Get an inside look at the annual Broadway Celebrates Juneteenth Concert, held June 18 in Times Square. The event was hosted by Michael James Scott. See Rachel Webb, Lorna Courtney, Veronica Otim, and Kim Onah from & Juliet perform "Bigger" above.
The third annual outdoor concert, presented via The Broadway League's Black to Broadway initiative, was free and open to the public. More than 25 Black artists performed from a dozen Broadway shows, including cast members from A Beautiful Noise, & Juliet, Camelot, Chicago, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, MJ, New York, New York, Parade, Shucked, SIX, Some Like It Hot, Sweeney Todd, and the upcoming Broadway revival of The Wiz.
The concert was filled with songs, dances, and spoken word performances, as well as a special musical number featuring kids from current and recent Broadway productions. See the Kids From Broadway perform "Be Optimistic" below.
The song list for the event is below:
- “Lift Every Voice & Sing”: Performed by Rashad McPherson & The Juneteenth Celebration Band
- Spoken Word: “On this Day of Freedom” (Original Piece): Performed by Performed by William Rhem (from Harry Potter and the Cursed Child)
- “Dancin’ In The Street” (Motown The Musical): Performed by Holli’ Conway Fields (from Six)
- “Don’t Rain On My Parade” (Funny Girl): Performed by Hailee Kaleem Wright (from Six)
- “I Know Where I’ve Been” (Hairspray): Performed by Tesia Kwarteng (from Camelot
- “Be Optimistic”: Performed by Kids from Broadway
- “Bigger”: Performed by Rachel Webb, Lorna Courtney, Veronica Otim, and Kim Onah (from & Juliet)
- “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” (Motown The Musical): Performed by Vanessa Sears & Aaron Nicholas Patterson (from New York, New York)
- “I Am Light”: Performed by Aaron James McKenzie (from A Beautiful Noise, The Neil Diamond Musical)
- Tap Dance Performance: “Blue Skies” (Irving Berlin’s White Christmas): Performed by Richard Yoder (from Some Like It Hot)
- “Colored Woman” (Memphis): Performed by Courtnee Carter (from Parade)
- “Shining Star” (Hot Feet): Performed by Deandre Sevon (from A Beautiful Noise, The Neil Diamond Musical)
- “The Bus” (Caroline, or Change): Performed by Antoine L. Smith (MJ the Musical
- “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay”: Performed by Miki Abraham (from Shucked
- “There’s Always Something There to Remind Me”: Performed by Kyrie Courter (from Sweeney Todd)
- “Day O” (Beetlejuice The Musical): Performed by James T. Lane (from Chicago
- “River Deep, Mountain High” (Tina, The Tina Turner Musical): Performed by Kimberly Marable, Arian Keddell & Celina Nightengale (from Chicago)
- “Ain’t It Good” (Children of Eden): Performed by Crystal Lucas Perry (from Ain’t No Mo’)
- “If You Believe” (The Wiz): Performed by Melody Betts (from The Wiz)
See Chicago's Kimberly Marable, Arian Keddell & Celina Nightengale Perform “River Deep, Mountain High" below.
The concert was directed by Steve H. Broadnax III and music directed by Rashad McPherson. Brian Moreland and Aaliytha Stevens served as executive producers, with Jhanaë Bonnick as stage manager and Foresight Theatrical's Devon Miller as general manager. Music was provided by The Music Performance Trust Fund.
Tony-winning director Kenny Leon was honored with the 2023 Juneteenth Legacy Award. See Leon accept his award below.
“Congratulations to producer and Tony Award-winning director Kenny Leon (Some Like It Hot, Topdog/Underdog) as the recipient of the 2023 Juneteenth Legacy Award. We acknowledge his enormous contributions to Broadway which have resulted in staging powerful works that delve into Black storylines and star Black artists. Through his many endeavors, he has created opportunities for diverse voices to be heard,” said Broadway League President Charlotte St. Martin in an earlier statement.
“Broadway Celebrates Juneteenth shines a light on the extraordinary contributions of Black creatives in the theatre community with a day of free performances and presentations showcasing the best of NYC talent,” added Commissioner of the Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment, Anne del Castillo.
See host Michael James Scott rev up the crowd in the video below.
This year’s sponsors include United Airlines, M·A·C (Make-up Art Cosmetics), the NYC Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, The Music Performance Trust Fund, The Araca Group, Open Jar Studios, and The Times Square Alliance.