In the spirit of such all-star benefit records as USA for Africa’s “We Are the World” (1985) and the tsunami relief track “Tears in Heaven” (2004), Broadway stars are responding to Sunday’s shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, with a recording of “What the World Needs Now Is Love.”
“The Broadway community was so terribly shaken and devastated by the horrific tragedy in Orlando,” SiriusXM Radio host Seth Rudetsky told People magazine Wednesday. “Everyone wanted to do something as quickly as possible that would truly make a difference. On Monday, my husband James [Wesley, a producer] woke me up at 7:30 a.m. and suggested we rally our friends and colleagues to do a ‘We Are the World’-type recording and raise money for the victims and their families.”
The project, dubbed Broadway for Orlando, quickly materialized, he said. “We started making calls, and suddenly we had tons of theater actors along with an orchestra and the services of a fully-staffed recording studio, all willing to donating their time and talent.”
People said 100 percent of the proceeds from the song — a cover of the Hal David-Burt Bacharach hit first performed by Jackie DeShannon in 1965 — will benefit the LGBT support organization The Center, in Orlando. The $1.99 single, scheduled to be recorded in New York, Los Angeles and Miami on Wednesday, can be preordered at BroadwayRecords.com.
Those lending voices to the recording include Lin-Manuel Miranda, Sara Bareilles, Roger Bart, Kristen Bell, Wayne Brady, Matthew Broderick, Michael Cerveris, Fran Drescher, Gloria Estefan, Sutton Foster, Whoopi Goldberg, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Joel Grey, Sean Hayes, Heather Headley, Megan Hilty, Bill Irwin, Carole King, Jane Krakowski, Nathan Lane, Zachary Levi, Andrea Martin, Audra McDonald, Idina Menzel, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Jessie Mueller, Rosie O’Donnell, Kelli O’Hara, Sarah Jessica Parker, Rosie Perez, Bernadette Peters, Billy Porter, Chita Rivera, Lillias White, Marissa Jaret Winokur and BD Wong.