Hit musical Wicked is hosting a special event performance with rugby star and ally Ben Cohen, as well as gay columnist Dan Savage, to combat anti-gay bullying.
The British and American stars, who will be raising money for UK-based Stand Up Foundation and US-based It Gets Better Project, will participate in a post-show forum on anti-homophobia efforts.
Based on Gregory Maguire’s novels, Wicked tells the story of how the Wizard of Oz’s Witch of the West got her name, and how she may not be as wicked as she may to be.
The breakout song ‘Defying Gravity’, which closes the musical’s first act, has been described as an anti-bullying anthem.
Theater expert Randy Rainbow has said: ‘Every time Elphaba is catapulted into the skies of Oz during ‘Defying Gravity,’ she’s soaring for all homos who ever wished they could tower over gym class bullies or rise above a dinner table of family who didn’t understand them to proclaim, ‘Everyone deserves the chance to fly! It’s a therapeutic moment.’
Cohen is one of the first straight professional athletes in Britain to focus his philanthropic efforts for the benefit of the gay community.
On the website, Cohen says: ‘‘Every person on this planet has a right to be true to themselves, to love and be loved, and to be happy. I encourage others to stand up with me and make a difference.’
Savage, who writes a sex and life advice column, created It Gets Better as a reaction to the wave of gay teen suicides.
It inspired thousands of videos, from celebrities and civilians alike, to let terrified teens know being gay gets better with time.
Wicked will be hosting the special event in honor of National Coming Out Day on 11 October.
If you would like to buy tickets to the event held in New York City, click here.