Broadway stars stream, rock stars stay off road amid virus

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NEW YORK (AP) – From helping others cope to sheltering in place to canceling events, here’s a look at some of the ways the entertainment industry is reacting to the spread of the coronavirus, which most people recover from but can cause severe illness in the elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions.

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SINGING (WELL) AT HOME

Broadway shows may be shuttered, but that’s not stopping some Broadway voices.

Stage stars like Audra McDonald, Idina Menzel, Kristin Chenoweth, Norbert Leo Butz, Kelli O’Hara, Wayne Brady, Betty Buckley and Laura Benanti will appear singing and performing live from their homes in two daily mini-online charity shows starting Monday night.

The shows are the brainchild of Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley, the host and producer of Sirius XM’s “On Broadway,” and will follow the traditional theater times of 2 p.m. Eastern and 8 p.m. Eastern.

The shows will encourage viewers to donate to The Actors Fund’s services for those dealing with the coronavirus outbreak and its financial costs.

“Broadway at Home” will kick off Monday with Kelli O’Hara. The shows can be seen at The Actors Fund YouTube channel, as well as Playbill.com and BroadwayWorld.com.

Some other stars who have signed up include Shoshana Bean, Sierra Boggess, Laura Bell Bundy, Kerry Butler, Carolee Carmello, Gavin Creel, Melissa Errico, Raúl Esparza, Christopher Fitzgerald, Ana Gasteyer, Mandy Gonzalez, Justin Guarini, James Monroe Iglehart, Jeremy Jordan, Marc Kudish, Judy Kuhn, Linda Lavin, Beth Leavel, Telly Leung, Beth Malone, Lindsay Mendez, Kate Shindle, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Jessie Mueller, Rosie O’Donnell, Alice Ripley, Adam Pascal, Faith Prince, Keala Settle, Marc Shaiman, Jennifer Simard, Elizabeth Stanley, Patrick Wilson and Marissa Jaret Winokur.

Couples who also plan to appear are: Sebastian Arcelus and Stephanie J. Block, Will Chase and Ingrid Michaelson, Jen Cody and Hunter Foster, Jenn Colella and Chilina Kennedy, Colin Donnell and Patti Murrin, Santino and Jessica Fontana, Andy Karl and Orfeh, Liz Larsen and Sal Viviano, Steven Pasquale and Phillipa Soo, plus McDonald and Will Swenson.

Online concerts have taken on a new appeal as the virus keeps people inside. Latin singers Juanes and Alejandro Sanz recently performed on YouTube Live, a pair of Metropolitan Opera stars have belted out tunes on Facebook and Instagram, the Russian-German pianist Igor Levit took to Twitter on Thursday to stream his music and the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra live streamed a Beethoven symphony.

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OFF THE ROAD

Elton John is postponing part of his North American tour due to the coronavirus pandemic. The superstar said Monday that the March 26 through May 2 shows of his Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour will be rescheduled. Tour performances for May 22 through July 8 remain as scheduled.

Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl says he didn’t cancel shows when he broke his leg -and performed from a wheel chair onstage – but he must postpone his band’s tour because of the coronavirus. The rocker wrote Monday on Twitter that “playing a gig with a sock full of broken bones is one thing, but playing a show when YOUR health and safety is in jeopardy is another.” The band has postponed April dates of its Van Tour 2020, and says “information on the May dates will be forthcoming.”

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CELEBS SAY THIS IS SERIOUS

Idris Elba tweeted that he has tested positive for coronavirus but has shown no symptoms so far.

Elba said Monday that he has been isolated since Friday, when he found out he might have been exposed.

Elba in a video message said that his wife has not been tested yet but is feeling OK.

“This is serious. Now’s really the time to think about social distancing, washing your hands,” Elba said.

Olga Kurylenko, the Ukrainian actress who starred in the 2008 James Bond film “Quantum of Solace,” also says she has tested positive.

“Take care of yourself and take this seriously!” Kurylenko said in an Instagram post Monday.

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CITING SAFETY, iHEARTMEDIA POSTPONES AWARDS SHOW

The iHeartRadio Music Awards have been shelved for now. It’s the latest awards show being postponed due to the coronavirus.

IHeartMedia announced Monday that the March 29 show set to take place at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles will be rescheduled.

“The safety of our guests, employees, artists and partners is our main priority,” iHeartMedia said in a statement.

Usher was set to host the show featuring performances by Justin Bieber, Lizzo and Halsey.

Refunds are being issued to ticketed guests.

The delay comes a day after the Academy of Country Music Awards, originally scheduled for April 5 in Las Vegas, was postponed, with plans to reschedule in September.

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VOICES SILENCED

PEN America has called off its annual World Voices Festival, a weeklong May gathering in New York that features dozens of writers.

This year’s scheduled attendees included Margaret Atwood, Ben Okri, Amitav Ghosh and Zadie Smith.

In a statement Monday, PEN America CEO Suzanne Nossel and World Voices Director Chip Rolley noted that the festival had been founded after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks as an “antidote to cultural isolationism.” With a “new and unexpected isolation thrust upon us,” they added, “we regret deeply that we won’t be able to shine that light or foster those vital in-person connections.”

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The Associated Press receives support for health and science coverage from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

In this combination photo, Audra McDonald attends the 42nd Annual Kennedy Center Honors at The Kennedy Center in Washington on Dec. 8, 2019, left, and Idina Menzel arrives at the Oscars in Los Angeles on Feb. 9, 2020. Stage stars like McDonald, Menzel, Kristin Chenoweth, Norbert Leo Butz, Kelli O’Hara, Wayne Brady, Betty Buckley and Laura Benanti will appear singing and performing live from their homes in two daily mini-online charity shows starting Monday night. The shows are the brainchild of Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley, the host and producer of Sirius XM’s “On Broadway,” and will follow the traditional theater times of 2 p.m. ET and 8 p.m. ET. (Photos by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, left, and Greg Allen/Invision/AP)
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