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Broadway Twisted raises money, performs gender-swapped songs

The cast of Broadway Twisted rehearses.

The cast of Broadway Twisted rehearses.

This gender-bending night of music and entertainment isn’t at all like your grandma’s typical theater show. 

Broadway Twisted, a one-night only fundraiser in the form of gender-swapped Broadway songs, will be hosted Monday at Local 506 with performances by the cast of PlayMakers' "Assassins" and Durham's Manbites Dog Theater's "Spirits to Enforce." The proceeds from the night will be split between Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and the North Carolina AIDS Action Network. 

Nathaniel Claridad, UNC graduate student and director and co-producer of Broadway Twisted for the past two years, said the benefit was so popular and successful last year that they decided to do it again.

Claridad said some challenges arise in rehearsing and scheduling the show because it is one-night only. 

“We’re rehearsing individuals who come together for a common cause for an evening,” he said. “Basically, they get one or two rehearsals, and we have one mic check the day of, and they’re right up on stage. It’s kind of like 'Saturday Night Live,' where there’s one rehearsal and then the show.”

Joseph Norton, director of education and outreach at Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, said the benefit is a great way to support two organizations at one time.

“This is a special benefit that (the performers) are doing just as volunteers to raise money for these two organizations,” Norton said. “This is a really great way to raise awareness and to make a difference, but also just to have some fun.”

Broadway Cares has raised more than $250 million to date and provides grants to 450 AIDS and family organizations across the country, including supporting health programs for The Actors Fund.

“We support both people in the business and the general population, as well,” Norton said.

Claire Hermann, communications program coordinator at NCAAN, said the organization fights for the rights of people who are living with HIV and AIDS, their loved ones and those who are at risk in North Carolina.  

The NCAAN advocates for and works on policies that protect the 36,500 individuals and their families who are living with HIV in North Carolina.

Hermann said when the organizers at Broadway Twisted contacted NCAAN last year, they were delighted to work together.

“A lot of our work here in North Carolina is about connecting with folks in the community,” she said. “We were really delighted not just to have their support, but that they gave us an opportunity to come and talks to folks at the event and connect with more people who want to join that fight.”

Hermann said this event is raising awareness in a relevant setting — near a college campus.

“About one in four people who are diagnosed with HIV in North Carolina in the last year are under 24,” she said. “So, I think it’s really great that Broadway Twisted is happening really close to the UNC campus.”

Norton said the show will be a great night of entertainment and is a way to support both the theater community and these organizations.

“We are so appreciative of all of these companies across the country who do these volunteer efforts for us and the local AIDS organizations and other charities, in addition to their very, very busy schedules,” she said. 

“They’re always willing to lend a hand.” 

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