Broadway stars stream, rock stars stay off road amid virus
NEW YORK (AP) — From helping 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 pre-existing medical conditions.
SINGING AT HOME
Broadway shows may be shuttered, but that’s not stopping some Broadway voices.
Stage stars like Audra McDonald, Idina Menzel, Kristin Chenoweth, Norbert Leo Butz, Kelli O’Hara, Wayne Brady, Betty Buckley and Laura Benanti will appear singing and performing live from their homes in two daily mini-online charity shows starting Monday night.
The shows are the brainchild of Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley, the host and producer of Sirius XM’s “On Broadway,” and will follow the traditional theater times of 2 p.m. Eastern and 8 p.m. Eastern.
The shows will encourage viewers to donate to The Actors Fund’s services for those dealing with the coronavirus outbreak and its financial costs.
“Broadway at Home” will kick off Monday with Kelli O’Hara. The shows can be seen at The Actors Fund YouTube channel, as well as Playbill.com and BroadwayWorld.com.
Some other stars who have signed up include Shoshana Bean, Sierra Boggess, Laura Bell Bundy, Kerry Butler, Carolee Carmello, Gavin Creel, Melissa Errico, Raúl Esparza, Christopher Fitzgerald, Ana Gasteyer, Mandy Gonzalez, Justin Guarini, James Monroe Iglehart, Jeremy Jordan, Marc Kudish, Judy Kuhn, Linda Lavin, Beth Leavel, Telly Leung, Beth Malone, Lindsay Mendez, Kate Shindle, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Jessie Mueller, Rosie O’Donnell, Alice Ripley, Adam Pascal, Faith Prince, Keala Settle, Marc Shaiman, Jennifer Simard, Elizabeth Stanley, Patrick Wilson and Marissa Jaret Winokur.
Couples who also plan to appear are: 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, Steven Pasquale and Phillipa Soo, plus McDonald and Will Swenson.
Online concerts have taken on a new appeal as the virus keeps people inside. Latin singers Juanes and Alejandro Sanz recently performed on YouTube Live, a pair of Metropolitan Opera stars have belted out tunes on Facebook and Instagram, the Russian-German pianist Igor Levit took to Twitter on Thursday to stream his music and the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra live streamed a Beethoven symphony.
MET GALA MUST WAIT
The Met Gala, annually one of the biggest nights in fashion, has been postponed due to the coronavirus.
Host Anna Wintour announced Monday on Vogue.com that the gala will not be held on its usual first Monday in May, due to the “unavoidable and responsible decision by the Metropolitan Museum to close its doors.”
This year’s previously announced celebrity hosts include Lin Manuel-Miranda, Meryl Streep and Emma Stone.
The Met Gala was one of the last remaining major cultural events in the coming weeks that had yet to be postponed or canceled.
Other delayed events announced Monday include the GLAAD Media Awards, which had been set to honor Taylor Swift and Janet Mock for their advocacy for LGBTQ issues in Los Angeles on April 16, and the iHeartMusic Awards, which were scheduled for Los Angeles with host Usher and performers including Lizzo on March 29.
OFF THE ROAD
Elton John is postponing part of his North American tour due to the coronavirus pandemic. The superstar said Monday that the March 26 through May 2 shows of his Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour will be rescheduled. Tour performances for May 22 through July 8 remain as scheduled.
Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl says he didn’t cancel shows when he broke his leg —and performed from a wheel chair onstage — but he must postpone his band’s tour because of the coronavirus. The rocker wrote Monday on Twitter that “playing a gig with a sock full of broken bones is one thing, but playing a show when YOUR health and safety is in jeopardy is another.” The band has postponed April dates of its Van Tour 2020, and says “information on the May dates will be forthcoming.”
It’s not just musicians.
“Diary of a Wimpy Kid” author Jeff Kinney on Monday postponed his new book and his spring tour. Kinney had planned an unusual promotion for the spinoff book “Rowley Jefferson’s Awesome Friendly Adventure,” which now is planned for August.
He would have no set itinerary and would only learn from his publisher after each stop about where he was going next. In a statement Monday, Kennedy cited concerns about the coronavirus and said that a postponement would “better serve the bookselling community.”
CELEBS SAY THIS IS SERIOUS
Idris Elba tweeted that he has tested positive for coronavirus but has shown no symptoms so far.
Elba said Monday that he has been isolated since Friday, when he found out he might have been exposed.
Elba in a video message said that his wife has not been tested yet but is feeling OK.
“This is serious. Now’s really the time to think about social distancing, washing your hands,” Elba said.
Olga Kurylenko, the Ukrainian actress who starred in the 2008 James Bond film “Quantum of Solace,” also says she has tested positive.
“Take care of yourself and take this seriously!” Kurylenko said in an Instagram post Monday.
And “Game of Thrones” actor Kristofer Hivju, who played the beloved character Tormund Giantsbane on the HBO series, announced on his Instagram page that he has tested positive and will be isolating himself at his home in his native Norway.
‘THE CROWN’ CARRIES ON
With everything else in sight shutting down, “The Crown” is forging ahead, for now.
The Netflix show is set to wrap principal photography for its forthcoming fourth season at Elstree Studios London on Wednesday, and has stayed in production in the scramble to finish. This cycle of the show about Queen Elizabeth II and her family stars Olivia Colman as the monarch, Tobias Menzies as her husband and Helena Bonham Carter has her sister, Margaret.
“In the final days we will be keeping a close eye on the situation as it develops with health and safety the top priority for all cast and crew,” the show’s production company Left Bank Pictures said in a statement.
It has one remaining day on the soundstage at Elstree studios.
Elsewhere in television, “Saturday Night Live” won’t be back as planned this month. The sketch show, which has feasted on the presidential campaign season, is suspending production until further notice. It was to return from hiatus on March 28 with host John Krasinski and musical guest Dua Lipa.
Krasinski’s sequel to “A Quiet Place” also has been affected by the health crisis, with its March 20 theatrical release date postponed.
And “Jeopardy” and “Wheel of Fortune” each announced on their official Twitter accounts that after previously saying they would continue shooting without audiences, they would now shut down production entirely for the time being.
“Wheel of Fortune” included a photo with one of its word puzzles reading “STAY SAFE EVERYONE.”
PEN America has called off its annual World Voices Festival, a weeklong May gathering in New York that features dozens of writers.
This year’s scheduled attendees included Margaret Atwood, Ben Okri, Amitav Ghosh and Zadie Smith.
In a statement Monday, PEN America CEO Suzanne Nossel and World Voices Director Chip Rolley noted that the festival had been founded after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks as an “antidote to cultural isolationism.” With a “new and unexpected isolation thrust upon us,” they added, “we regret deeply that we won’t be able to shine that light or foster those vital in-person connections.”
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