Ardmore’s Benj Pasek had expected to be in Philadelphia earlier this week for the opening of his Tony-winning musical, Dear Evan Hansen, at the Forrest Theatre.
Instead, he’s reportedly been helping to organize Saturday Night Seder, an online Passover fund-raiser for the CDC Foundation’s Coronavirus Emergency Response Fund that will stream at 8 p.m. Saturday on YouTube and at saturdaynightseder.com.
Among the dozens of performers and celebrities expected to take part is the original Evan Hansen, Ben Platt, as well as Idina Menzel, Jason Alexander, Andy Cohen, Bette Midler, Debra Messing, Billy Porter, Henry Winkler, Sarah Silverman, and Josh Groban.
The CDC Foundation is an independent nonprofit created by Congress to pool donations from individuals, businesses, and other foundations for projects at the Centers for Disease Control that combat threats to people’s health.
It was Pasek, according to the New York Times, who recruited Seinfeld’s Alexander for the Saturday Night Seder, in an email. The paper went on to describe Alexander’s musical performance, recorded on an iPhone via Zoom. (The entire seder will be conducted, as so many family celebrations have been this week, over videoconferencing.)
If Pasek’s working behind the virtual scenes on Saturday, it’s possible he’ll be finding it hard to sit still.
“I still get nervous,” just watching performances of Dear Evan Hansen, he said in a phone interview in February. “I’m a huge stander-in-the-back person. Only because I like to pace.”