In the Name of Michael, Broadway Battles Bullying

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Michael Morones
Michael Morones
Michael Morones

Plenty of people still think bullying is nonsense. These ignoramuses would also contend that the anti-bullying movement is asinine, nanny-state nonsense. Yet unless one grew up under a rock or in some hazy, idiosyncratic, halcyon environment, we know bullying has always been ubiquitous: If we weren’t razzed or teased or pushed or goaded or mocked or laughed at in playgrounds or buses or in the gym, the auditorium or the classroom, we were likely partaking in the razzing, teasing, pushing, goading, mocking or laughing — or we were witness to it. That’s why scoffing at anti-bullying efforts is what is asinine and nonsensical. Those who dumbly toss it off with blithe “kids will be kids” dismissals are potentially committing acts of sadistic cruelty in an era when the bullying of the young by the young has gone from bothersome to brutal to life-threatening and life-destroying in a generation. Enough.

On Jan. 23 of this year, Michael Morones, an 11-year-old North Carolina boy, tried to hang himself from his bunk bed. His classmates had been viciously bullying him because he loves the TV show My Little Pony. it was a miracle that Morones was found in enough time to save his life, but it wasn’t soon enough to prevent permanent and severe brain damage. For a time it was unclear whether he would even leave the hospital. Currently he is undergoing intensive rehabilitation as the extent of his potential recovery remains unclear. What is known is that he will require managed care for the remainder of his life.

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The Michael Morones Foundation has thus been created in the wake of this terrible incident. And a benefit concert, called Broadway Battles Bullying, will take place on Mon., Apr. 14 at 7pm at New York University’s Skirball Center for the Performing Arts (566 LaGuardia Pl.) to raise funds for it. The honorary host committee includes Sir Ian McKellen, Sir Patrick Stewart, Mary-Louise Parker, Paula Cole, Megan Hilty, Jonathan Gross and Julia Murney. On stage, the concert will feature world-renowned mezzo-soprano and Metropolitan Opera star Joyce DiDonato, Tony-winner Dan Fogler (The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee), Stephen Wallem (Nurse Jackie), Jill Paice (Matilda: The Musical), Carrie Manolakos (Mamma Mia!), Jennifer Laura Thompson (Nice Work If You Can Get It) Joe Iconis and Family (NBC’s Smash), Lauren Worsham (A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder), Aidan Gemme (Waiting for Godot), Natalie Joy Johnson (Kinky Boots), Anastacia McCleskey (The Book of Mormon), Shakina Nayfack (One Woman Show), Jake Lucas (Newsies) and Sydney Lucas (Fun Home). The event will also include a silent auction at 6pm before the concert.

Concert and/or tax-deductible VIP tickets, ranging in price from $40 to $500, can be purchased at the official Broadway Battles Bullying website,or by writing a check to the Triangle Community Foundation with “Michael Morones Fund” in the memo line. Mail checks directly to Broadway Battles Bullying Executive Producer Rich Silverstein (including your email address and phone number) as follows:

c/o Rich Silverstein
32-15 35th St, Apt F1
Astoria, NY 11106