Broadway and Hollywood came together Monday night at a benefit fundraiser for Hillary Clinton in New York that included Lin-Manuel Miranda debuting some reworked Hamilton lyrics celebrating the presidential candidate.
Miranda and his former costar and Tony winner Renee Elise Goldsberry rapped the opening part of the musical’s “The World Was Wide Enough” with some new, Clinton-centric verses. The song’s intro changed from “There are 10 things you need to know” to “There are 10 things you need to do” — those things include “call some undecideds with your crew, your cousins in Ohio, maybe try to flip them blue” and “We know that our Hillary’s no quitter, we watch as her opponent fiddles with his Twitter.”
Clinton’s running mate, Tim Kaine, also got a nod in the song — “Watch Hillary examine the terrain, watch her campaign with her man Tim Kaine (Tim Kaine in the membrane, Tim Kaine in the brain!)” — and some of the biggest applause came when Miranda asked, “I have only one overwhelming feeling: anyone here want to shatter a glass ceiling?”
The benefit, which was live-streamed online and hosted by Billy Crystal, also featured performances by Josh Groban (who sang “Over the Rainbow”), Hugh Jackman (“Oh What a Beautiful Morning”), Neil Patrick Harris (“Origin of Love,” from his Tony-winning turn in Hedwig and the Angry Inch), Sara Bareilles (“Brave”), and plus speakers that included Bill Clinton, Julia Roberts, Lena Dunham, Angela Bassett, Chelsea Clinton, and Helen Mirren. Here a bit more from what happened inside Broadway’s St. James Theatre below.Billy Crystal dings Trump in opening number
“Hail Democrats!” Crystal joked at the fundraiser’s opening. “The theater’s a place where we worship the gods of entertainment… and fundraising.” He kicked off the show with a riff on “Comedy Tonight” from Stephen Sondheim’s A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum called “Hillary Tonight” that included a few shots at her opponent. Some of the lyrics included “Nothing with Trump, nothing with Pence/They’d make Joe Stalin feel intense” and “No racist baiting/No Muslim hating/Pantsuits for everyone/It’s Hillary tonight!”
After the song, he also likened Trump to a 7-Eleven (“He’s open 24 hours and he’s trying to sell us crap that we don’t need”) and hurricane season (“starts out with a lot of hot air, you watch it spinning out of control. It hits America, causes a lot of damage and panic, but it’s completely over by November”).
Barbra Streisand was the voice of God
In a move many music and theater lovers would likely endorse, Barbra Streisand was asked to be “voice of God” for the evening by Crystal. She appeared via video and her voice introduced some of the night’s speakers and performers (including a taped duet of her and Jamie Foxx singing “Climb Every Mountain” from The Sound of Music). “Well, if she’s a woman, I guess it’s a part I can play,” Streisand replied.
Later in the show, she joked, “You never knew God had a Brooklyn accent, did you?”Dynamic Duets
Miranda and Goldsberry weren’t the night’s only winning pairing. Some of the performances included Cabaret stars Joel Grey and Sienna Miller singing songs from that musical (Grey did “Willkommen,” Miller the show’s title theme), an Annie team-up with Sarah Jessica Parker and Andrea McArdle doing “Tomorrow,” and a sparkly-skirted Anne Hathaway taking the stage with Tony winner Kelli O’Hara for a rendition of Judy Garland and Streisand’s famous “Get Happy”/”Happy Days are Here Again” duet. Emily Blunt and Bernadette Peters, who starred in the film and stage versions of Into the Woods, also performed numbers from that musical — Blunt sang part of “No One is Alone,” while Peters was accompanied by a children’s chorus for “Children Will Listen.”
Not all the duos sang, though — Jon Hamm and Jake Gyllenhaal (“two men so handsome I could punch them right in the face,” as introduced by Crystal”) recited part of Sinclair Lewis’ 1935 political novel It Can’t Happen Here.
Julia Roberts goes off-script
“My shirt says ‘Hill Yeah,’” Roberts told the crowd, before dropping the F-bomb three times during her remarks before reading a passage by political columnist by Molly Ivins. “When you’re live streaming on Facebook, can you say that?” she asked, before challenging the crowd to donate $500 for each time she cursed. The actress appeared on stage again later that night with Harris, Ansel Elgort, Sarah Paulson, Uzo Aduba, and Dunham. One of the times it was Roberts’ turn to speak, she said that instead of what was on the teleprompter, she wanted quote President Barack Obama’s words from the Democratic National Convention earlier this year: “Don’t boo, vote.”
Others who delivered speeches or readings included Bassett reciting Sojourner Truth and Mirren quoting Eleanor Roosevelt.Bill Clinton quoted Bob Dylan
Act 1 came to a close with a surprise speaker — former President Bill Clinton, who noted Bob Dylan’s recent win of the Nobel Prize for Literature and quoted the artist’s “Forever Young,” calling it an important anthem for this election season. He also called his wife “the single-best change-maker I’ve ever known” and added, “It is not true that our best days are behind us. It is not true — unless we give it up. Don’t give it up. Grab it.”
Hillary Clinton wasn’t in attendance at the event, but did appear via video with a message for attendees.Cynthia Erivo closes out the show
After all the performances and speeches, the night ended with confetti and a lot of sparkle. Cynthia Erivo, this year’s Tony-winning best actress for The Color Purple, came out in a bedazzled suit with a chorus behind her for a gospel version of “Battle Hymn of the Republic.”