BET plans all-star coronavirus special; Broadway stays dark
From finding ways to help others cope to sheltering in place to canceling events, here’s a look at some of the ways the entertainment industry is reacting to the spread of the coronavirus, which most people recover from but can cause severe illness in the elderly and those with preexisting medical conditions.
TV NETWORK BET PLANS STARRY SHOW
DJ Khaled, Charlie Wilson, Chance the Rapper, Kirk Franklin, Fantasia and Melvin Crispell III are slated to perform in a special BET show that will assist people of color in dealing with the coronavirus.
The “Saving Our Selves: A BET COVID-19 Relief Effort” broadcast special will air April 22 at 8 p.m. EDT.
The special will be hosted by singer and actress Kelly Rowland, TV personality Terrence J and actress Regina Hall. The special will give up-to-date information and drive viewers to needed resources.
“Every day, there are new reports of how this pandemic is killing African Americans at much higher rates than other communities,” said Scott Mills, BET president. “BET is using all of our resources – our capital, our media platforms, our relationships with the creative community, sponsors, businesses and charitable organizations to support our community in this time of crisis.”
Celebrity guests will give up-to-date information and drive viewers to needed resources during this unprecedented time, and in partnership with United Way, proceeds are being donated to African American communities severely impacted by COVID-19.
BROADWAY EXTENDS ITS SHUTDOWN
Broadway producers have extended the suspension of all shows on the Great White Way, saying musical and plays will stay shuttered through June 7 in accordance with latest medical guidance.
Broadway abruptly closed on March 12 and announced plans to reopen the week of April 13. But that timetable was increasingly looking too optimistic as the city saw an alarming surge in deaths.
“Our top priority continues to be the health and well-being of Broadway theatergoers and the thousands of people who work in the theater industry every day, including actors, musicians, stagehands, ushers and many other dedicated professionals.” said Charlotte St. Martin, president of the Broadway League.
Already some shows scheduled to open this spring have abandoned plans of ever returning, including “Hangmen” and a revival of Edward Albee’s “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” Others — like revivals of “Caroline, or Change” and “Birthday Candles” — have been moved to the fall.
PASSOVER BENEFIT EVENT ONLINE ANNOUNCED
The coronavirus won’t stop a whole lot of Hollywood, TV and Broadway stars from celebrating the Jewish holiday of Passover.
Jason Alexander, Rachel Brosnahan, Andy Cohen, Darren Criss, Fran Drescher, Billy Eichner, Cynthia Erivo, Harvey Fierstein, Josh Groban, Judith Light, Idina Menzel, Debra Messing, Isaac Mizrahi, Busy Philipps and Ben Platt are among those who will join a unique April 11 streaming event.
The Passover Seder begins at 8 p.m. Eastern and will be streamed on www.SaturdayNightSeder.com and Tasty’s YouTube channel. It is free but the event will try to raise money for COVID-19 first responders.
Others participating include Pamela Adlon, Reza Aslan, Skylar Astin, Shoshana Bean, Mayim Bialik, Rabbi Sharon Brous, D’Arcy Carden, Beanie Feldstein, Tan France, Eliot Glazer, Ilana Glazer, Richard Kind, Julie Klausner, Nick Kroll, Rabbi Amichai Lau-Lavie, Dan Levy, Camryn Manheim, Milo Manheim, Alan Menken, Billy Porter, Stephen Schwartz, Michael Solomonov, Shaina Taub, Nina West, Henry Winkler, Finn Wolfhard and Rabbi David Wolpe.
HALSEY DONATES FACE MASKS
Pop star Halsey has donated 100,000 face masks to four California medical facilities.
Halsey announced the news on Instagram, saying she was “in awe of the medical workers on the frontlines.” She says she worked with Orange International Inc. to source the FDA-certified three-ply masks from a factory in Guangzhou, China.
The masks will be distributed to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Providence Saint Joseph, LAC+USC Medical Center and Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital
“Please continue to stay home, if you can. If you are on the frontlines, my heart is with you,” Halsey wrote.
“SESAME STREET” SPECIAL TO GUIDE CHILDREN THROUGH PANDEMIC
A special prime-time “Sesame Street” will be shown next week to guide children and their families through the coronavirus pandemic.
The show’s indelible characters will be joined by celebrity guests Anne Hathaway, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Tracee Ellis Ross. They’ll discuss new ways to play and learn together, as well as celebrate the medical personnel fighting the disease, producers Sesame Workshop said on Wednesday.
The characters and guests will also sing, dance and “take silly dance breaks,” producers said.
It will air April 14 at 7 p.m. Eastern on Warner Media networks HBO, HBO Latino, TBS, Cartoon Network, Boomerang and truTV, as well as the PBS Kids channel and streaming platforms.