A quartet of Stephen Sondheim musical veterans are the afternoon guests on Stars in the House as the daily live streamed concert series celebrates the composer's 90th birthday March 22. The 2 PM stream, hosted by Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley, features Tony winner Joanna Gleason and Chip Zien (Into the Woods), Tony winner Len Cariou (Sweeney Todd), and Tony nominee Liz Callaway (Merrily We Roll Along).
The series, which launched March 16, promotes support for The Actors Fund and its services in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Previous guests have included Tony winner Kelli O'Hara, four-time Tony nominee Judy Kuhn, Tony winner Lindsay Mendez, Tony winner Ruthie Ann Miles, Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Melissa Manchester, Tony nominee Anika Larsen, Tony-winning composer Tom Kitt, Tony nominee Keala Settle, Tony-winning composer Marc Shaiman, Tony winner Jessie Mueller, Tony winner Norbert Leo Butz, Tony nominee Patrick Wilson, Tony winner Andrea Martin, Tony winner Audra McDonald and Tony nominee Will Swenson, Tony winner Kristin Chenoweth, and Tony winner and Actors Fund Chairman Brian Stokes Mitchell.
New shows air daily at 2 PM ET and 8 PM ET (9 PM March 22), featuring performances by stars of stage and screen and conversations with Rudetsky between each tune. Rudetsky will encourage live viewers to donate, and Wesley will give updates from The Fund as well as shout-outs to people donating in real time. Dr. Jonathan LaPook, chief medical correspondent for CBS News, will also make frequent appearances to answer questions and offer best practices.
Tony winner Jason Alexander, also part of the cast of the original Broadway production of Sondheim's Merrily We Roll Along, and members of the cast of the 2020 revival of Company are the March 22 at 9 PM (note the later time) guests. Watch previous Stars in the House concerts here.
“Our main concern is raising spirits and helping The Fund help those who are suffering,” Rudetsky said. “We’re hoping that everyone watching will not only enjoy the amazing singing and the inside Broadway stories, but also donate to the Actors Fund. And, because social distancing is so important right now, every star will be singing from his or her own home!”
Additional stars who have already confirmed appearances as part of the initiative: Iain Armitage, Shoshana Bean, Laura Benanti, Sierra Boggess, Wayne Brady, Betty Buckley, Laura Bell Bundy, Andréa Burns, Kerry Butler, Ann Hampton Callaway, Carolee Carmello, Gavin Creel, Melissa Errico, Raul Esparza, Christopher Fitzgerald, Ana Gasteyer, Mandy Gonzalez, Justin Guarini, Debbie Gravitte, James Monroe Iglehart, Jeremy Jordan, Marc Kudish, Linda Lavin, Beth Leavel, Telly Leung, Beth Malone, Idina Menzel, Rosie O’Donnell, Alice Ripley, Adam Pascal, Faith Prince, Kate Shindle, Jennifer Simard, Elizabeth Stanley, Marissa Jaret Winokur with more to be announced.
As is the case for husband-and-husband duo Rudetsky and Wesley, many stars live together. Stars in the House has confirmed celebrity couples Sebastian Arcelus and Stephanie J. Block, Will Chase and Ingrid Michaelson, Jen Cody and Hunter Foster, Jenn Colella and Chilina Kennedy, Colin Donnell and Patti Murrin, Santino and Jessica Fontana, Andy Karl and Orfeh, Liz Larsen and Sal Viviano, and Steven Pasquale and Phillipa Soo.
“Now more than ever, people in our community are depending on The Fund’s vital services,” said Mitchell. “It’s critical that we be there for those in need, in particular our seniors and the immuno-compromised individuals who need our help, as well as those in financial distress.”
Stars in the House will stream daily until Broadway re-opens.
As the situation surrounding the coronavirus outbreak continues to evolve, The Actors Fund will provide services online and via phone. These services include Artists Health Insurance Resource Center, The Career Center, Housing Resources, Addiction & Recovery, HIV/AIDS and Senior Services, Counseling and Emergency Financial Assistance, as well as The Friedman Health Center for the Performing Arts in New York City.
To make a tax-deductible donation to The Actors Fund visit ActorsFund.org/Donate.