Comedian Rosie O’Donnell and a gang of Broadway performers from shows like Hamilton and The Phantom of the Opera stood outside the White House on Monday night to sing for the resistance.
“We hope to give you a little show and to remind you that your voices matter,” O’Donnell said in front of the crowd, wearing a “Now Showing: Truth” shirt. “Let your voice be heard. We are alive, awake, and we are woke. We are not going anywhere.”
On Monday afternoon while she was on the bus ride from New York to D.C., O’Donnell told The Daily Beast that this was a positive protest meant to inspire those in the crowd and those watching from home.
“We’re doing this for the people watching. We’re reminding people that the truth lies inside your heart, and we want to give people those goosebumps that you get when you hear people singing in unison and harmony,” she said. “We want to encourage people to participate, to resist and protest the administration.”
Musical theater singers—including ones from Wicked, The Lion King, and Beautiful—joined O’Donnell Monday morning on the bus from New York to Lafayette Park in Washington. After practicing songs like “Do You Hear the People Sing” from Les Miserables, “Brand New Day” from The Wiz, “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” from The Sound of Music, and “Let the Sunshine In” from Hair during the bus ride, they took the songs directly outside President Trump’s front door.
Broadway fans showed up in full-force with signs including “The Lyin’ King,” “The Book of Moron,” and “Putin’s Apprentice” along with large, light-up letters spelling out the word “Treason”.
The ensemble sang “America, The Beautiful” to kick things off, then jumped into their line-up of showtunes accompanied by a live band. In between songs, a variety of speakers spoke to the cheering crowd. O’Donnell talked about Helsinki. Kristin Mink, the mother who famously confronted ex-EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt in a DC-area restaurant, talked about voter suppression while holding her two-year old son.
Seth Rudetsky, host of the On Broadway show on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio, said the songs were strategically picked to strike a chord.
“I think the songs are meant to inspire people and put people in a good mood. Lots of people are depressed, thinking this is is the way things are now. But it’s not! ‘Let The Sunshine In!’ We can save the middle class and fix the immigration system,” he said. “‘Do You Hear the People Sing’ is meant to wake up the country, who wants what America stands for: peace, prosperity, and being kind to people.”
The demonstration is a part of a daily protest movement called #KremlinAnnex (the protest’s name for the White House), which is now moving into its fourth week. The movement started after Trump’s Helsinki summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, and is a project of Party Majority PAC and other politicos—namely Adam Parkhomenko, a political advisor to Hillary Clinton, and ex-Clinton aide at the State Department Philippe Reines. The group recently had Stormy Daniels’ lawyer Michael Avenatti and actress Alyssa Milano lead a protest.
O’Donnell said the Helsinki summit was a telling moment for Trump, revealing him as someone who has tainted American democracy.
“When I saw what happened” in Helsinki, said O’Donnell, “I thought he debilitated to who we are as a nation.
“This is not a TV show, this is our real lives. Real lives in the balance. We have to repair the damage. I don’t think any other president has caused any more damage.”
Trump is currently on vacation at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, but Rudetsky said he hoped that the singers voices would make it to some West Wing aide’s ears.
“Our message to them is, we don’t want you to be tyrants,” he said. “Until you save environment and help the lower classes, we have the energy and we’re not going to stop... I want them to know that we’re Broadway singers. We don’t lip sync, or get tired.”