Rosie O’Donnell is bringing her beloved 1990s talk show back to your screens for one night only, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic.
The out actress and comedian told The Hollywood Reporter in a statement on Thursday that she would host a one-night revival of “The Rosie O’Donnell Show” this weekend as a fundraiser in support of The Actors Fund and the legion of performing arts and entertainment professionals who have found themselves unemployed indefinitely because of the cancellations and shutdowns caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. The special installment will broadcast live, on YouTube and Broadway.com, and promises a roster of A-lister guests that have pledged to appear – while practicing safe social distancing, of course, via live video from their homes.
O’Donnell told THR, “Everybody who knows me knows that Broadway has been one of the brightest lights in my life since the time I was a little girl. It has also been the lifeblood of New York City for generation after generation. After all Broadway has given to the world, now – in this time of tremendous need – it’s our turn to give something back. There is no better way to support this community than via The Actors Fund. And, with a lineup like this, I dare you not to tune in.”
The LGBTQ icon has lined up a lot of talent for the unprecedented event. Scheduled to appear so far are Sebastian Arcelus, Skylar Astin, Beth Behrs, Erich Bergen, Nate Berkus, Stephanie J. Block, Tituss Burgess, Norbert Leo Butz, Kristin Chenoweth, Gavin Creel, Darren Criss, Gloria Estefan, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Harvey Fierstein, David Foster, Morgan Freeman, Neil Patrick Harris, Megan Hilty, Judith Light, Barry Manilow, Rob McClure, Audra McDonald, Katharine McPhee, Alan Menken, Idina Menzel, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Kelli O’Hara, Lauren Patten, Ben Platt, Billy Porter, Randy Rainbow, Andrew Rannells, Chita Rivera, Seth Rudetsky, Lea Salonga, Miranda Sings, Jordin Sparks, Ben Vereen, Adrienne Warren, James Wesley – and, incredibly, an even further list of yet-to-be-revealed names. She’s also brought John McDaniel, her original music director, composer and producer, back on board.
Producer Erich Bergen says, “This is the ultimate win-win proposition. The Actors Fund needs our support, and we’re all desperate for some fabulous entertainment we can enjoy from the safety of our own homes. I’m so grateful to Rosie, and to this truly jaw-dropping array of talent that have agreed to participate.”
Actor and Actors Fund chairman Brian Stoke Mitchell says, “Because social distancing is so important right now, this amazing benefit is an incredible show of support to lift spirits, bring us all together virtually and help The Actors Fund help those in need. Now more than ever, people in our community are depending on The Fund’s vital services. It’s critical that we be there for those in need, in particular our seniors and the immunocompromised individuals who need our help, as well as those in financial distress.”
No word yet on whether safely-sanitized koosh balls will be used.
The one-night only live airing, which is presented in partnership with Revelations Entertainment and Broadway.com, is set for Sunday, March 22, at 7pm ET.
You can make a tax-deductable donation to The Actors Fund here.