What to expect when Norm Lewis and Joshua Henry face off at broadway againstHosted by Amber Iman
For this friendly battle between two Broadway titans, BAC co-founder Christian Dante White said “they’re both winners.”
Inspired by the popular webcast series VerzuzBroadway Advocacy Coalition will celebrate Tony-nominated stage veterans Norm Lewis and Joshua Henry at their second broadway against an event, broadcast live from New World Stages on June 20 at 7:30 p.m.
“Verzuz was created during the pandemic by hip hop music producers Swiss Beats and Timberland to celebrate the music catalog of other black artists on the verge of a friendly fight. My favorites were Brandy and Monica, and Gladys Knight and Patti LaBelle,” says the BAC co-founder and broadway against producer Christian Dante White. “BAC was inspired by this celebration of black music and we decided to bring it to our Broadway industry to celebrate black excellence.”
The event, following the presentation of Lillias White and André De Shields last year, will be hosted by Amber Iman and will feature a conversation between the two Tony nominees, in addition to songs from their stage careers, including the music of Once on this island, Carouseland The little Mermaid. Despite the competitive nature of the event, White says “they’re both winners.”
“They are enormous titans of the theater and we are honored to celebrate both of their epic back catalogs. It’s impossible to shed light on each of their hits, but we’ve cooked up a digestible tribute to them.”
However, this does not mean that the fun aspect does not enrich the program. “It gives us room to be creative and more interactive with our audience,” White says, before explaining that his favorite part of last year’s stream was the live chat feature offered via YouTube. “We couldn’t physically be in the room to honor Lillias and Andre, but the chat made us feel like we were. Amber was brilliant at engaging with the fans during the show. I’m thrilled to see what the cat will look like this year.”
While the broadcast portion of the night will be lively, broadway against will also welcome a live audience who have been asked to dress up in nines. “We did our best to invite several black male theater artists and theater staff to come together to celebrate these two black men,” says the co-founder. “We wanted Norm and Josh to see a sea of other black men at the theater celebrating them. Also, we invited everyone to dress up in their best costume, so I’m excited to celebrate and see all the looks. New York’s black theater community is like no other, and it’s always special to have events like this where we come together in love.”
Lewis’ stage credits include Chicken and cookies, Porgy and Bess of the Gershwins, The Little Mermaid, Love, The Wild Party, Chicago, Miss Saigon, Les Miserables, Sondheim on Sondheim, Once on this island, Side Spectacleand portraying the main character in the Off-Broadway production of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street at the Barrow Street Theatre. In 2014, he made history as the first African-American ghost in The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway.
The actor recently starred in Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods and FX Laid. Other screen credits include Women of the Movement (also featuring Adrienne Warren), the Apple TV animated series central parkand NBC Jesus Christ superstar in concert!alongside John Legend, Tony nominee Sara Bareilles and Alice Cooper.
Henry is currently on Apple TV See and previously starred in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Netflix adaptation of tick, tick… BOOM! His stage credits include Violet, Carousel, Waitress, Gershwin’s Porgy and BessThe Scottsboro Boys, American Idiot, In the Heights, Bring It On The Musical, Off Broadway the wrong man at the MCC Theater, Hamiltonnot in Los Angeles, and will soon be seen in the Broadway transfer of New York City Center’s In the woods.
To help BAC reach its fundraising goal of $100,000 and learn more about its programs, including its scholarship supporting the next generation of On-and-Off Broadway Color Leaders in partnership with Cody Renard Richard, his REP workshop and Change Agent Trainings to give change-makers the right tools and support, and his Theater of Change course taught at Columbia Law School, visit BroadwayVs.com and BwayAdvocacyCoalition.org.
Revisit the careers of Norm Lewis and Joshua Henry before broadway against in the gallery below.