By Melissa Griegel . . .
Jay Armstrong Johnson’s annual Broadway dance party and show I Put a Spell on You returned live this year at Sony Hall (235 W. 46th Street, NYC), Sunday, October 23rd at 8 pm. Doors opened at 7:30 for pre-show food and drinks, and remained open after the show for a blow-out dance party. Jay Armstrong Johnson returned as Winifred Sanderson and was joined by cast members from Broadway including Major Attaway (Aladdin), Nick Rashad Burroughs (Tina: The Tina Turner Musical), Tony Award winner Gavin Creel (Into the Woods), Tony nominee Robyn Hurder (Moulin Rouge! The Musical), two-time Grammy Winning, Drama Desk and Lortel Nominated Tamika Lawrence (Caroline or Change), Julia Mattison (Godspell), Tomás Matos (Hadestown, “Fire Island”), Matt Rivera (Chu’s In the Heights), Ariana Rosario (Spielberg’s West Side Story), Alanna Saunders (Harry Potter and The Cursed Child), Claire Saunders (The Intern), Heath Saunders (Company), James Scully (Netflix’s “You”, “Fire Island”), and Alysha Umphress (On the Town). Allison Robinson and Amanda Williams played the Sanderson Sisters. This year’s show included Queens and activists Kiki Ball-Change (Funny Gworl), Marti Gould Cummings (Shade Queens of NYC), and Mila Jam (Rent touring company, female impersonator Britney Houston).
In their search to find beauty, youth and immortality, the bewitching and beloved Sanderson Sisters return from the dead and gather their most famous friends to help them lure the children of New York. The show started off with Gavin Creel and “The Rolling Bones” band performing “Monster Mash.” Other songs throughout the show included Peggy Lee’s “Fever,” Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” a parody of “Ex-Wives” from Six: The Musical, “Poor Unfortunate Souls” from The Little Mermaid, “Last Midnight” from Into the Woods, and a Mean Girls burn book number that was updated to make fun of the “Karens” in the world. Guests were encouraged to wear costumes, and prizes were awarded for best costume. This year’s top winner was J Harrison Ghee (Kinky Boots) who went as a pirate.
Stars on the red carpet who came out for the show included Antonio Cipriano, J Harrison Ghee, Claybourne Elder, Jason Gotay, Ellyn Marsh, Julia Murney, Bronson Norris, Cody Renard Richards, Julia Rhea, Marisa Rosen, Jonalyn Saxer, Jessica Vosk, Teal Wicks and Mark William.
The cast also included stars of stage and screen Sydney Allie, Tanah Becker, Olivia Cece, Zachary Eisenberg, Tyler Eisenreich, Zachary Flores, Natalie Hinds, Brittany Jenkins, Karma Jenkins, Darriel Johnakin, Erin Kei, Kolton Krouse, Markelle Leigh, Grace LeMieux, Hector Juan Maisonet, Maddox Martin, Nick Nazzaro, Kathyrn Priest, Gabriel Andrew Reyes, Celeste Rose, Sydnie Roy, Jamal Shuriah, Michael Anthony Sylvester, Olivia Tarchick, Ahren Victory, Jamaal Wade, Erin Weinberger, Robyn Williams, and Zach Williams. Ahmad Simons directed the show and served as the supervising choreographer along with associate director/choreographer Lili Froehlich and a team of assistant choreographers. Will Van Dyke served as the music supervisor.
I Put a Spell on You: ALIVE at Sony Hall was presented by Kampfire Films, Katie Rosin, DW and Jay Armstrong Johnson. The show benefits Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. Proceeds from the event support these causes, including money collected that evening by Broadway Cares members holding red buckets. All of the cast and creative donated their time to the show. Additional funds will be raised by the Broadway on Demand streaming of the event beginning at 7 pm EST on Sunday, October 20th, 2022, and will be available for the next four days.
Photos by Melissa Griegel