Six-time Tony winner Audra McDonald and Tony nominee Will Swenson are the latest artists to take part in Stars in the House, the new daily live streamed concert series created by Playbill correspondent and SiriusXM Broadway host Seth Rudetsky and producer James Wesley.
The series—which launched March 16 with Tony winner Kelli O'Hara—promotes support for The Actors Fund and its services in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Previous guests have also included 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, and Tony winner and Actors Fund Chairman Brian Stokes Mitchell.
New shows air daily at 2 PM ET and 8 PM ET, 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.
“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, Liz 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 married duo Rudetsky and Wesley, many stars live together—husband-and-wife Swenson and McDonald included. Stars in the House has confirmed additional 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.