The Rosie O’Donnell Show was one of the most popular daytime talk shows on TV from 1996 to 2002, and on Sunday, the beloved series is returning for a one-night special. In an effort to fight the lonely coronavirus blues and raise money for a good cause, O’Donnell is bringing the magic of Broadway to viewers via live stream on March 22. With an impressively long list of celebrities slated to appear, all proceeds will be donated to The Actor’s Fund.
While the pandemic spread of COVID-19 has sadly shut down the bright lights of Broadway until at least April 12, which has left thousands of actors and performers out of work, The Rosie O’Donnell Show is hosting the Great White Way’s top talent such as Matthew Broderick, whose sister tested positive for coronavirus, Pattie LuPone, Idina Menzel, Neil Patrick Harris, Cynthia Erivo, and Kristin Chenoweth, all of whom will perform live from their homes on March 22.
For those who want to tune, The Rosie O’Donnell Show kicks off at 7 p.m. ET, and the show will live stream at Broadway.com on Sunday evening.
O’Donnell, who turned 58 this week, said that it was Erich Bergen, who originated the role of Bob Gaudio in the hit musical Jersey Boys and starred as Blake Moran on CBS’ series, Madam Secretary. who first came up with the idea to bring back her talk show in order to raise money for The Actor’s Fund. “He called me up and said, ‘Would you do this?’ I said, ‘If you can put it all together, I’ll do my best!’”
The lifelong theatre fan said that her favorites guests on The Rosie O’Donnell Show were always Broadway stars. She said, “The Broadway community has always been vital in my career. It’s the reason I became an entertainer and still a huge part of my life.”
The other major stars slated to appear on Sunday night includes Skylar Astin, Shoshana Bean, Beth Behrs, Annette Bening, Nate Berkus, Stephanie J. Block, Sarah Jessica Parker, Tituss Burgess, Norbert Leo Butz, Darren Criss, Gloria Estefan, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Harvey Fierstein, Jordan Fisher, David Foster, Morgan Freeman, Megan Hilty, Judith Light, Barry Manilow, Audra McDonald, Katharine McPhee, Alan Menken, Kelli O’Hara, Lauren Patten, Ben Platt, Billy Porter, Andrew Rannells, Chita Rivera, Miranda Sings, Jordin Sparks, and more.
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Putting a live show where all the talent slated to perform are literally phoning it in, there’s a lot of room for disaster — a fact which O’Donnell is readily aware of, but is game to run with it. She said, “I don’t know how it’s going to go. It’s an experiment, a fundraiser, and everybody’s got to tune in!”
As for how the mother of five is dealing with self-quarantine amid coronavirus she said, “I’m getting through every day like everyone else,” she says. “I struggle with depression, so I’m keeping that in check. And I’m following the three basic rules that I tell people fighting depression or anxiety: Shower every day, get out in the sun and move your body.”