From Gaga to Garth, Miranda to Moreno: Celebrities join inaugural
(Sourced from PTI)
Like so much this past year, the inaugural celebration of US President-elect Joe Biden and Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris will be like no other: pared-down, distanced, much of it virtual. The festivities have been radically scaled down due to the pandemic and security threats, but a steady stream of A-list names in the USA have signed on.
Actor Christopher Jackson, the original George Washington in Broadway's Hamilton will be performing in a virtual ball, as a way of participating in an essential rite of American democracy. Jackson, who is glad to play a part, will perform at the quadrennial ball for the Creative Coalition, a fundraiser for arts education and one of the more prominent unofficial events surrounding the inauguration.
"We put ourselves in a perilous position," Jackson said of recent events roiling the country. "So the idea that this inauguration is happening is a testament to the resolute dedication that our public servants have to make this thing work," he added.
Jackson joins a slew of celebrities descending on Washington for entertainment surrounding the event. Lady Gaga will sing the national anthem on the West Front of the Capitol, with Jennifer Lopez and Garth Brooks contributing musical performances. Other top-tier performers will be part of Celebrating America, a 90-minute, multi-network evening broadcast hosted by Tom Hanks that officially replaces the usual multiple inaugural balls.
Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda will contribute a classical recitation, joining musicians like Bruce Springsteen, John Legend, Demi Lovato, Foo Fighters, Justin Timberlake, and Bon Jovi. Hosts Kerry Washington and Eva Longoria will be joined by basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, chef Jose Andres, labor leader Dolores Huerta and Kim Ng, the first female general manager in MLB history.
The high-powered celebration has been blended with ordinary Americans' inspiring stories. Segments will include tributes to a UPS driver, a teacher, and Sandra Lindsay, the first New Yorker to receive the COVID-19 vaccine outside clinical trials. It will be carried by several news channels as well as the committee's social media channels and streaming partners. However, Fox News will not carry the broadcast.
Beyond that event, a virtual parade across America will be held on inauguration afternoon, hosted by actor Tony Goldwyn with appearances by Jon Stewart, Earth Wind & Fire, and the New Radicals reuniting after more than two decades, among many others. Host Judy Gold will kick off with a comedy set, also featuring comedians Randy Rainbow, Michael Ian Black, and Wendi McLendon-Covey.
There's also star power on display on Tuesday evening at the virtual Latino Inaugural 2021, hosted by Longoria and including Broadway and screen star Rita Moreno, Edward James Olmos, and Miranda again, saluting Puerto Rico with his father, Luis Miranda. The show will honor members of Latino communities who kept the country running during the pandemic as front-line workers.
On Tuesday, We Are One celebrated the Black community and African Diaspora with performances by Tobe Nwigwe, The O'Jays, Rapsody, Step Afrika, others. The AAPI Inaugural Ball: Breaking Barriers celebrated the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. Participants included Kal Penn, Chloe Bennet, and others.
More than two dozen members of Congress are set to join celebrity guests like Ted Danson, Lea DeLaria, Jason Alexander, Yvette Nicole Brown, and others. Actor Tim Daly, who is also the president of the Creative Coalition, said that despite optimism for the new administration's approach to arts funding, it's still an uphill battle in the US.