Finding a little inner peace might seem all but impossible amidst the current state of quarantines, cancellations and an overwhelming sense of anxiety spurred by coronavirus pandemic. But even on the darkest of days a little bit of art can shine like a beacon of connection, lifting spirits and bringing joy. If you’ve heard the melodies of isolated Italians reaching out to their confined neighbors through song it’s undeniable — art connects us all.
Across the internet creators, musicians and actors from all over offer up a little bit of calm for everyone. Musical artist Lizzo led a 30-minute meditation, “Frozen 2’s” Josh Gad held a reading of a children’s book, Yo-Yo Ma has started a “songs of comfort” series and Broadway stars are using their clout to signal boost shuttered high school musical productions.
Here is how Hollywood is using its skills to soothe the nerves of the world.
Meditating With Lizzo
Grammy-award winning musician and powerhouse performer Lizzo lead a 30 minute meditation, “to promote healing during this global crisis,” according to her Instagram caption.
Starting the video with a little music, she then transitioned to a short talk, “It’s a scary time for a lot of people and even I was experiencing some fear,” Lizzo explained. The singer revealed that she is eager to find ways to help the children who will no longer be able to partake in the lunch programs at schools and hospitals. But first she wanted to reach out and find a way to help people avoid fear.
“One of the first things I thought of was, there is the disease and there is the fear of the disease,” the singer said. “I think that fear can spread so much hatred and fear can spread so much negative energy and fear can spread the disease even quicker than the disease can. When I got back to LA I noticed that the fear was heightened here. So I wanted to empower everybody and I wanted to let you guys know that we have power, you have power. You have power to eliminate fear.”
High School Musical at Home With Laura Benanti
Tony-award winning singer and actress Laura Benanti put out a call to all the shuttered high school musicals and the response is, frankly, overwhelming. Just try and hold back the tears listening to the Union High School students belting out the banger “Waiting for Life” from “Once On this Island,” this little snippet from one school’s rehearsals for “Bright Star,” or this performance of “Jekyll and Hyde’s” “A New Life.”
Most of the videos are tagged #SunshineSongs and we highly encourage you to spend A LOT of time on the internet watching these little pops of pure joy.
Bedtime Stories With Josh Gad
“Frozen 2’s” Josh Gad certainly knows how to entertain the children of the world, but if you’re sick of hearing “into the unknoooooown” in your house, perhaps a new story might help pass the time.
“Since we’re all stuck at home right now I figured we would have a little fun together,” Gad said via video released on his Twitter account. “I decided I’m going to read to you and your children, or just you depending on what you prefer. I’m not going to pass judgement right now since the world is a little bit of a hot mess. But I thought tonight we would one of my favorite books about one of my favorite places that none of us can really go to, a little place called Venice in Italy.”
The book of choice was “Olivia Goes to Venice,” which Gad read WITH voices for each character. This was the first book of the described “little experiment,” no word if Gad will make this a nightly appearance but no doubt children of America would be thrilled to have Olaf reading them a new story each night.
A Private Concert From Yo-Yo Ma
Honored cellist Yo-Yo Ma released the first (of what we can hope) is several performances in his “songs of comfort” series. “In these days of anxiety, I wanted to find a way to continue to share some of the music that gives me comfort,” the world-renowned musician tweeted. The first number? Dvořák’s “Going Home.”
New “Hamilton” From Lin-Manuel Miranda
In an attempt to spark joy, Lin-Manuel Miranda dropped a never-before-heard “Hamilton” song from his award-winning musical. “Wish I could send you peace of mind via this app,” Miranda said on Twitter. “Alas. But I can send you music no one’s heard. Here’s a cut Hamilton/Washington tune called ‘I Have This Friend.’ “No one’s heard it, not even Kail.”
Dinner With the Gaffigans
If you’re feeling a little isolated, may we suggest the new web series “Dinner With the Gaffigans.” Comedian Jim Gaffigan opened up his home to share dinner with his wife, five children and friends. “Welcome to coronavirus dinner with the Gaffigans,” the comedian said. “We’re hoping you can have dinner with us we’re having salad and pizza hopefully that’s OK with you… and green beans.”
Rita Wilson’s Playlist
Currently quarantined with her husband Tom Hanks, actress and singer Rita Wilson put together a playlist or songs to help you pass the time.
Reading With Amy Adams and Jennifer Garner
Amy Adams joined Instagram for a good cause: she’s teaming with Jennifer Garner on Save With Stories, a spot for watching celebrities read popular children’s books. They’re also starting a combined effort to raise funds for both Save the Children and Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry.
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I’ve decided to finally join to shine a spotlight on kids across the country who need our help and support during this difficult time. My friend @jennifer.garner and I are launching @SAVEWITHSTORIES – a spot to watch your favorite celebrities read your favorite children’s books. We are galvanizing as a community to support a new fund for a combined effort between SAVE THE CHILDREN and Share Our Strength’s NO KID HUNGRY (and a big thank you to our founding publisher, Scholastic♥️). THIRTY MILLION CHILDREN in the United States rely on school for food. School closures will hit vulnerable communities hard and @savethechildren and @nokidhungry are on the ground and ready to serve. They just need our help! These funds will help us make sure that families know how to find meals when schools are closed, support mobile meal trucks, food banks and other community feeding programs, provide educational toys, books and worksheets, and support out-of-school-time programs to help kids make up for lost time in the classroom. If you can manage a one time gift of $10, please text SAVE to 20222. If another amount would work better for you, please visit our website—link in bio. There is no maximum and there is no minimum—together we will rise and together we can help. #SAVEWITHSTORIES
Chill Out With Coldplay
Coldplay frontman Chris Martin tweeted on Monday that he’ll be doing a live-stream on Instagram for any fans looking to chat, listen to music and hang out.
Daily Jam Sessions With Death Cab for Cutie
Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard is hosting musical sessions from his home studio, “Because we’re all going through this nightmare together we are quite literally NOT alone. Our lives and stories are all linked, maybe more now than they have ever been.” The musician clarified that he will be streaming these performances on Youtube and Facebook at 4 p.m. PT daily.
Social Distancing With Kevin Bacon
Kevin Bacon is known for being within at least six degrees of separation from any celebrity. Capitalizing on that, he’s urging the public to stay a few degrees away from their friends, too, with a social media campaign asking participants to use the hashtag #IStayHomeFor to identify the person in their life they’re protecting by self-isolating. Who’s Bacon staying home for? His wife, Kyra Sedgwick.
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#IStayHomeFor @kikkosedg! Hey everybody, it’s now so important to stay home and keep our distance from others if you are able. It’s one way we can help prevent the spread of #Coronavirus and save lives. The more of us who can, make it safer for those who can’t. So if you’re home too like me, post a video or photo with a sign like mine, telling who you are staying home for and ask 6 friends to do the same. Post it with the hashtag #IStayHomeFor so I can see and share. The more folks involved, the merrier – We’re all connected by various degrees (Trust me, I know!) I’m kicking it off with @jimmyfallon @eltonjohn @Brandicarlile @kevinhart4real @ddlovato @davidbeckham – but I encourage YOU ALL to join in too! Let’s use this 6 Degree thing to do some good! . . . . #Corona #Coronavirus #StayHome #StaySafe #6Degrees #ThinkingOfYou #SpreadTheWord
Reading With Beau Bridges
Following in the footsteps of Jennifer Garner and company, Beau Bridges will be reading children’s books Monday through Friday on Instagram Live at 12 p.m. PT, starting on Friday with the book “Inch and Miles: The Journey to Success.”
Banjo Tunes With Steve Martin
Steve Martin broke out his banjo for some Saturday morning tunes on Twitter.