Tony-nominated actor Christopher Jackson — best known for his role as George Washington in the musical theater juggernaut “Hamilton” — is presenting a livestream concert to benefit non-profit arts presenters.
“Christopher Jackson: Live from the West Side” will stream 7 p.m. CST Aug. 15. And the University of Texas’ Texas Performing Arts is one of a select group of nonprofit arts organizations that will benefit.
“Nonprofit arts presenters are the lifeblood of the performing arts industry and a pipeline for young talent. Without them there is no Broadway,” said Jackson in a press statement. “While everything is shutdown during this terrible pandemic, I am delighted to be able to help spread some joy and help raise some much needed support for these deserving organizations.”
Texas Performing Arts, which operates the Bass Concert Hall, has cancelled all its shows since mid-March because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Accompanied by a live band, Jackson will be performing songs from his favorite musicals, pop standards, and some of his original material, and will share stories from his time affiliated with two of the most important musicals of the last decade “In The Heights” and “Hamilton.” Audience members can text in questions and some will be answered during the live event.
The livestream, which is a co-production of Dallas Summer Musicals and Entertainment Benefits Group, is being shared by a number of nonprofit arts presenters around the country. The event will take place at New York’s New World Stages, the off-Broadway venue that has housed productions of “Jersey Boys,” “Avenue Q” and many others.
Tickets are $40 per household and include access to the livestream performance plus an additional 72 hours of on-demand viewing. Proceeds will support Texas Performing Arts’ reopening and recovery efforts. Tickets can be purchased at texasperformingarts.org
“We’re happy to bring Austin’s Broadway fans this unique opportunity to experience a great performer live on screen from New York,” said Texas Performing Arts Executive Director Bob Bursey in a press statement. “While we can’t experience the power of performance together in person, an interactive live concert specifically for Austin and selected other communities around the country is the next best thing.”
Beyond “Hamilton” Jackson’s Broadway credits include the role of Benny in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s ” In The Heights,” as well as “Holler if Ya Hear Me, After Midnight,” “The Bronx Bombers (Derek Jeter), “Memphis” (Delray Farrell) and “The Lion King” (Simba).
This week, Broadway Across America, the production company that brings touring Broadway shows to Bass Concert Hall, announced a revised 2020-21 season that has no productions scheduled for this fall, launching in January 2021 with “Tootsie.”
Of course, with the virus still not under control nor an approved vaccine available, any future dates seem aspirational, and Texas Performing Arts officials released a statement about re-opening only when it is appropriate to do so:
Texas Performing Arts is carefully working to be prepared for reopening Bass Concert Hall and its other venues in accordance with CDC, State, and University guidelines when it is appropriate to do so. With the schedule changes to the 2020-2021 Broadway in Austin season, the first engagement is now scheduled for January 2021. As knowledge about COVID-19 continues to increase, planned health and safety measures for Broadway in Austin events will be communicated to patrons closer to the performance dates. These will include venue sanitization, audience policies, and employee and backstage measures.