House, the international, mostly privately funded charity providing housing, food and healthcare to children and youth facing homelessness, and the front-line staff working during the COVID-19crisis.
“This virus does not get the last word,” said Covenant House President & CEO Kevin Ryan. “This amazing group of stars uniting in love to help us care for kids is proof positive of that.”
Other stars slated to appear include Robin Thicke, Deborah Cox, Quentin Earl Darrington, Darius de Haas, Mary Elizabeth Ellis, Eden Espinosa, Jordan Fisher, Stephanie Hsu,Randy Jackson, Capathia Jenkins, Jeremy Jordan, Ramona Keller, Alex Newell, Karen Olivo, Dawn O’Porter, Laura Osnes, Benj Pasek, Jodi Picoult, Shereen Pimentel, Andrew Rannells, Keala Settle, Jake David Smith, Will Swenson, Bobby Conte Thornton, Ana Villafane, Frank Wildhorn, and the Broadway Inspirational Voices choir.
Event proceeds will benefit Covenant House’s work across 31 cities, in six countries.
The May 18 fundraiser will mark the launch of the Broadway on Demand platform (the company had previously announced a May 17 program). Viewers can watch the Covenant House event free of charge.
In addition to Broadway on Demand, A Night of Covenant House Starscan be streamed on iHeartRadio Broadway, Facebook, Twitch, YouTube, and Stars in the House.
Selena Gomez is lending her hands to help the victims of the Orlando Shooting.
The 23-year-old half-Mexican American singer/actress is among 24 artists featured on a new recording to raise money for the victims of the Pulse nightclub massacre.
The all-star release, entitled “Hands” — a charity single from Interscope Records with support from GLAAD — was conceived by hit songwriter Justin Tranter, co-writer of Justin Bieber’s “Sorry” and hits for Gomez, DNCE, Fall Out Boy and Gwen Stefani.
The June 12 shooting at the gay nightclub in Orlando, which killed 49 people and injured 53, is the most deadly mass shooting in American history and the deadliest act of violence against the LGBT community.
Funds from the song will aid families with medical care, counseling and will also be used for education.
“Like the rest of the world I woke up to the news that morning and was horrified and sad and scared,” says Tranter, who has raised money and awareness for LGBT causes since coming out at age 14.
“Hands” is available on iTunes.
Proceeds will be distributed by Equality Florida Pulse Victims Fund, the GLBT Community Center of Central Florida and GLAAD.
The idea for the all-star project came together one day after the shooting.
L.A.-based Tranter and songwriting partner Julia Michaels had been on the road with Gomez writing songs aboard her tour bus in Miami the weekend of June 11 when news of the bloodshed prompted Tranter to switch course. That afternoon he signed on as a volunteer at The Center Orlando, the region’s chief LGBT community center.
“I called them and said, ‘If I fly up is there something for me to help with?'” he tells Billboard. “They say, ‘We need as many hands as we can possibly get.'”
“Hands” took hold the next day when Tranter met GLAAD CEO Sarah Kate Ellis who had arrived at the center from New York.
Beyond their immediate efforts — distributing food and water and GLAAD’s work with media — both were looking to make contributions that would have ongoing benefits. They point out that the massacre was also a profound attack on people of color, as that Saturday evening had been a popular “Latin Night” at Pulse. Most of the victims were of Latin heritage and Ellis says she does not want that point forgotten.
“When you hear the song it talks about hate being the driver here,” she says, “and that’s important because we have to be able to identify what’s driving these cruel acts in order to stop them. Artists using their platforms to accelerate acceptance is very powerful.”
Aligning with Interscope for the release, Tranter, GLAAD and Interscope president of A&R Aaron Bay-Schuck put the word out that a fundraiser was in the works. Within days artists from all spheres of the business had lined up — also among them Halsey, Ty Herndon, Dan Reynolds of Imagine Dragons, Adam Lambert, The Trans Chorus of Los Angeles, MNEK, Alex Newell, Mary Lambert, Prince Royce, Jussie Smollett, Nate Ruess and RuPaul — all recording separately from their homes, local studios, touring locations or wherever they happened to be at that moment.
“We assigned everybody what we thought would be the best part for their voice,” Tranter says, “and we asked them all to sing an additional part, just in case. But everybody got it done in time so we ended up with extra vocals.”
In Los Angeles “Interscope let us use their studio,” he notes. “Mary J. Blige recorded in New Orleans. Britney Spears in Thousand Oaks, I think. Pink in Santa Barbara. MNEK recorded at home in London. Selena recorded in her studio bus. Dan Reynolds recorded in his home. Adam Lambert was in Luxembourg. Ty Herndon the country star was in Spain. Kacey Musgraves, Nashville. Everyone just got it done.”
Another goal of the record, according to GLAAD, is to fund educational programs.
“This was an American guy who was born in Queens,” Ellis says of the gunman, Omar Mateen, 29, who was killed by police after a three hour stand-off. “He learned that hate here in America. This happened on American soil, against a particular community.”
While politicians and lobbyists have focused in recent weeks on Islamic terror and familiar narratives about gun ownership, Ellis, Tranter and others in the LGBT community want people to remember that this was a hate crime.
“I’m not educated enough to speak on the political details,” Tranter says. I’m a songwriter, not a politician. It could have been a million things but clearly, 100 percent, this was an attack on the LGBT community and people of color.”
“Hands” grew out of an unfinished piece that Tranter, Michaels and co-writer and producer BloodPop (formerly known as Blood Diamonds) had been working on and then shelved.
“The song didn’t ever finish itself and it didn’t ever feel right,” Tranter says of their initial efforts. “Now we know why.”
Mark Ronson also co-produced, while vocal engineer Benjamin Rice finessed the disparate tracks: “He helped us find the structure and make sense of it all.”
Warner/Chappell publishing executive Katie Vinten brought in numerous artists, among them P!nk, whom Tranter calls “a lifesaver,” adding, “Her vocal on the chorus is like from heaven directly.”
Spears opens the song with the plaintive line, “Can hold a gun or a hold a heart.” RuPaul is heard quietly toward the end, saying “take my hand baby.”
The songwriters had no specific plan as they entered the studio — only that they didn’t want the piece “to ever sound dated.”
“We didn’t want to have any trendy electronic elements,” Tranter notes. “We wanted it to sound classic, timeless and human. We want this anthem of positivity to be played for years to come.”
Lea Michele is in a New York state of mind in the first trailer for Glee’s fourth season…
The first trailer for the upcoming season of Fox’s musical dramedy has been released, complete with a Hollywood superstar in her Glee debut.
The new season will see Michele’s character Rachel head to NYADA, where she’ll soon discover that training under Kate Hudson’s character may not be as easy as being one of the stars of New Directions back in high school.
Back at Rachel’s alma mater, the glee club will be welcoming a new member… returning The Glee Project alum Alex Newell, who is hilariously mistaken for a recent graduate.
Glee returns Thursday, September13 at 9:00 pm ET on Fox.
Her character may have graduated in the season finale… But you haven’t seen the last of Glee’s Naya Rivera.
The 25-year-old half-Puerto Rican singer/actress will be making a debut appearance as a mentor on the second season of The Glee Project.
The Oxygen reality competition series, which saw four of its freshman season contestants appear on the third season of Fox’s musical, will welcome Rivera in its fourth episode on June 26, according to The Hollywood Reporter, which will see the contestants exploring the theme of “Sexuality.”
Season 1 guest mentors included Jenna Ushkowitz, Darren Criss, Dot Marie Jones, Kevin McHale and Harry Shum Jr., among others. Four contestants — Samuel Larsen, Damian McGinty, Alex Newell and Lindsay Pearce — from The Glee Project‘s first season scored multi-episode arcs on Glee.
The Glee Project‘s second season will expand from 12 to 14 contestants and from 10 to 11 episodes and launch in its new night and time on Tuesday, June 5 at 10 p.m.
Her character on Glee is graduating at the end of this season… And, Lea Michele is about to inspire the next generation of potential stars for the hit Fox musical dramedy.
The 25-year-old part-Spanish singer/actress has been slated to appear as a guest mentor on the Season 2 premiere of The Glee Project on Oxygen.
Michele, who has nabbed Emmy and Golden Globe nods for her role as Rachel Berry, will make her first appearance on the competition series whose winner will earn a seven-episode guest arc on the show.
“So excited to announce that I’ll be guest mentoring on the season 2 premiere of the Glee Project,” Michele tweeted over the weekend.
The show’s first season co-winner, Damian McGinty, has already outlasted his seven-episode arc on Glee and recently told The Hollywood Reporter that he was in talks to return to the Oxygen series as a mentor. Meanwhile, co-winner Samuel Larson recently started filming his stint on the Fox series. Runners-up Lindsay Pearce already appeared in a pair of episodes, and Alex Newell has yet to appear.
Season 1 guest mentors included Jenna Ushkowitz, Darren Criss, Dot Marie Jones, Kevin McHale and Harry Shum Jr., among others.