Today: The Lavender Effect’s Star-Studded Virtual Pride Parade

Watch The Lavender Effect Virtual Pride Parade May 30, 2021 at Noon PST on YouTube

Watch The Lavender Effect Virtual Pride Parade May 30, 2021 at Noon PST on YouTube

Come celebrate this year’s PRIDE live with THE LAVENDER EFFECT® Star-studded Live Virtual Pride Parade which will be broadcast today – Sunday, May 30, 2021 – at 12 noon PST/3p EST via The Lavender Effect YouTube channel.

The Virtual Pride Parade, hosted by Alec Mapa, will launch Pride Month and benefit THE LAVENDER EFFECT’s mission to Advance the Future of LGBTQ+ Heritage & Culture.

While many local Pride celebrations again are being canceled or modified this year due to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, many members of the community will not be able to gather in person, so this live virtual event will safely bring the LGBTQ+ community together from across the nation to celebrate Pride.

This year marks the 51st Anniversary of the first PRIDE marches across the nation in June 1970, commemorating the anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, and protesting for LGBTQ+ equality.

Last year, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns, THE LAVENDER EFFECT® hosted the first “Virtual Pride Parade” to celebrate Pride and bring the LGBTQ+ community together. The live fundraising event featured celebrities, national LGBTQ+ organizations, and politicians, and over 10,000 viewed from around the country.

THE LAVENDER EFFECT® is a nonprofit project of Community Partners that helps to reduce shame, combat homophobia, and empower LGBTQ+ youth through programs like the Virtual Pride Parade, Oral History Projects, and educational programs. For more information, please visit

Scheduled to take part in today’s virtual event are well-known LGBTQ+ celebrities and allies, non-profits, and activists from around the globe, to help to bring the community together including:

Lily Tomlin (Tony, Emmy and Grammy Winner; Grace & Frankie; 9 to 5)
Judith Light (Tony & Emmy Winner, The Politician, Transparent, Who’s The Boss)
Betty Buckley (Tony Award winner for Cats, Eight is Enough)
Kathryn Hahn (Wanda Vision; Bad Moms)
Sally Kirkland (Golden Globe Winner for Anna)
Doug Spearman (Noah’s Arc)
Alexandra Billings (Transparent)
Bruce Vilanch (Emmy Winner; comedian writer/actor)
Leslie Carrara-Rudolph & “Lolly” (Emmy Winner, Sesame Street)
Michael Musto (journalist)
Jason Stuart (Smothered; comedian)
Maria Gentile (IheartRadio – What’s The Story With Maria)
Drew Droege (Heathers)
Kay Sedia (AJ and the Queen; Chico’s Angels)
Mel England (Best Day Ever)
Charles Busch (Drama Desk Award-winning Playwright & Actor)
Honey West (Proven Innocent)
Miss Barbie Q (Leave it on the Dance Floor, Honey)
Bill Sive (Gay Elder Circle)
Rita Gonzales (Out Agenda)
Cynthia Ruffin (Colors Youth Counseling)
Evan Wolfson (Freedom to Marry)
Gail Rolf (Project 10 & Friends of Project 10)
Harold Kameya & Family (PFLAG Los Angeles)
Lorri Jean from (LA LGBT Center)
Kathy Godwin (PFLAG National)
Lauren Meister (Mayor Pro Tempore, City of West Hollywood)
Sepi Shyne (Councilmember, City of West Hollywood)
John Erickson (Councilmember, City of West Hollywood)
Rabbi Denise Eger (Congregation Kol Ami)
Richard Ayoub (Project Angel Food)
Richard Zaldivar (The Wall Las Memorias Project)
Ron Galperin (City Controller, The City of Los Angeles)
Wayne Besen (Truth Wins Out)
Bamby Salcedo (Trans Latina Coalition)

(via press release)

Celebrating Mother’s Day With Broadway Musical Moms

Four moms from the Broadway musical Dear Evan Hansen unite for this special rendition of 'Anyone Have A Map?'
Broadway musical moms help me celebrate Mother's Day as four moms from the Broadway musical Dear Evan Hansen unite for this special rendition of 'Anyone Have A Map?'
L-R Lisa Brescia, Christiane Noll, Jessica Phillips, and Jennifer Laura Thompson (screen capture)

Broadway musical moms help me celebrate Mother’s Day with some totally appropriate tunes from musicals that mine the gold in all kinds of motherly relationships.

Four Dear Evan Hansen moms from the Broadway and touring companies united for this terrific take on “Anybody Have A Map?” from the blockbuster musical. I’m sure a lot of moms out there relate to this.

Liz Callaway really scored with this Act One closer for the 1983 Broadway musical, Baby. The song takes place after Liz’s ‘pregnant for the first time’ character feels her baby kick for the very first time.

From Stephen Sondheim’s brilliant Into The Woods, Broadway icon Betty Buckley served up a show-stopping “Children Will Listen” backed by the Boys Choir of Harlem at the 1992 Carnegie Hall concert honoring Sondheim.

In the 1996 stage musical adaptation of the Tom Hanks hit film BIG, Barbara Walsh played the mother of the lead character who magically grows up and leaves home on an adventure. At the top of Act Two, the mom reflects on how quickly kids can grow up wishing she could ‘stop time’ for just a while.

Just like in life (I’m thinking my own life here), Broadway musical moms take many forms – aunts, godmothers, neighbors, even god-like forces like Mother Earth – who show up at the right moment to help us on our way.

I loved the creative and oh-so-moving 2017 revival of Once On This Island. Alex Newell and company brought the house down nightly with this jubilant and earthy “Mama Will Provide.”

As I recently reported, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and theater producers have announced Broadway shows will begin reopening this September.

Betty Buckley To Trump: Stop Using My Music ‘Your Presidency Is The Very Antithesis Of Art’

Tony Award winner and proud Texas Democrat Betty Buckley (photo: John Boal)

Do not mess with Broadway legend Betty Buckley.

She. Will. Call. You. Out.

Buckley, a proud Texas Democrat, became aware that the Trump campaign has been playing the recording of her Tony Award-winning performance of “Memory” from CATS at the Donald’s rallies.

Months ago, Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber sent a cease-and-desist letter to the Trump campaign asking that his music not be played at the events, but was clearly ignored.

And so, the mighty Ms. Buckley has now fired off an open letter to the Trump/Pence campaign demanding they cease and desist using her music.

“We must insist that you stop this misappropriation of music and performance that has nothing to do with the representation of your regime. Your presidency, completely devoid of empathy or humanity, is the very antithesis of art.”

She goes on to note his “disastrous mishandling of the pandemic” which is responsible for closing down Broadway and theaters across the country as well as his “super spreader events” which are “undoubtedly exacerbating the problem.”

Buckley also underscores the many artists who, like her, have asked that their music not be associated with Trump’s “deplorable mendacity and ill behavior.” Among those musicians are Elton John, Bruce Springsteen, The Rolling Stones, Phil Collins and many more.

The star closes her epic takedown writing, “The good news is that we, the voters, have the ultimate say. We will reject you at the polls, and by January the utter hell of your presidency, your criminal enablers and regime will be nothing more than a (wait for it) memory.”

Buckley recently produced a new music video in which she sings a beautiful medley of “For the Beauty of the Earth / Jesus Loves the Little Children” with the School of Arts & Enterprise Virtual Choir in a gorgeous arrangement by longtime collaborator Christian Jacob.

The video was created to promote social justice, turn out voters in her home state, and encourage donations for the American Civil Liberties Union, Save The Children, Black Lives Matter, and Voto Latino.

In a statement, Buckley shared:

“I grew up as a military brat on Air Force bases around the World.  My Father Ernest Buckley was a Major turned Lt. Colonel in the United States Air  Force. Kids of every race and color were my classmates and our neighbors.

“When I  was in the fifth grade my father retired from the military, and we settled in Fort Worth,  Texas. Every Sunday morning we went to the Methodist Church. I sang in the Youth Choir on Sunday evenings. ‘For The Beauty Of The Earth’ is one of my favorite, most beloved hymns. I learned ‘Jesus Loves The Little Children’ when I was very young at  Vacation Bible School.

“It is my hope that via the remembrance of the simple truths contained in the beautiful music and lyrics of these two traditional hymns some persons will feel a call to a soul remembrance of Truth. And it is my hope that the gorgeous faces and voices of the Children of the School of Arts and Enterprise will touch hearts and minds to remember our connected humanity.

“These children, their teachers and families did these recordings from their homes. Over 200 people have participated in creating this project. If this music and the images in this video touch one person, ten or one hundred, it will have been worth it.”

Watch and listen to Buckley’s hymns for humanity below. #Bravo

Stars In The House Remembers ‘Carrie The Musical’

(image via the original poster for the Broadway production of Carrie)

Michael and I thoroughly enjoyed watching Saturday night’s edition of Stars in the House which brought together the creative team and actors from the 1988 Broadway musical Carrie.

Adapted from the 1976 movie of the same name by Stephen King, the musical was first produced at Stratford-upon-Avon in England starring Linzi Hately as Carrie and Broadway veteran Barbara Cook as her mother, Margaret White. Directed by Terry Hands and choreographed by Debbie Allen, the cast also included Charlotte d’Amboise (Song & Dance), Gene Anthony Ray (Fame), R&B star Darlene Love, and Sally Ann Triplett.

In order to achieve the effects of Carrie’s telekinetic powers, the production boasted an elaborate technical design in terms of sets and lights utilizing lasers. According to theater lore, Cook tendered her resignation on opening night when she was nearly decapitated by a set-piece.

Betty Buckley and Linzi Hately in ‘Carrie’ (production photo)

Tony Award winner Betty Buckley (who had played the gym teacher in the film) was summoned to save the show as it transferred to Broadway. But after 16 previews and 5 performances, the producers pulled out their money following mixed reviews despite packed houses and standing ovations each night.

In a time before smartphones, little video footage exists of the Broadway production although, during last night’s streaming reunion, it was revealed cast member and soon-to-be Tony Award winner Scott Wise had planted an old-school video camera in the back of the audience before the audience was admitted in hopes of capturing footage.

Apparently, Wise’s camera was able to capture Act One before the battery ran out of juice.

Just to give you a peek into the power and sensitivity Buckley brought to the role, this is the haunting “When There’s No One.”

The show, capitalized at a then-enormous $8 million, was considered the most expensive flop in Broadway history.

I was on the road performing in CATS at the time, but my bestie Carlye saw the closing night performance. According to her well-informed opinion, while much of the show proved problematic I’ve never forgotten her final assessment – that the scenes between Buckley and Hately were some of the most thrilling musical theater she’d ever experienced.

Playbill put together a terrific recap of some of the existing footage along with interviews with cast members including Charlotte D’Amboise here.

Here’s the full reunion show from last night hosted by SiriusXM’s Seth Rudetsky & James Wesley. The creative team of Lawrence D. Cohen, Michael Gore, and Dean Pitchford share the history of creating the book and score and are then joined about halfway through by Buckley, Hateley, D’Amboise, and Triplett.

Over the past four months, the streaming series has brought theater fans the backstage stories they’ve longed for (for free!) while raising over $442,000 for The Actor’s Fund in donations.

Saturday Slowdown: Betty Buckley ‘Souvenir’

Tony Award winner Betty Buckley sings Edna St. Vincent Millay’s poem “Souvenir” set to music by Ricky Ian Gordon and played on the piano by Kenny Werner.

The delicate arrangement, brimming with emotion, was a collaboration between Werner and Buckley.

“I love this poem and the song,” says Buckley. And the connection is apparent in her deeply human, artful performance.

Miss Betty contributed the recording as part of the Edna St. Vincent Millay Poetry Challenge.

If you look up the definition of the word “sublime”…

Instagram Round-Up: Weekend Edition

Checking in on some of my favorite Instagram accounts this weekend starting with totally woofy Jeff Ferreira (above) who clearly finds the weather in Hollywood totes comfortable.

Jim Newman is giving you all kinds of onesie goodness while trying to swindle folks out of Santa’s milk and cookies:

Jason Derulo is serving the thirsty in his tiny black shorts:

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Good Mornin’ 💦

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Andy Cohen shows off some pretty thicc muscle thighs as he’s totally dressed to get physical:

Marco, accountant/InstaHunk, was just happy to get to the end of the week:

The folks in Hamburg, Germany, might have had the best time of all this weekend with the Chippendales:

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Having the time of our lives in #Germany! 😘🇩🇪 Thank you so much for all the love! ⠀ 🇺🇸 U.S. TOUR ON SALE NOW! Get ready to GET NAUGHTY! Voted Vegas’ #1 male revue and best bachelorette party destination, the world-famous #Chippendales are bringing their sexy from #LasVegas to YOUR hometown in 2020! ⠀ ⠀ 💋 #GetNaughtyTour 💋 2.07 • Reno, NV • @harrahsreno 2.08 • Reno, NV • @harrahsreno 2.12 • Houston, TX • @hobhouston 2.13 • NOLA • @hobnola 2.15 • Dallas, TX • @hobdallas 2.16 • San Antonio, TX • @theaztectheatre 2.19 • Atlanta, GA • @buckheadtheatre 2.20 • Charleston, SC • @music_farm 2.21 • Raleigh, NC • @ritzraleigh 2.22 • Myrtle Beach, SC • @hobmyrtlebeach 2.23 • Charlotte, NC • @fillmorenc 2.26 • Pittsburgh, PA • @roxiantheatrepgh 2.27 • Philadelphia, PA • @tlaphilly 2.28 • Wilmington, DE • @queenwilmington 2.29 • Silver Spring, MD • @fillmoresilverspring 3.05 • Huntington, NY • @theparamountny 3.06 • Montclair, NJ • @thewellmonttheater 3.07 • New York, NY • @gramercytheatre 3.08 • Boston, MA • @hobboston 3.11 • Cleveland, OH • @hobcleveland 3.12 • Indianapolis, IN • @oldnationalcentre 3.13 • Cincinnati, OH • @bogartsshows 3.14 • Louisville, KY • @mercuryballroom 3.15 • Huntsville, AL • @vonbrauncenter 3.18 • Milwaukee, WI • @pabsttheater 3.19 • Minneapolis, MN • @varsitytheater 3.20 • Chicago, IL • @hobchicago 3.21 • Detroit, MI • @fillmoredetroit 3.22 • Grand Rapids, MI • @20monroelive 3.26 • Riverside, CA • @riversidelive 3.27 • Phoenix, AZ • @thevanburenphx 3.28 • San Diego, CA • @hobsandiego 3.29 • Anaheim, CA • @hobanaheim . . 🎟 (link in bio: @chippendales)

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Grease 2 star Maxwell Caulfield:

Over in Paris, Antoine Morieult is giving fairy tale prince vibes as he begins, “Once upon a time…”

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Once upon a time

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Rick and the Griffopotamus were – surprise! – shirtless showing off their buff stuff in Atlanta’s Piedmont Park:

Spanish actor/model Mario Hervas wonders if people would stop to talk with him in the subway…? I’d stop to talk with him anywhere!

And finally, Tony Award winner and Broadway icon Betty Buckley took in some department store Christmas displays (a favorite pass time of mine during the holidays) in between rehearsals for her upcoming concerts with composer Jason Robert Brown:

Happy, Happy Birthday Betty Buckley

It’s the 3rd of July and I have to give a ‘Happy birthday’ shoutout to my dear, beautiful friend (and Tony Award winner), the luminous Betty Buckley.

Easily one of the most compelling artists of any medium I’ve encountered, she is powerful, demure, complex, sophisticated, and earthy at the same time. In many ways, deliciously impossible to define.

With Betty Buckley and hubby Michael after another triumphant performance

In 1992, Betty was (as she recounts) a replacement for the legendary Stephen Sondheim celebration at Carnegie Hall singing “Our Time/Children Will Listen” with the Harlem Boys Choir.

Since she had little time to learn the arrangement, as the story goes, she worried she would be the evening’s disappointment.

It is no surprise that she was THE highlight of the evening.

I interviewed Betty some years ago, and by a wonderful twist of fate, we’ve become good friends.

Over the past few years I’ve seen Betty in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, NYC and London reveling in her limitless talent.

In any case, please enjoy her heart-stopping performance of “Children Will Listen” below and join me in celebrating another trip around the sun by my dear Betty Buckley.

The performance is particularly moving to me. I began my performing career in the acclaimed Texas Boys Choir in Fort Worth, Texas, where both Betty and I hail from.

Also, “Children Will Listen” is a song was fortunate to perform many times as “Jack” in Into The Woods.

Betty’s gentle grace coupled with effortless power is a joy. Trust and believe, I’ve enjoyed this clip many, many times 🙂

One last thing – Betty will be starring in the upcoming national tour of the Tony Award winning revival of Hello, Dolly! this fall.

Do. Not. Miss. It.

Bette Midler Will Return To HELLO, DOLLY! For Final 6 Weeks On Broadway

Bette Midler in "Hello, Dolly!" on Broadway
Bette Midler in “Hello, Dolly!” on Broadway

The Associated Press is reporting that when Bette Midler sang “So Long Dearie” to her blockbuster Broadway revival of Hello, Dolly! she really meant “See you in a while” as producers have announced that the Tony Award-winner will return for a six-week run before the production closes August 25.

Bernadette Peters, who took up the mantle of “Dolly Levi” after Bette departed in January will continue in the role until July 15. The Divine Miss M will be “back where she belongs” beginning July 17.

Additionally, co-stars David Hyde Pierce and Gavin Creel back as well.

Creel wan the Tony Award for “Best Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical” for his performance as “Cornelius Hackl,” and Pierce earned a Tony nod as “Horace Vandergelder.”

We won’t be saying goodbye to Dolly any time soon though.

Fans eagerly await the first national tour of “Hello, Dolly!” which will star Tony Award-winner Betty Buckley when it kicks off in October at Playhouse Square in Cleveland, Ohio.

Throwback Thursday: Betty Buckley “Amazing Grace”

It’s been quiet in the house lately.

Michael has been traveling with clients doing press in NYC, and with Bruno the wonder dog having crossed the rainbow bridge recently, I’ve been reflective of late.

My mind kept finding it’s way to this meditation on “Amazing Grace” from the brilliant Tony Award winner, Betty Buckley.

I’ve seen Ms. Betty perform live onstage countless times and it’s always a transformative experience.

Yes, everyone loves her huge show-stopping vocals in songs like “Memory,” “With One Look,” and “Meadowlark,” but her brilliance is revealed with equal ease in her quiet, pensive musical moments.

This performance is from her Stars and the Moon (Live at the Donmar) concert which, thankfully, was fully recorded for us all to have now and forever.

It’s not often that artistry of this depth can really shine through via a YouTube video, but as always, Betty is right in the center of the song’s emotional core.

While a “throwback Thursday” post is defined by looking back, I’d be remiss if I didn’t add here that Buckley has recently been announced to star in the upcoming national tour of Hello, Dolly! currently killing it on Broadway.

Happy Thursday, kids.

New Music: Betty Buckley “Story Songs”

Tony Award-winner Betty Buckley (Cats, Mystery of Edwin Drood, Triumph of Love, Sunset Boulevard), who recently starred in M. Night Shyamalan’s box office hit film Split, releases her latest recording today, the two-CD Story Songs.

Yes, kids – Broadway star, movie star, recording star… she does it all…

The release is a live recording of Buckley’s acclaimed cabaret show of the same name. The song cycle includes tunes by Jason Robert Brown, Joni Mitchell, Sting, Peter Gabriel, Leonard Cohen, and more.

Reviewing the show last fall, the New York Times called the event “arguably the strongest cabaret of her career.”

“Ms. Buckley belongs to a small circle of nightclub singers who are truth-tellers. Riding the crest of acclaim she received for her portrayal of “Big Edie” in a Los Angeles production of the musical “Grey Gardens,” Ms. Buckley, her voice in excellent shape, gave everything she sang the shape and depth of a personal confession.”

Buckley is in top form, bringing to bear her full, formidable gifts. The voice, that has brought Carnegie Hall audiences to their feet, is vibrant and strong. And not a comma goes overlooked in her rich readings of these character-driven songs.

Christian Jacob, Buckley’s longtime arranger and music director, delivers a collection of jazz-tinged musical landscapes that perfectly align with the actress/singer’s emotionally bare and yet expansive performances.

The album is a fine follow-up to her 2014 collaboration with T Bone Burnett, Ghostlight.

In that the album captures an carefully constructed evening of song and storytelling, I’m loath to point to specific songs. But, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention her poignant “Don’t Give Up;” the rich, knowing melancholy of “Both Sides Now;” and Buckley’s “been there, done that” depth of survivorship in the ultimate showbiz anthem, “I’m Still Here.”

Truly one of our great storytellers, the album is a must-have. Head to iTunes, Amazon or anywhere music is sold.