Tony winner Ben Platt and Kennedy Center Honoree Carole King represented Broadway September 28 when they each hit the stage at the Global Citizen Fest, Platt as a special guest and King as a headliner. Both have been busy, Platt launching his new Netflix series The Politician and readying for his Radio City Music Hall debut September 29, and King preparing to say goodbye to her Broadway show when Beautiful closes October 27. But both made time to bring their music to Central Park’s Great Lawn to raise awareness to the Global Citizen movement.
Since 2012, the Global Citizen Festival has gathered the greatest names in music as a way to raise awareness and funds to achieve the 17 United Nations Global Goals Sustainable Development and end extreme poverty by 2030. Attendees (a.k.a. Global Citizens) earned their entrance to the 2019 Festival by joining the social action platform for a chance for their names to be drawn. Visit GlobalCitizen.org for more info
The 2019 Festival featured performances by special guests French Montana, Jon Batiste & Stay Human, David Gray, NCT 127, and Platt, with headliners OneRepublic, King, H.E.R., Alicia Keys, Pharell Williams, and Queen + Adam Lambert, hosted by Hugh Jackman and Debora-lee Furness.
Here are the highlights from the epic night:
1. Ben Platt Giving Us Life
Backed by Stay Human, Platt nailed his performances of “Bad Habit” from his album Sing to Me Instead and his latest single “Rain.” The Dear Evan Hansen Tony winner brought his familiar charm to the stage (noting that his mom and dad were in the audience). But the riffs alone were worth coming for.
2. Carole King Dueting With Kelly Clarkson
King had not performed in Central Park since 1973, until she stepped onstage September 28. Clarkson introduced King for her set, recalling how (as a kid) she wore out her copy of the icon’s Tapestry album. That made it all the more heartwarming when Clarkson joined King onstage for their rendition of “Where You Lead.” Of course, King also sang her signature “Beautiful” and “You’ve Got a Friend.”
3. Carole King Dueting With Herself!
In a moment of brilliance, Global Citizen created a once-in-a-lifetime moment. Projecting a video of King at age 29 singing “Natural Woman,” the 77-year-old King harmonized with herself. She closed out her set with “I Feel the Earth Move” as a way to honor Global Citizen’s environmental goals and her personal work to save 24 million acres of land in the Northern Rocky Mountains. And can we just say how amazing she still sounds? That’s some vocal care for you.
4. Alicia Keys Singing Billy Joel
The 15-time Grammy winner gave an epic performance, including such hits as “Girl On Fire,” “If I Ain’t Got You,” and a new song “Show Me Love.” But there was magic in the air when—singing to her hometown of New York City—Keys hit the ivories to Billy Joel’s “New York State of Mind.” Keys produced Lydia R. Diamond’s Stick Fly on Broadway years ago, but with her songwriting and vocal talent, we wouldn’t mind if she stepped into the musical space.
5. Queen’s Brian May Dueting With Freddie Mercury
The final act of the night starred the one and only Queen + Adam Lambert (a Wicked alum). Lambert’s range is wildly impressive, not to mention his energy onstage. But the most memorable moment was a quieter one: when Brian May dueted with the late Freddie Mercury. May sang along to his solo guitar, appearing on the video screen, when the master of tech projected an old video of Mercury singing the same song in split screen. The effect made it look like the two buddies had been reunited in this heartbreaking rendition of “Love of My Life.”
But most importantly: In response to over 1 million actions and campaigning efforts by Global Citizens, world leaders made new commitments, delivered on previous pledges, and announced new campaigns toward ending extreme poverty. The Festival saw 18 commitments totaling $932.1 million, which are set to affect the lives of 7.6 million people, as well as announcements from partners and members of Congress worth $1.6 billion.