On The Avenue

The NYCLU Revives the Protest Song

Wednesday, July 19, 2017
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The fight for civil rights and civil liberties ebbs and flows but never stops. Currently, it’s raging.

On July 17, the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) held its 15th annual “Broadway Stands Up For Freedom” concert at the Skirball Center for the Performing Arts. It was an incredible night, in which thirteen songwriting teams came together with some of Broadway’s most acclaimed stars to issue a clarion call for civil rights.

Original protest songs written for the evening addressed themes like immigration reform, racism, education equality, the resistance and more.

Harry Belafonte received the inaugural “Freedom Award” for his commitment to protecting civil liberties for everyone. Unfortunately, he was unable to make it to the event as he was under the weather, so he accepted his award via cell phone. The audience was silent during his speech as he emphasized the importance of standing together and never surrendering the fight.

Susan Blackwell hosted the show, and the audience was able to see performances by Tony Award Winner Gavin Creel (Hello, Dolly!, Hair, The Book of Mormon), Taylor Trensch (Hello, Dolly!, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time), David Cale (Lillian), Janet Dacal (Prince of Broadway), Adrienne Warren (Shuffle Along), Doreen Montalvo (On Your Feet, In the Heights) and Sean Green. The songs performed were written and composed by Nathan Tysen (Amelie), Chris Miller (Tuck Everlasting) and George Stitt (Little Shop of Horrors).

Others who attended and performed were Brooks Ashmanskas (Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me), Brandon Uranowitz (Prince of Broadway, Falsettos), Andréa Burns (On Your Feet!, In the Heights), Andrew Kober (Sunday in the Park with George, Les Miserables), Jenni Barber (Sundays in the Park with George, Annie), Zach Prince (Honeymoon in Vegas), Lucy Walters (Power), Samantha Sherman (The Mend), Kait Kerrigan and Brian Lowdermilk, Shaina Taub (Old Hats), Liana Stampur, Clinton Curtis and Brooklyn Youth Chorus.


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