Featuring: The Thanksgiving Play/Angry Raucous and Shamelessly Gorgeous; Rise Up With Arts; Tim Robbins; Amas Musical Theatre-Home Sweet Homeland; The Life of Mrs. Cole Porter; 35th Annual Virtual MAC Awards; Maestra Music-Amplify Concert; Derren Brown-The Invisible Man; The Actors Fund Updates; The Pillowman; Josh Breckenridge-YOU!

Rise Up With Arts presents the world’s first virtual variety show to benefit The Actors Fund and the U.K.’s Theatre Support Fund+ on March 27, 2:30 pm est/7:30 pm gmt. There will be appearances by Moulin Rouge! Stars Aaron Tveit, Robyn Hurder, Ricky Rojas, Brian May/Kerry Ellis (with a new song) and Dominc ‘D-Trix’ Sandoval, Duncan James, Kevin Clifton, Lisa Riley, Robin Windsor, others. www.riseupwitharts.com

Larissa FastHorse’s The Thanksgiving Play airing Thursday, March 25 at 8PM EST/5PM PST has been cast with Bobby Cannavale, Keanu Reeves, Heidi Schreck Alia Shawkat, directed by Leigh Silverman. The first in the “Spotlight on Plays” series, is a wickedly funny comedy with a troupe of terminally “woke” teaching artists scrambling to create a pageant that manages to celebrate both Turkey Day and Native American Heritage Month.  Pearl Cleage’s Angry, Raucous and Shamelessly Gorgeous on Thursday, April 9 at 8PM EST/5PM PST – directed by Camille A. Brown it stars Debbie Allen, Phylicia Rashad, Heather Alicia Simms, Alicia Stith. Proceeds benefit The Actors Fund.  www.BroadwaysBestShows.com  

Tim Robbins has joined the list of celebrities contributing performances for Theater for the New City’s 2021 “Love ‘N Courage” gala March 22, which benefits the theater’s emerging playwrights program.  Robbins joins Charles Busch, David Amram, F. Murray Abraham and Vinie Burrows in the roster of stars sharing prepared performances.

The program will also include performances by stars and Downtown luminaries, addresses by elected officials, a performance by students in the theater’s cultural arts program and highlights from the theater’s “Open ‘Tho Shut” weekly walk-by theater series, which will have played for 20 weeks by the date of the gala.  The event will begin streaming at 7:00 PM.  Tickets are $200 and available on the theater’s website, www.theaterforthenewcity.net.

Rising new singer/songwriter J. Breckenridge has released the music video for his second single “Y.O.U.” today, Tuesday, March 16. Breckenridge is a musical artist with a pop-soul vibe. It’s an intelligent catchy new track, the precursor to the rollout of his upcoming debut album Monotony, to be released this summer.

J. Breckenridge, the new musical artist with a pop-soul vibe, just released his second single “Y.O.U.” The catchy yet intelligent new track is the next step in the rollout of his upcoming debut album Monotony, expected to be released this summer. His original songs (he writes music and lyrics) seamlessly blend old-school soul and contemporary pop with R&B and jazz influences. His work, both in terms of his skilled songwriting and expressive singing, is influenced by the classic R&B of Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, and Smokey Robinson to the current sounds of Bruno Mars, Michael Bublé, and John Legend.

As an actor Josh Breckenridge, has appeared in the cast of the Tony-winning hit musical Come From Away when the industry shut down. As a performer, he collaborated with Jake Shears of the Scissor Sisters on a musical version of the Tales of the City novels. Plus, Josh has been seen on TV in “The Blacklist” (CBS), “Blue Bloods” (NBC) and “FBI” (CBS). The link the new video is here: https://youtu.be/tLHeG_MzjKE

Amas Musical Theatre presents a Live-stream + Q&A of Home Sweet Homeland on March 29th at 7 pm, directed by Lynne Taylor-Corbett; the story of a family trapped in a building across the street from the World Trade Center on 9/11 and the Angel of Stand-Up Comedy who watches over them. Based on Joanna Rush’s own experience. Features Jonathan Brody, Robert Cuccioli, James Rana, Laila Robins, Joanna Rush, Chuja Seo, Sophia Tsougros, Mia Mei Williamson. www.amasmusical.org

The Black Box Performing Arts Center, Inc., in Englewood, NJ presents Martin McDonagh’s The Pillowman, presented in special arrangement with Dramatists Play Service, Inc. With echoes of Stoppard, Kafka, and the Brothers Grimm, THE PILLOWMAN centers on a writer in an unnamed totalitarian state who is being interrogated about the gruesome content of his short stories and their similarities to a series of child murders. The result is an urgent work of theatrical bravura and an unflinching examination of the very nature and purpose of art. (Courtesy of Dramatists Play Service, Inc.), The Pillowman runs through April 3, Thursday through Sunday at 8pm (with select holiday blackout dates). Tickets can be purchased at www.BlackBoxPAC.com at $40 for adults and $35 for students/seniors.

Cole Porter fans will be able to celebrate his June 9th Birthday in style this year with Love, Linda: The Life of Mrs. Cole Porter. A filmed presentation of the show will star the musical’s co-creator and originator of the role Stevie Holland, with stage direction by Richard Maltby, Jr. Lyle Saunders is heading the production team. Robert Learner is the Director of Photography. Tickets for the World Premiere On-Demand event will go on sale in May, at Broadway On Demand. www.lovelindathemusical.com

Save the date for the 35th Annual MAC Awards Virtual celebration May 13th 7-8:30 pm for live-on-film performance tributes to the Cabaret community. Jenifer Lewis will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award; Tom and Michael D’Angora and Tim Guinee a Board of Directors Award for their work on Cabaret telethons; Seth Rudetsky and James Westley a Board of Directors Award for creating/hosting Stars in the House and Dave Goodside the MAC Humanitarian Award for feeding First Responders at the Beach Café. More information coming: www.Macnyc.com

Maestra Music, the not-for-profit organization supporting the women who make the music in the musical theater industry, hosts their inaugural Virtual Spring Concert, Amplify on March 29 at 8 pm ET.Directed by Tony Award nominee Kate Baldwin and produced by BaldwinGeorgia Stitt and Laura IveyAmplify 2021 is hosted by Tony Award nominee Brooks Ashmanskas and Drama Desk Award winner Andréa Burns. The evening will include performances from Ashley ParkNikki M. James, Brandon Victor DixonTanya BirlKenita MillerShelley ThomasEva Noblezada and Reeve Carney, along with appearances from Anais Mitchell, Kirsten Childs, Helen ParkRona Siddiqui, many more and a special appearance by Bernadette Peters. Register at: https://secure.givelively.org/event/maestra-music-inc/amplify

Illusionist Derren Brown is working on a new stage production of The Invisible Man with a script written by Barney Norris. H.G. Wells’ 1897 novel has had numerous incarnations including Maria Freidman (2010) at London’s Menier Chocolate Factory and a one-nighter directed by Marc Kudisch in 2019 called Invisible: A New Musical starring Krystina Alabado.  Derren Brown debuted on Broadway in 2019 in Derren Brown: Secret.

Ten finalists have been announced for the prestigious playwright award, the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, awarded to women playwrights. The following ten were chosen from an international group of over 160 nominated plays, the winner to be announced in April and awarded a $25,000 cash prize + a signed print by Willem de Kooning.  

Glace Chase (Aus/US) Triple X Erika Dickerson-Despenza (US) cullud wattah Miranda Rose Hall (US) A Play for the Living in the Time of Extinction Dawn King (UK) The Trials Kimber Lee (US) The Water Palace Janice Okoh (UK) The Gift Ife Olujobi (US) Jordans Frances Poet (UK) Maggie May Jiehae Park (US) The Aves Beth Steel (UK) The House of Shades . . . www.blackburnprize.org

Here are stats as to why The Actors Fund is so important and the reason to continue the numerous benefits and keep up the support. Brian Stokes Mitchell (Chairman) says it’s far from over! In the year since the Covid-19 pandemic shut down the Broadway industry, The Actors Fund has distributed more than $19 million in direct cash assistance to more than 15,000 people, with more than 40,000 individuals receiving assistance of one form or another from the Fund, a massive 71% increase from 2019. The 2020 distribution of funds is nine times that of an average year.