Jun 28
2020

Stacey Abrams, who made history as the first Black woman to run for governor and deliver a response to the State of the Union address, is one of numerous forces behind a new #BeCounted PSA dedicated to the 2020 Census. #BeCounted is in partnership with Abrams’ organization Fair Count and Harness, an advocacy organization founded by America Ferrera, Wilmer Valderrama, and Ryan Piers Williams to engage artists in social change. Abrams is one of many recognizable faces, including Meryl Streep, Darren Criss, Connie Britton, Queen Latifah, Justin Timberlake, and Kerry Washington, participating in the video, which can be seen above. #BeCounted launches this PSA (in both English and Spanish) produced in partnership with NowThis to help raise awareness about the immense power and impact of the United States Census. “The census is one of the most powerful tools of progress in America, and one of the least understood. It’s how we allocate $1.5 trillion in investment every year, and it’s also how we allocate political power for a decade,” Abrams tells EW. The #BeCounted initiative is just one of many efforts Abrams is engaged in to raise awareness around the power of the census and fight for voting rights. While #BeCounted is an extension of her work with Fair Count and her voting rights organization Fair Fight, she also addresses the census in depth in her new book Our Time Is Now: Power, Purpose, and the Fight for a Fair America. Abrams is also one of the subjects of And She Could Be Next, a two-part documentary series premiering on PBS on June 29, which chronicles the story of a defiant movement of women of color who are transforming American politics from the ground up. It’s not the only documentary on her docket either; she’s also featured in a still-untitled voting rights documentary from Liz Garbus and Lisa Cortés, which Amazon is slated to release this fall.

Jun 02
2020

According to Page Six, the Public Theater has postponed its digital gala, “We Are One Public,” due to the protests around the country. “In this time of national trauma, when the Covid crisis has so disproportionately impacted the Black community, when the injustices of our way of life have been made so clear, it just feels wrong for us to sail ahead with our event,” a note on the theater’s website stated. “This is a time for mourning and reflection,” the statement continued. “It has taken us far too long to proclaim the simple truth: Black Lives Matter,” the New York City-based theater company further stated. “We must stand in solidarity with Black artists, Black staff members, and the Black community … The Public is determined to be on the side that fights racism and inequality manifested inside and outside of our walls.” Meryl Streep, Alicia Keys, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Antonio Banderas, Glenn Close and more had been scheduled to participate in the event scheduled for Monday night.

May 31
2020

Some news from May 19, with many thanks to Glenn for the heads-up. Meryl Streep has made an appeal for financial donations to help Sharon Hospital and its hard-hit Nuvance Health parent company recover from the coronavirus epidemic. “Our family has relied on Sharon Hospital for decades, for all sorts of emergencies, and I think that right now, at this important time, we need to thank the staff at Sharon Hospital,” Streep said in a 90-second video posted Tuesday on social media. “We also need to step up and support Nuvance Health.” Streep is the latest celebrity to help Sharon Hospital meet a $1 million matching grant for losses incurred fighting the COVID-19 outbreak. “As someone who is personally connected to the Sharon community, I’ve seen firsthand how courageous, dedicated, professional and resilient the clinical staff are at Nuvance Health hospitals,” actor Liam Neeson said in a video posted on social media in April. “Let’s show the Nuvance Health heroes how much we appreciate their devotion and commitment to patient care.” Nuvance is the $2 billion network of hospitals in Connecticut and New York that was at the center of the state’s fight against the coronavirus during the infection surge in April. The year-old health network, which also operates Danbury, New Milford and Norwalk hospitals, was stressed but not in crisis during the surge, with enough beds, staff and supplies to fight the virus. But Nuvance hospitals lost money when they suspended elective surgery to clear the deck for COVID-19 patients. Furloughed staff and increased coronavirus expenses deepened the network’s deficit. In response, Nuvance launched a $5 million philanthropy drive, and had raised over $3 million by early April, when billionaire philanthropist Leonard Blavatnik added another $1 million donation. The Hollywood-backed appeal for Sharon Hospital is separate. “An anonymous donor came to us and said, ‘If you can raise $1 million for Sharon Hospital, I will match it,’” Nuvance spokeswoman Andrea Rynn said.

May 27
2020

We Are One Public will include performances and appearances by Meryl Streep, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Todd Almond, Troy Anthony Burton, Michael Cerveris, Daniel Craig, Carla Duren, Danaya Esperanza, Jane Fonda, Nanya-Akuki Goodrich, David Henry Hwang, Brian d’Arcy James, Alicia Keys, John Lithgow, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Margaret Odette, Kelli O’Hara, Suzan-Lori Parks, Phylicia Rashad, Jay O. Sanders, Liev Schreiber, Deandre Sevon and Martin Sheen. The event will be streamed on the Public’s website, YouTube and Facebook on June 1 at 8PM ET. They join previously announced stars Glenn Close, Antonio Banderas, David Hyde Pierce, Anne Hathaway, Laura Benanti, Kim Blanck, Ally Bonino, Danielle Brooks, Jenn Colella, Elvis Costello, Claire Danes, Holly Gould, Danai Gurira, Stephanie Hsu, Oscar Isaac, Nikki M. James, John Leguizamo, Audra McDonald, Grace McLean, Sandra Oh, Mia Pak, Phillipa Soo, Trudie Styler & Sting, Will Swenson, Shaina Taub, Kuhoo Verma, Ada Westfall, Kate Wetherhead and more. The event is directed by Kenny Leon with music direction by Ted Sperling; Anne McPherson will serve as production stage manager. Audrey and Zygi Wilf are the gala honorees, and the artistic honoree is Sam Waterston, who has performed in 13 productions at the Public. The gala co-chairs are Kwame Anthony Appiah, Candia Fisher, Joanna Fisher, Laure Sudreau and Lynne Wheat. The gala will be complemented by an online auction which will open a week before the event. Auction items range from virtual artist meet-and-greets to master classes and private performances. For more information, head here. Many thanks to Glenn for the heads-up.

May 19
2020

Brace yourself for Meryl Streep’s best performance of the year – if not the decade! (we’re quite early into the decade, I know). She has joined director Taika Waititi, who is partnering with the Roald Dahl Story Company to read the beloved children’s novel “James and the Giant Peach” across ten installments. This star-studded reading of James and the Giant Peach is part of a campaign to raise funds for the global health non-profit Partners in Health, which is tackling the Covid-19 pandemic in some of the most vulnerable communities around the world. The Roald Dahl Story Company has announced that it will match donations up to $1 million to charities impacted by the global health crisis, such as the Roald Dahl Marvellous Children’s Charity in the UK. The first two installments are both available to watch now, with remaining episodes to be released on the Roald Dahl YouTube channel every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. In the second episode, Meryl and former co-star Benedict Cumberbatch take on the roles of evil sisters Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spiker. You won’t find anything more entertaining to watch right now, so sit back and enjoy.

May 19
2020

Some of the brightest stars from Broadway and Hollywood came together last night, May 18, to celebrate Covenant House, the international charity providing housing, food and healthcare to children and youth facing homelessness in 31 cities across six countries. Funds from the benefit concert are helping Covenant House COVID-19 relief efforts to provide more food, more supplies, and to continue to provide staffing to care for sick and symptomatic youth. To donate to #endyouthhomelessness, visit safeplacetosleep.org.

In 2019, the talented cast of BKLYN: The Musical reunited for one night only for a 15th anniversary reunion concert to benefit Covenant House. The show follows a group of homeless musicians known as the City Weeds who transform a street corner under the Brooklyn Bridge into their play space. The cast – Quentin Earl Darrington, Eden Espinosa, Ramona Keller Karen Olivo, Julie Reiber, Will Swenson, and Caren Tackett – reunited once again (virtually) to perform the show’s anthem to empathy, “Heart Behind These Hands” Their performance was coupled with Covenant House alumni testimonials read by Diane Keaton and Meryl Streep.

May 06
2020

According to Deadline, a virtual concert event to benefit the Covenant House charity for homeless and trafficked youth has lined up a 50-plus roster of stars to perform or appear for the May 18 fundraiser, including Meryl Streep, Diane Keaton, Jon Bon Jovi, Rachel Brosnahan, Stephen Colbert, Martin Short, Dolly Parton, Dionne Warwick, Stephanie J. Block, Tony Shalhoub, Charlie Day, Chris O’Dowd, Zachary Levi and Zachary Quinto. A Night of Covenant House Stars, to be held Monday, May 18 at 8 p.m ET on the Broadway on Demand streaming platform, will be co-hosted by six-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald and 60 Minutes correspondent John Dickerson, both members of the Covenant House Board of Directors. The event is designed to support Covenant House, the international, mostly privately funded charity providing housing, food and healthcare to children and youth facing homelessness, and the front-line staff working during the COVID-19 crisis. “This virus does not get the last word,” said Covenant House President & CEO Kevin Ryan. “This amazing group of stars uniting in love to help us care for kids is proof positive of that.” Event proceeds will benefit Covenant House’s work across 31 cities, in six countries. The event is produced by Jeff Calhoun, the Broadway director and choreographer, and Covenant House Board member. The fundraiser will be held one day after the official launch of the Broadway on Demand platform, which kicks off with the 30 Days Of Opening Nights concert on Sunday, May 17 to benefit performers, playwrights, composers, musicians and stagehands affected by the COVID-19 health crisis. Access to view both events will be free of charge. In addition to Broadway on Demand, A Night of Covenant House Stars can be streamed on iHeartRadio Broadway, Facebook, Twitch, YouTube, and Stars in the House.

Feb 06
2020

Once again, according to The Hollywood Reporter, Meryl Streep has jumped aboard Rachel Feldman’s Lilly Ledbetter fair pay movie, Lilly. Streep has brought her backing to Feldman and fellow producers to bring the long-gestating feature based on the life of the equal pay icon to production. The Hollywood actress earlier lent her support to calls for equal pay for women in the U.S., including raising the issue while promoting her star turn in Suffragette, in which she played the iconic political activist Emmeline Pankhurst. Feldman will direct Lilly, which earlier had the working title Ledbetter, as it portrays Ledbetter inspiring the Fair Pay Restoration Act, the first piece of legislation President Barack Obama signed after his inauguration. J. Todd Harris (The Kids Are All Right) has also joined Feldman as a producing partner on the project. Ledbetter gained attention by fighting The Goodyear Tire Company for her right to pay equal to that of her male counterparts. She was a pioneer in putting a name to the issue, before Megan Rapinoe energized the fight for equal pay in sports and Michelle Williams spotlighted the pay gap for female actors in Hollywood. “Historic dramas often chronicle the external forces of politics, but Lilly tells the story of what happens to a woman’s inner life when patriarchal injustice overwhelms every aspect of her existence. Lilly is the perfect film for this moment in time,” Feldman, a director, screenwriter and activist and the former chair of the DGA Women’s Steering Committee, said in a statement.

Nov 03
2018

According to The Guardian, Meryl Streep, JK Rowling and Zadie Smith have all added their names to an open letter calling on the United Nations to investigate the death of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi. More than 100 artists, writers and activists have shown support on the international day to end impunity for crimes against journalists, a month after the Washington Post journalist was killed at the Saudi consulate in Turkey. “The violent murder of a prominent journalist and commentator on foreign soil is a grave violation of human rights and a disturbing escalation of the crackdown on dissent in Saudi Arabia, whose government in recent years has jailed numerous writers, journalists, human rights advocates and lawyers in a sweeping assault on free expression and association,” the letter reads. It’s addressed to António Guterres, the UN secretary general, and calls on him to initiate an independent investigation into what really happened to Khashoggi. Since his disappearance, Turkish officials have said they have evidence that he was dismembered and his body was dissolved by a squad of Saudi assassins. Yet Saudi officials still claim it was the result of a fistfight and an interrogation gone wrong. “The murder of a journalist inside a diplomatic facility would constitute nothing less than an act of state terror intended to intimidate journalists, dissidents and exiled critics the world over,” the letter reads. The full article can be read over at The Guardian.

Oct 11
2018

Today, more than 98 million adolescent girls around the world are not in school. That’s a lot of empty desks—and a lot of dreams that are being cut short. When girls get the opportunities they deserve, amazing things start to happen; poverty goes down, economies grow, families get stronger, and babies are born healthier. And the world, by all accounts, gets better. Join the Global Girls Alliance to take action to help adolescent girls and the grassroots leaders working to educate them. As they write on their website, “It’s simple: when girls go to school, the world gets better. Hear from some of our friends—Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep, John Legend, Natalie Portman, David Beckham, and more—about why they’re excited to be a part of the Obama Foundation’s Global Girls Alliance, a program that will engage people around the world to take action to help adolescent girls and the grassroots leaders working to educate them”. To learn more, visit globalgirlsalliance.org.