Actor/Producer Erich Bergen’s Saturday Night Passover Seder, a star-studded event to benefit the CDC Foundation’s Coronavirus Emergency Response Fund that debuted Saturday has already raised over $1.4 million.
According to the New York Times: Like pretty much everybody in America blessed with good health these days, the actor Jason Alexander and his wife, the artist Daena Title, have been stuck at home, worried about their relatives, their friends and a nation whose future is uncertain. “We all want to try to do something, anything,” Alexander said. But what? About a week ago, he found an answer, in an email from Benj Pasek, the lyricist who helped create the songs for the Broadway musical “Dear Evan Hansen,” as well as the movies “The Greatest Showman” and “La La Land,” which earned him a share in an Academy Award.
The songwriter’s pitch to Alexander was this: “Would you be interested in being a part of an all-star online Seder fund-raiser that will raise money for the C.D.C. Foundation?”
This was something Alexander could do. On Tuesday, his wife arranged lighting in their dining room and held an iPhone as he rehearsed an original musical number, which they then recorded. He sang:
“So you’re stressed by all the stories that you’ve seen on cable news? Well, it’s time to trade the cable for a tableful of Jews. While this night is always different from every other night, there is a smidgen of religion though we’re keeping that part light. Tonight is stranger than a normal Pesach meal, ’cause we’re locked in our apartment and the plagues are [expletive] real.”
“Nailed it!” said Erich Bergen, a star of “Madam Secretary” who, of late, has become a go-to technical producer for logistically complicated endeavors, like the recent fund-raising, one-night return of “The Rosie O’Donnell Show.”
Before we begin, this is a prayer for healing, for anyone who might need it. We hope you'll join us at https://t.co/ROdaWhpkEH tonight as we come together to celebrate through music and comedy, joy and reflection, and to raise money for COVID-19 first responders @CDCFound. pic.twitter.com/RUkCutksKk
— Saturday Night Seder (@satnightseder) April 11, 2020
Among the all-star cast of the virtual Seder that recounts the story and history of Passover as well as the Jewish Diaspora are Jason Alexander, Reza Aslan, Mayim Bialik, Andy Cohen, Darren Criss, Fran Drescher, Billy Eichner, Harvey Fierstein, Judith Light, Dan Levy, Bette Midler, Idina Menzel, Camryn Manheim, Debra Messing, Isaac Mizrahi, Billy Porter, Sarah Silverman, Senator Chuck Schumer, Henry Winkler, and James Wolk.
Watch it below.