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Broadway and TV stars join Parkland students for benefit concert

Broadway stars are coming to Sunrise’s BB&T Center for a Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School fundraising concert.

“From Broadway With Love: A Benefit Concert for Parkland, USA” will take place Monday, April 16. Great White Way performers, many of whom are also TV luminaries, will headline the event, including Wayne Brady (Chicago cast of “Hamilton,” TV’s “Let’s Make a Deal”), Matthew Morrison (Broadway’s “Hairspray,” TV’s “Glee”) and Laura Bell Bundy (Broadway’s “Legally Blonde,” TV’s “Anger Management”).

“These exceptional students and survivors of Parkland are an inspiration,” Bundy writes in an email to SouthFlorida.com. “From their tragedy and pain, they are rising up and making change. Their thoughtful actions and words have motivated our country into movement, and I want to express my gratitude for them by performing for them and their families. I want to offer what I have to give to this important movement, as I strongly believe in it, and to contribute to the Parkland community’s healing. I want to be there, because I want them to know I am on their side.”

Former and current South Floridians are scheduled to appear at the show, including Etai Benson (“The Band’s Visit,” “An American in Paris”), who grew up in Coral Springs, and Parkland’s own Deborah Cox (“The Bodyguard,” “Aida”).

Other notables on the roster include Noah Galvin (“Dear Evan Hansen”), Ephraim Sykes (“Hamilton”), Gabrielle Ruiz (“If/Then”), Bryan Fenkart (“Memphis”), Charity Angel Dawson (“Waitress”), Christy Altomare (“Anastasia”) and Telly Leung (“Aladdin”).

“Broadway has always been a community that responds to social injustice,” says Yael Silver, one of the producers of “From Broadway With Love.” “When the AIDS crisis happened, we responded. When Sandy Hook happened, we responded. When Orlando happened, we responded. We want to create art that is meaningful. When social injustice happens, we are the ones who go out there and say what we are thinking.

“In this situation, the students are giving all of us adults a run for our money,” Silver continues in a phone interview from her New York office at Broadway Records. “As a Broadway community, we want to support them in the way we can. They’re there. They are doing the work. We’re just amplifying it. … We amplify the message that they created.”

One of the ways Silver and her co-producers (a who’s who of Broadway music directors, orchestrators, casting directors, stage managers, directors and producers) are trying to amplify the student activists’ mission for gun control is to pair student poets and lyricists with New York theater composers to create songs for the concert. Those professional composers include Joe Iconis (“Things To Ruin”), Bobby Cronin (“Mary and Max”), Zoe Sarnak (“Empire Records”) and Drew Gasparini ("It's Kind of a Funny Story").

“Five of those songs are going to be in the concert,” Silver says. “Over 30 songs were written. All 30 songs will be performed in other concerts. I think we have a list of, like, 50 performers ready to go for the next concert I do.”

Silver, who co-produced the musical “Once on This Island,” says she and fellow lead producer Van Dean are passionate about supporting the issues brought up by the Stoneman Douglas activists. Dean, who is the president of Broadway Records, grew up 10 miles from Sandy Hook Elementary School, where a mass shooting took place in 2012. They have previously produced “From Broadway With Love” concerts for shooting victims at Sandy Hook and Pulse nightclub in Orlando.

“To be honest, this is the third concert like this we’ve had to do,” Silver says. “I wish I didn’t have to produce this. I really wish I didn’t, but there is a need, and I’m here to do it.”

Proceeds from the concert will go to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Victims’ Fund and Shine MSD. A CD and DVD of the concert will be available through Broadway Records at BroadwayRecords.com. For more information on the concert, go to FromBroadwayWithLove.org.

“From Broadway With Love: A Benefit Concert for Parkland, USA” begins 7 p.m. Mondy, April 16, at the BB&T Center, 1 Panther Parkway, in Sunrise. Tickets cost $50. To order, go to Ticketmaster.com.

rhagwood@southflorida.com

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