The Austin Artists Project and Playbill Bring an Inclusive Austin Music Showcase to Lincoln Center: Sing It! goes from local pandemic production to the Big Apple – Arts

It started with a passing peer-to-peer comment at the 2019 Tony Awards. Grammy-winning singer Mela Sarajane Dailey sat with a group of producers and fellow performer Beth Malone. Dailey recalled one of the producers asking him and Malone, “‘Wouldn’t it be so great if you two could do some kind of Broadway review during Pride?'”

Mela Sarajane Dailey

The following day, Dailey had sent a 28-page PowerPoint to the producers’ production team, envisioning a bigger show than the producers had originally proposed. And sing! was born.

The show was supposed to premiere on Broadway during the first COVID summer and, of course, was canceled. For the summer of 2021, Dailey was determined to get artists back to work. An empty parking lot, a 225-foot LED screen and a film crew were set up. The show first took place in Austin that summer.

Almost a year later, SingOut! returns to the city where the idea was born, specifically to Lincoln Center on June 20. The upcoming show is a collaboration between the Austin Artists Project, founded by Dailey, and the theater publication Playbill. AAP was founded in 2019 to create opportunities for women, people of color and the queer community, Dailey explained.

Dailey will be joined by six other award-winning performers, including Austin’s Kenny Williams for the show, which draws inspiration from Broadway greats, like Rodgers and Hammerstein, and more recent works, like The purple color and Hadesville.

The partnership comes as elected officials push legislation that negatively affects the LGBTQ+ community. Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick announced in April that he would prioritize passage of a bill coined by critics as the “Don’t Say Gay Law.” The law, already passed in Florida, made teachers afraid to talk about sexual orientation or gender identity for fear of professional or legal repercussions. During a visit to Austin in May, former President Donald Trump expressed support for the bill, saying “teachers shouldn’t be allowed to teach transgender people.”

To fight against this marginalization (to put it mildly), Dailey wants to invite everyone to take a seat at this theatrical table. “And if we really show representation of the trans community and the gay community, and I will represent all the bisexuals that I can,” Dailey said. “It’s about representing and showing these groups of students arriving. You count.”


Sing Out!, Rose Theater at the Jazz Club at Lincoln Center, New York, June 20. Tickets for the show available at austinartistsproject.org/singout A portion of the proceeds from ticket sales will go to the Human Rights Campaign.

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