A slew of performers from Broadway musicals — including cast members of Chicago, Rent and The Producers — will help Rosie O'Donnell bid farewell on her final live broadcast Wednesday, May 22. The aforementioned shows will take part in a production number at the very beginning of "The Rosie O'Donnell Show," and guests for O'Donnell's adieu will include Tony winners Nathan Lane and Christine Ebersole. There are other special surprises lined up for the gala goodbye broadcast, O'Donnell's publicist admitted.
O'Donnell's final week begins on May 20 with an episode being dubbed "Rosie Unplugged," which will feature the daytime talk-show host and former star of Broadway's Grease! and Seussical looking back at her favorite moments of the show's six-year run. Tuesday's program will include chats with a "superkid" as well as interviews with "Today Show" co-host Katie Couric and singer Marc Anthony.
Previously taped but unaired episodes of "The Rosie O'Donnell Show" will continue to air through June 27, and reruns of the acclaimed talkfest will air in July and August. Actress Caroline Rhea, who has hosted O'Donnell's show numerous times, will officially take over as host come September. With a working title of "The Caroline Rhea Show," the program will feature John McDaniel — who served as conductor of Rosie's band for the length of her run — as a special Broadway correspondent. McDaniel recently announced he would not continue with the program on a full-time basis in order to pursue other ventures.