The Seattle rap duo is heading to Broadway for a fundraiser to aid Construction for Change, an organization that helps build medical centers for victims of HIV.
Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, whose 30/30 Project raised more than $152,000 on Kickstarter to build healthcare centers worldwide, are heading to Broadway for their next fund-raiser.
The Seattle rap duo has partnered with the Tony-nominated play “Mothers and Sons” at the Golden Theater to raise awareness and funds for the Construction for Change, which will help build medical centers for victims of HIV. Post-show donations will be collected and merchandise, including posters and packs of Oreos signed by the cast and playwright Terrence McNally, will be sold, and 30/30 will put the proceeds toward the organization.
On June 11, Lewis’ mother Julie will attend the performance and join the cast for a post-show “TalkOut” to discuss the topics the play and the organization share.
“It’s always been my goal to marry commercial productions with social justice,” lead producer Tom Kirdahy tells Billboard. “June is pride month so it feels right to be launching this at this moment. It starts here on Broadway, and hopefully it will extend well beyond New York. The mission of 30/30 is universal. There’s no expiration date and there’s no reason to stop.”
When Lewis’s mother gave birth to his sister, Teresa, she contracted HIV from a blood transfusion after complications from the delivery. Once she was diagnosed -- and had already birthed Ryan and his sister Laura -- the doctors gave her a few years to live. Thirty years later, Julie Lewis is alive and an advocate for HIV awareness.
“Mothers and Sons” centers on a mother who returns to New York City years after her son’s death from AIDS and visits his former partner, who is married with a son. McNally and its lead actress, Tyne Daly, are up for Tonys, which will be presented on June 8.
“This vital play keeps the message going strong, and we are proud to lend our voices to help this cause,” Macklemore and Ryan Lewis said in a joint statement.
Producers of “Mothers and Sons” reached out to Julie Lewis about working with 30/30 after the play raised more than $100,000 during this spring's Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS fundraiser.
Prior to working on Broadway, Kirdahy had a career in law, though he left his job at a cushy law firm to give free legal advice to people with HIV, He would spend his evenings caring for his friends suffering from the virus. "We were living in a war zone," he says of the time. The producer also adds that he is a fan of Ryan Lewis and Macklemore, particularly their song “Same Love,” which promotes marriage equality.
Although the 30/30 Project is not LGBTQ-specific, Kirdahy says the message is universal and hopes that the partnership extends throughout the Broadway run and continues when the play is performed across the U.S. and around the world next year.