Entertainment » Celebrities

Broadway Battles Bullying in Support of Michael Morones

by Winnie McCroy
EDGE Editor
Thursday Apr 17, 2014
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Leslie Henstock and Julia Burrows
Leslie Henstock and Julia Burrows  (Source:Amanda Taraska)

On April 14, New York City’s stage performers came together at NYU’s Skirball Center for the Performing Arts to donate their time and talent to Broadway Battles Bullying, a one-night only benefit concert for the new Michael Morones Foundation, which works to prevent youth suicide and bullying.

"The Michael Morones Foundation’s mission is to educate communities worldwide on the social development and well-being of our youth," write organizers. "The Foundation works to ensure children that they are loved while providing our youth support and equipping them with the necessary life skills to enjoy a successful life."

The event brought together 500 guests and raised money via ticket sales and their silent auction, which featured items including show tickets for 54 Below, "Kinky Boots" and "Buyer & Cellar," plus Yankee baseball tickets. Also auctioned were a makeover and gift basket from Sephora, bags from Tory Burch, Ralph Lauren and Tahari/Coach/Juicy, plus gift certificates for restaurants including the Mermaid Inn, Gossip Bar and Swine.


Aidan Gemme, Jake Lucas and Sydney Lucas speak out against bullying  (Source:Amanda Taraska)

Artists donated photo shoots, voice lessons, Shakespeare coaching, tutoring and dance lessons, and signed memorabilia from Sara Bareilles, the cast of "Beautiful," "Cinderella" and "Kinky Boots," and My Little Pony memorabilia from G.M Berrow and Andrea Libman.

The benefit concert was presented by an honorary host committee of Broadway, screen, and music veterans including Sir Ian McKellen, Sir Patrick Stewart, Mary-Louise Parker, Paula Cole, Megan Hilty, Jonathan Groff, and Julia Murney, who all generously donated their support to the Michael Morones Foundation. 


Performers for the evening included Stephen Wallem from Showtime’s "Nurse Jackie," Jill Paice from "Matilda," Carrie Manolakos from Mamma Mia!," Jennifer Laura Thompson of "Nice Work If You Can Get It and Wicked and Joe Iconis and Family of NBC’s "Smash" and "The Black Suits."


Laura Benanti with Broadway Battles Bullying Chorus  (Source:Amanda Taraska)

Also on hand were Lauren Worsham from "A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder," and Aidan Gemme of "Waiting for Godot" and "Mary Poppins," plus Natalie Joy Johnson of "Kinky Boots" fame, Anastacia McCleskey, Mykal Kilgore, Shakina Nayfack, Jake Lucas Newsies and Sydney Lucas.
World-renowned mezzo-soprano and Metropolitan Opera star Joyce DiDonato also joined the evening’s list of performers.

The event was a fundraiser for the newly formed Michael Morones Foundation. 
Michael Morones is an eleven-year-old boy from North Carolina who attempted to hang himself from his bunk bed on January 23. A victim of vicious bullying from classmates because of his love of the "My Little Pony" television series, Morones was fortunately found in time to save his life, but not soon enough to prevent permanent and severe brain damage.

Though it was originally unclear if Michael would make it out of the hospital, he is now undergoing intensive rehab. The potential extent of his recovery remains unknown, but he will need ongoing managed care for the remainder of his life. Your donation can help secure Morones’s future.


For more information or to make a donation, visit www.michaelmorones.org

Winnie McCroy is the Women on the EDGE Editor, HIV/Health Editor, and Assistant Entertainment Editor for EDGE Media Network, handling all women’s news, HIV health stories and theater reviews throughout the U.S. She has contributed to other publications, including The Village Voice, Gay City News, Chelsea Now and The Advocate, and lives in Brooklyn, New York, where she writes about local restaurants in her food blog, http://brooklyniscookin.blogspot.com/

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