Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS has long collaborated to raise money for individuals affected by AIDS and other illnesses. In promotion of this gallant effort, they have just released the nineteenth volume of their “Broadway’s Carols for a Cure” series, featuring new, original recordings from the stars of leading Great White Way musicals including “Hamilton,” “Waitress,” “A Bronx Tale,” “Dear Evan Hansen” “Come From Away” and more.

Once again, Producer Lynn Pinto and engineer Andros Rodriguez have partnered to create this year’s album. Recently, via an exclusive interview, Lynn discussed her experiences working on this series.

Broadway, performers, and albums

Meagan Meehan (MM): How did you get interested in music and what is your connection to Broadway?

Lynn Pinto (LP): I’ve been a performer my whole life. I went to college for voice performance and musical theater at Carnegie Mellon and The Boston Conservatory and began working in theater as soon as I graduated. When I was in the cast of the Broadway Revival of “The Sound of Music,” sound engineer George Huckins (who worked on “Sunset Boulevard,” “School of Rock,” and “Mamma Mia,” among others) and I produced our first recording of the women from the show. Our album was called "Simple Gifts: Carols from the Abbey."

Rebecca Luker, Patti Cohenour, and Jeanne Lehman sang on it, as well as all of the nuns and the "Von Trapp" kids.

Our composers and arrangers included Jeanine Tesori, David Nehls, Steven Tyler and me. We recorded it in a church on Christopher Street. Originally, we planned to make enough just to give to our friends and families for the holidays but then decided to sell it during our Broadway Cares holiday fundraising.

The album was a huge hit.

We kept having to reorder more and more. The following year, our show had closed, so I asked Broadway Cares if they would be ok if I asked each cast to participate in making it a Broadway-wide recording. They loved the idea, and so did the casts, so 1999 was the first year (volume 1).

MM: Did you ever expect that “Carols for a Cure” would evolve into such a hugely popular series?

LP: Not really but we knew it was fun to do, and it was raising a lot of money. However, there was no long-term plan at the time. However, it very quickly became an institution.

MM: Do you have a favorite volume or song on one of them?

LP: It’s hard to choose. I have memories of favorite sessions and of course some favorite songs, plus I’ve had the privilege of working with some world-class artists, so between them, I could fill a couple of albums with favorite songs.

Nick Jonas' first ever recording was in 2002 when he played Chip in "Beauty and the Beast." He and his dad Kevin wrote an original song called "Joy to the World" for the album. I remember telling Kevin that Nick's voice reminded me of a young Michael Jackson.

Apparently, that was the song that gave The Jonas Brothers their start!

Over the years, huge stars have participated in their company's recordings. Idina Menzel, Sting, Hugh Jackman, Daniel Radcliffe, Ricky Martin, Antonio Banderas and so many others have joined their casts and orchestras to bring special attention to their offerings. Certainly, those were fun and exciting sessions, but the real story of these albums are that the musicians and actors who perform eight shows a week, while juggling families, rehearsals and their busy lives, yet they come back year after year for the creative outlet this project provides, but more importantly, to show their unwavering commitment to those who are less fortunate.

Songs, musicians, and artists

MM: Volume 19 is coming out now, so which songs do you think have especially powerful meanings and/or catchy beats?

LP: This year’s album is one of the most consistently excellent ones I’ve ever worked on. Without exception, each company brought their own style and individual talents to their song. I really do love all of them!

Some standouts are "Wicked’s" incredible and complex arrangement of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” by newcomer Daniel Lincoln, “Down in Yon Forest" by the company of "Dear Evan Hansen” the Revolutionary War hymn, “Chester,” by the cast of “Hamilton.”

Also, two famous writing teams lent their songs this year. "Anastasia’s" lyricist Lynn Ahrens and composer Stephen Flaherty generously allowed their company to use a song they wrote years ago called "All Those Christmas Cliches” and Lyricist Marcy Heisler and composer Zina Goldrich lent the lovely ladies of "War Paint" for their wonderful song, “I Can't Wait for Christmas.”

MM: This album helps people who have AIDS, so have you personally known anyone affected by this illness?

LP: Yes of course. Some are still here, thanks to the cocktail, but sadly, many lost their battles long ago.

MM: What other illnesses can proceeds of this album help people cope with?

LP: Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS supports health clinics around the country and the world, as well as disaster relief efforts and any major event in which people need help.

MM: What have been the most rewarding experiences you’ve had producing “Carols for a Cure” and/or the most memorable feedback?

LP: It's always exciting to work with singers and musicians, coming up with new ideas to make the song even better or shaping the song in ways we didn't anticipate. It's such a collaborative effort. I can't say enough about the enormous pool of talented artists in the few square blocks of the theater district.

But at the end of the day, what I love most is seeing good friends coming back year after year. I love seeing people's families grow or their careers take flight. It's a great way for all of us to touch base and reflect on how lucky we are to be together for yet another year of making music for a cause we all hold dear -- Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.