Join Broadway Celebrates Juneteenth, Leslie Uggams, And Ben Vereen Honored With Legacy Awards

June 17, 2022
Leslie Uggams, Wikipedia

Broadway Celebrates Juneteenth, part of The Broadway League’s Black to Broadway Initiative, returns to Times Square.

The event will take place on Sunday, June 19, 2022, with Tony Award®-winner James Monroe Iglehart as host, and includes special guest appearances by 2022 Tony Award-winner Myles Frost (MJ The Musical), 2022 Tony Award nominee Jared Grimes (Funny Girl), Alex Newell, and many more.

This year’s event includes the inaugural presentation of the Juneteenth Legacy Awards honoring Leslie Uggams and Ben Vereen for their incredible community involvement and astounding achievements on Broadway.

Broadway Celebrates Juneteenth starts at noon and is a free 90-minute concert featuring Black performers, and allies, performing their own works of art, with their song, dance, and poetry accompanied by live music provided by The Music Performance Trust Fund.

The event features cast members from Broadway shows including: The Book of MormonCompanyDear Evan HansenFunny GirlThe MinutesMoulin Rouge! The MusicalMr. Saturday NightParadise SquareThe Phantom of the Opera; and Tina – The Tina Turner Musical.

The afternoon celebration also includes kids from current and recent Broadway shows performing a rendition of “Young, Gifted, and Black.”

Charlotte St. Martin, President of The Broadway League said, “We congratulate Leslie Uggams and Ben Vereen as the two inaugural recipients of the Juneteenth Legacy Award honors. They are artists of great caliber who have certainly left their mark on Broadway.

As the Broadway community gathers in Times Square to celebrate Juneteenth, we take this opportunity to acknowledge these two dedicated individuals who have shown great commitment to education, philanthropy, and advocacy work on behalf of their communities.”

Special thanks to United Airlines, the sponsor of The Broadway League’s Black to Broadway initiative and presenting sponsor of Broadway Celebrates Juneteenth.

Other support comes from M·A·C Cosmetics (who will be giving away free mascara to the first 100 attendees), and to Times Square Alliance.

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The goal of Black to Broadway is to inspire deeper engagement with an awareness of, and access to Broadway for all Black people. 

Read more about Black to Broadway

The creative and production team includes Steve H. Broadnax III as Director and Writer, Rashad McPherson as Music Director, Brian Moreland and Aaliytha Stevens as Executive Producers, Nzinga Williams and Devon Miller of Foresight Theatrical as General Managers, and Jhanaë Bonnick as Stage Manager.


Leslie Uggams

Leslie Uggams is a Tony and Emmy Award-winning actress and singer whose career has brought her from Harlem (The Apollo Theater) to Broadway (Hallelujah, Baby!), the big screen (Deadpool, Skyjacked) to television (Empire, The Leslie Uggams Show). Perhaps best known for her stirring portrayal of Kizzy in the landmark TV mini-series Alex Haley’s Roots (Critics Choice Award, Emmy and Golden Globe nominations), Leslie has performed to critical and popular acclaim ever since her first professional appearances at the age of nine at the famed Apollo Theater in New York City. There she opened for such musical legends as Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, and Dinah Washington. Now, after seven decades on stage and screen, Leslie is a legend in her own right. She is a past member of the Board of Directors of the Apollo, and she holds Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degrees from the University of Connecticut and the University of Michigan. She is also the recipient of an American Artist Award from Arena Stage in Washington, DC and a 2021 inductee into the Theater Hall of Fame. During the 2022 Broadway Celebrates Juneteenth event in Times Square, Leslie will be awarded the inaugural Juneteenth Legacy Award, which will be presented to two luminary members of the Black Broadway community.

On Broadway, Leslie made her stunning musical theatre debut starring in Hallelujah, Baby! earning both Tony and Theatre World awards. Since then, she has starred on Broadway in Her First Roman with Richard Kiley, Blues in the Night, Jerry’s GirlsAnything Goes at Lincoln Center Theater (also the first national tour), King Headley II with Brian Stokes Mitchell (Tony Award nomination), Thoroughly Modern Millie, and On Golden Pond opposite James Earl Jones. Off-Broadway Leslie has won Audelco Awards forThe Old Settler, Keb Mo’s blues musical Thunder Knocking on the Door, and First Breeze of Summer at the acclaimed Signature Theatre. Favorite regional roles include Mame; A Little Night MusicThe RinkInto the Woods; Master Class; Call Me MadamBlue; Hello, Dolly!; and the national tour of Guys and Dolls.

In addition, Leslie has toured nationally, performing to sold-out audiences, with her autobiographical one-woman musical Uptown/Downtown (LA Drama Critics Circle Award, NAACP Theatre Award, IRNE Award, Broadway World People’s Choice Award) which chronicles her extraordinary career in stories and song. From New York to Boston and Los Angeles, critics have raved, calling Leslie “dazzling,” “indefatigable,” and “delectable!” Leslie also made theater history by becoming the first African American actress to portray the iconic character of Mama Rose in Connecticut Repertory Theatre’s acclaimed production of Gypsy. She also starred in the Encores! presentation of Pipe Dream at New York City Center and in the world premiere of Stormy Weather: The Lena Horne Story (Ovation nomination) at the Pasadena Playhouse in California, where she broke the all-time house attendance record.

For more information, please visit her online at, on Twitter @LeslieUggams, and on Instagram @LeslieUggams1.

Ben Vereen

Known as the Ultimate Showman, Ben Vereen made his Broadway debut in Hair, followed by the original cast of Jesus Christ Superstar, where he received the Theatre World Award. He then took Broadway by storm with his Tony Award-winning performance as Leading Player in Bob Fosse’s Pippin, which started his long friendship and relationship with Fosse.

Other Broadway roles followed in GrindJelly’s Last JamFosseI’m Not Rappaport and as The Wonderful Wizard of Oz in Wicked. On tour, he starred in Sweet CharityHairPippin, and Chicago in Las Vegas.

Ben recently returned to New York City after appearing as a recurring character in the Chuck Lorre CBS series “B Positive,” and last year wrapped multiple episodes of “The Good Fight” playing Frederick Douglass. He performed his concert act for the Star Trek Convention in Las Vegas last August, and has upcoming dates in Chicago, the Carolinas, and Las Vegas. During the pandemic, Ben remained incredibly busy, supporting multiple organizations, especially the arts and The Actor’s Fund now named Entertainment Community Fund. He also held a very successful 8-week virtual masterclass series presented by Bay Street Theatre. Ben appeared in Times Square for the Juneteenth celebration in 2021 and was featured in Town and Country. And after the pandemic shutdown appeared with Brian Stokes Mitchell in the “It’s Showtime in NYC” commercial for the reopening of Broadway.

Ben is an active member of Americans for the Arts, the largest advocacy group of the Arts in America. He went to Washington DC and spoke before Congress defending the National Endowment for the Arts against the proposed budget cuts.

For his humanitarian contributions, he has received a number of awards including Israel’s Cultural and Humanitarian Awards, three NAACP Image Awards, an Eleanor Roosevelt Humanitarian Award, and a Victory Award.

He has received honorary doctorates from the University of Arizona, Emerson College, and Columbia College in Chicago. He received an Achievement in Excellence Award from his alma mater, the High School of the Performing Arts. Ben has also been inducted into The Theatre Hall of Fame, the Dance Hall of Fame, and has received various Emmy and Golden globe nominations. In New York City he received the Broadway World Cabaret Award for BEST CELEBRITY MALE VOCALIST. Ben received the Career Achievement Award (Le Prix International Film Star Awards Organization).

He is most proud of his ongoing work involving the Arts and Education and providing the youth with arts programs across America. Last November, Ben received the Lifetime Achievement Award from The Gold Coast International Film Festival.

This year he was honored as a living legend by The American Black Film Institute. During the 2022 Broadway Celebrates Juneteenth event in Times Square, Ben will be awarded the inaugural Juneteenth Legacy Award, which will be presented to two luminary members of the Black Broadway community.

Ben recently recorded the song “We Sing for Ukraine” which benefits the children of Ukraine through the humanitarian efforts of UNICEF and Abundance International.


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M·A·C (Make-up Art Cosmetics)

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Event Details

The event Broadway Celebrates Juneteenth takes place on Sunday, June 19, 2022, at Noon-1:30 pm; rain or shine, at Duffy Square in Times Square (Broadway between 45th & 47 th Streets), the event is Free.

Get more information at

Please note that performances and artists are subject to change.

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