|Broadway Inspirational Voices Founder Michael McElroy to Step Down After 27 Years; Allen Rene Louis to Take Over|
|Posted by: Official_Press_Release 06:39 pm EDT 04/28/21|
|BROADWAY INSPIRATIONAL VOICES FOUNDER
AND ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
TO STEP DOWN IN JUNE 2021
AFTER TWENTY-SEVEN YEARS
TO BE SUCCEEDED BY
ASSOCIATE ARTISTIC DIRECTOR & CHOIR MEMBER
ALLEN RENÉ LOUIS
FOUNDER’S CIRCLE FUNDRAISING CAMPAIGN
TO CELEBRATE McELROY ANNOUNCED
New York, NY (April 28, 2021) – Broadway Inspirational Voices (BIV), the Tony Award-winning non-profit choir, announced today that Founder and Artistic Director Michael McElroy will step down from leading the organization after 27 years, effective June 30, 2021. McElroy will pass the baton to composer/lyricist, producer Allen René Louis, currently the Associate Artistic Director and a talented member of the BIV music team and choir.
A Tony and Grammy Award-nominated actor and composer, McElroy established BIV in 1994 in response to the AIDS epidemic as Broadway grappled with the loss of an entire generation of artists. He envisioned an organization where a diverse array of professional performers would come together and volunteer their talents to provide comfort, joy, and the promise of a better day. As a result, the Broadway Gospel Choir was born. The magical synergy of authentic Gospel, Soul and Broadway bravura was re-imagined as the Broadway Inspirational Voices in 1999, and the choir, a diverse ensemble made up of actors and musicians from Broadway and Off Broadway shows, has been the theatre community’s center of support and celebration ever since.
“For twenty-seven years, Broadway Inspirational Voices has been my heart,” said McElroy. “I do not look at this moment as an ending but a time for new beginnings. I am excited for what the future holds, and I am so thrilled to be leaving BIV in the exceptional hands of my friend Allen. When he joined BIV three years ago, I immediately recognized his talent and drive and have been preparing him to take the artistic reins.”
Louis was recently the composer, lyricist, arranger and music director for the inaugural Antonyo Awards, a celebration of black artists in the theatre industry, presented by Broadway Black. A rising composer in the industry, Louis will be a sustaining force in continuing and expanding the work for BIV.
It was also announced today that, as a major component of the transition plan, BIV has launched The Founder’s Circle Fundraising Campaign to celebrate McElroy’s legacy. With a fundraising goal of $300,000 by the end of June, The Founder’s Circle is an opportunity for diversity, inclusivity and community service-minded individuals, philanthropists, and members of the public and private sectors to support BIV’s mission and invest in its future and expansion.
Working with McElroy, the BIV Board of Directors has prepared a transition plan that includes a dynamic triad leadership team consisting of Board co-chairs Schele Williams and Robert Acton and newly appointed Executive Director and long-time choir member, Cynthia Vance, a former SAG Board member, industry advocate, and union leader. BIV Chair Emeritus and Tony Award-winner Phylicia Rashad will continue to provide her valuable support and guidance to the organization. In recognition of his 27 years of service to BIV, the Board has named McElroy a Director Emeritus.
Under McElroy’s leadership, BIV has delivered 27 years of music and service, partnering with organizations such as Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, The Actors Fund, Ronald McDonald House, and Covenant House. The choir recently joined Broadway luminaries in “We Will Be Back,” a special live pop-up experience in Times Square in commemoration of Broadway’s lost year of the coronavirus pandemic. As BIV’s Artistic Director, McElroy’s arrangements have been performed at Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Constitutional Hall, The Crystal Cathedral, colleges, universities and choirs around the country and around the globe. “Songs in the Key of Me,” BIV’s signature service event to bring awareness to Ronald McDonald’s House, has featured musical partners such as Sting, Jeanine Tesori, Tom Kitt and more. In addition to numerous concerts, the Grammy nominated choir has performed with award winning artists such as Mariah Carey, the Yeah Yeah Yeah's, Elton John, Vanessa Williams, Heather Headley and Billy Porter and has released two Christmas albums.
McElroy has played an instrumental role in bringing a diverse representation of Broadway together and transformed BIV into a flagship organization for the theatrical community and New York City. McElroy’s view of using music to bring awareness to issues such as disenfranchised youth and homeless; HIV/AIDS, and music education has made him an incredibly valuable ambassador for the Broadway community and the public and private sectors. McElroy’s influence has steadily grown the organization’s financial support, with major donors including Disney Theatrical Productions, The Shubert Organization, Benard L. Maas Foundation, and the John Gore Foundation. As a result of McElroy’s leadership and BIV’s impactful community service programs, in 2019 BIV received a special Tony Award for “Excellence in Theater,” an outstanding endorsement of the organization’s enduring work and service.
For more information about Broadway Inspirational Voices or to donate to The Founder’s Circle Campaign, visit http://www.broadwayinspirationalvoices.org/.
Michael McElroy is Associate Arts Professor in the New Studio on Broadway Musical Theater Acting Studio in Undergraduate Drama at Tisch School of the Arts. Michael is also Director of Diversity Initiatives for Undergraduate Drama Department. He teaches Vocal Performance. He received his BFA in Drama from Carnegie Mellon where he was just awarded the 2020 Alumni Achievement Award in December. As an actor, Michael appeared on Broadway in: Sunday in the Park with George (2017 revival with Jake Gyllenhaal and Annaleigh Ashford), Next To Normal, Rent(Closing Cast), The Wild Party, Big River (Tony Nomination Best Supporting Actor in a Musical, Drama Desk Nomination Best Actor in a Musical), The Who's Tommy, Miss Saigon, Patti LuPone on Broadway, and High Roller Social Pleasure Club. New York Philharmonic: Candide. National Tour: Next to Normal, Rent, Big River Sarafina. Off-Broadway: Some Men by Terrance McNally (Second Stage Theater), Blue (Roundabout), Violet (Original Cast, Playwrights Horizons, Drama Desk Nomination), Thunder Knocking on the Door (Minetta Lane), Richard III(NYSF starring Denzel Washington).
As a vocal arranger, Michael’s work has been heard in Broadway shows including Disaster! and Street Corner Symphony. Off-Broadway Michael’s arrangements have been heard in Our Lady of Kibeho by Katori Hall at the Signature Theater, Three Mo Tenors at the Little Shubert and regionally in Man in the Ring by Michael Cristofer at the Huntington Theater Company in Boston.
Michael is the Founder/Musical Director of Broadway Inspirational Voices (BIV) www.bivoice.org. In 2019 Michael accepted the Tony Award Honor for Excellence in the Theater on behalf of BIV from the American Theater Wing. Michael was nominated for a Grammy in 2005 for “Joy to the World” arrangement of BIV’s first holiday CD “Great Joy: A Gospel Christmas”. Under Michael’s direction, BIV has performed with such greats as Mariah Carey, Patti LuPone, Gloria Estefan, Jenifer Nettles, Idina Menzel, Harry Connick Jr., Jason Mraz, Sting, Elton John, Vanessa Williams, Patti LaBelle, Clay Aiken and Brian Stokes Mitchell, Billy Porter, and Heather Headley. BIV has performed on the stages of Carnegie Hall, David Geffen Hall and Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center and his works have been performed at The Kennedy Center, Constitution Hall, Lincoln Center, Crystal Cathedral as well as churches and concert halls around the world.
Michael is an Artist In Residence for the inaugural year of Little Island a founding member of Black Theatre United and Music Theater Dance Professionals in the Academy and MUSE (Musicians United for Social Equity). Michael sits on the board of National Youngarts Foundation and served as a panelist and Chair of the Theater panel for 7 years.
Michael is the Associate Chair of Professional Training at NYU/Tisch Department of Drama. He received the Martin Luther King Jr Faculty Award in 2021. Michael is also a YoungArts alum, l has directed the New York and Miami Regional shows for Youngarts, The Presidential Scholars performance at the Kennedy Center and served as Chair of the Theater panel for Youngarts finals week.
Allen René Louis is a Haitian-American composer, lyricist, actor, instrumentalist, vocalist, and producer. Known for his masterful vocal ranges, Allen’s dynamic musicality is deeply rooted in his soulful background and church upbringing. After being introduced to the world of music through his home church where his father pastored, Allen studied Vocal Performance at Manhattanville College, in Purchase, NY. While in attendance, Allen honed his musical skills by directing the male Acapella group, as well as leading the Gospel Choir. As a performer, Allen’s multifaceted talents quickly led him to ovations throughout the world. Allen has performed extensively with award-winning artist Ben Platt, appearing together on Jimmy Kimmel Live, in Ben’s Netflix special Sing to Me Instead at Radio City Music Hall, and throughout the International Tour of the same title. In 2019, Allen was cast in Hercules at the Delacorte Theatre in NYC’s Central Park as part of the city’s acclaimed Public Works initiative. Allen’s solo performances include a sold-out engagement of Allen Louis in Concert at the historical Palace Theatre in Stamford, CT (2018), his composer/lyricist debut concert at The Greenroom 42 in 2019, also sold-out, and most recently, a virtual concert entitled The Music of Allen René Louis aired worldwide in 2020.
Allen served as music director for the 2020 Musical Theatre Songwriting Challenge presented by The American Theatre Wing in partnership with The National Endowment for the Arts. He also made an incredible theatrical contribution as the composer, lyricist, arranger, and music director of the inaugural Antonyo Awards. The groundbreaking virtual celebration was presented by Broadway Black, an organization that fosters and inspires artistic diversity and excellence in theatre.
In 2018, Allen was invited to be a member of the Tony Award honored, Broadway Inspirational Voices (BIV). Soon after, he was appointed to BIV’s music team, where he worked closely with BIV’s founder and director, Michael McElroy. In 2020, Allen received a commission from BIV to write a new song for the ensemble’s virtual holiday concert. “We Will Be Back” was composed for performance by an international roster of performers from Broadway, U.S. National Tours, London’s West End, and Australia. After its initial release, “We Will Be Back” was chosen to be performed and recorded by an impressive list of Broadway stars during the spring of 2021. In January of 2021, in response to his immense skills and talents, Allen was chosen by McElroy to become BIV’s Associate Artistic Director.
Allen currently has a number of projects in development and hopes that his work will continue to inspire, uplift and bring about positive change. Allen’s prolific variety of compositions and his contribution to artistry are fully exhibited in his rising career. His innovative and passion-filled songwriting defines his work. Allen’s craft is electric and conveys a broad spectrum of emotions, which he passionately shares with others. His high-spirited artistic endeavors touch on various aspects of life and speak to his audience’s emotions in a uniquely powerful way. Led by his talents, Allen steers with his heart and embraces the calling to share his gifts with others.
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