Rosie O’Donnell and Chorus of Broadway Stars Perform Musical Protest at White House

Seth Rudetsky, the host of Sirius XM’s “On Broadway,” helped organize the trip for cast members of “Hamilton,” “Wicked” and other shows.

WASHINGTON — Wearing shirts that read “Now Showing: Truth” and with accordions in tow, the comedian Rosie O’Donnell and a cast of Broadway actors and musicians bused from New York to Washington on Monday for a musical protest just outside the White House.

The performance was part of a series of daily demonstrations that have taken place in front of the White House since President Trump’s meeting in Helsinki, Finland, with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia. Monday was the 22nd night of the protests, which have been named the Kremlin Annex.

The cast members — who hailed from current and past runs of “Wicked,” “The Lion King,” “Hamilton,” “The Phantom of the Opera” and other shows — belted out songs meant to evoke a political edge or offer a tinge of hope for the hundreds of protesters who are disillusioned by Mr. Trump (who was in New Jersey during the performance). With demonstrators often singing along, the five-song set included climactic Broadway tunes such as “Do You Hear the People Sing?” from “Les Misérables” and “Everybody Rejoice/A Brand New Day” from “The Wiz.”

Ms. O’Donnell, who has been an adversary of Mr. Trump’s for more than a decade, organized the trip with the Broadway producer James Wesley and his husband, Seth Rudetsky, who is the host of Sirius XM’s “On Broadway” and a fixture of the Broadway scene.

“I said to him: I’m off on Monday. Can we get a bunch of Broadway folks to come down and sing something inspirational for these amazing people who’ve shown up here to protest the president and his administration?” Ms. O’Donnell told the crowd before the performance, referring to Mr. Rudetsky.

“Let your voice be heard,” Ms. O’Donnell added. “Let the president know in no uncertain terms that we are alive, awake and we are woke. We are not going away.”

The Great White Way has long been a site of political activism and expressions of unrest, with the last year and a half being no exception. Less than two weeks after Mr. Trump was elected, the “Hamilton” cast called on Vice President-elect Mike Pence and the incoming administration after a performance to “work on behalf of all” Americans. And Broadway plays and musicals have recently made subtle (and not so subtle) allusions to the president.

It is the diversity of Broadway, both in the subjects it tackles and the people who bring that vision to the stage, that makes creative protests such as Monday’s a clear extension of the community’s larger mission, said Ellie Neal, a 15-year-old from Fairfax, Va. She held a sign reading “Don Jr. was in the room where it happened,” a reference to both a song from “Hamilton” and a meeting Donald Trump Jr. attended with a Kremlin-connected lawyer before the election.

“Guys, it may seem hopeless to get this country back to its core American values but we can do it, and Rodgers and Hammerstein told us how to do it,” Mr. Rudetsky said before leading a performance of “Climb Every Mountain,” from “The Sound of Music.”

Sitting on the shoulders of her father holding a glittery sign that said “Tomorrow there’ll be more of us,” one of the youngest was Ellie Moritz, 7, who said she was excited to see “some of the people I want to be like when I grow up.” Her father, Brian Moritz, happened to be in town for a conference from Fairport, N.Y.

“To have this intertwine with a form of entertainment, a form of culture that our family cares about, it’s important for me for her to be a part of politics and to be active,” Mr. Moritz said.

Though some protesters mentioned Russian election interference as a top concern, Monday’s speakers focused more on what they see as the social implications of, and the social responsibility to combat, Mr. Trump’s presidency. Jim Obergefell, the plaintiff in the landmark Supreme Court case that guaranteed the right to same-sex marriage, said that “one person or a group of people really can change the world.”

Those words seemed particularly appropriate. Just minutes before, when a crying boy was lost in the sea of people, the crowd sprang into action to quickly find his father.

“It is depressing to see a child without a parent for five seconds,” said Kristin Mink, who confronted Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency who would later resign, while he was eating lunch at a restaurant last month. “What kind of administration is it that allows us to have hundreds, thousands of children without their parents for months?” she said, referring to the migrant family separations that occurred at the Southwest border under Mr. Trump’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy.

It’s a feeling that resonates with Janice Raspen, who wore a homemade T-shirt with the words “One Day More” covered by a red circle with a line through it, a reference to a song from “Les Misérables.” She came out on Monday to take her 13-year-old niece, Grace Awono, to her first protest, but also to say “no more days of him,” pointing to the White House.

Closing out the night’s performance, Mr. Rudetsky introduced the final song: “The lyrics going into the actual singalong don’t quite make a lot of sense, but there’s one lyric that makes a lot of sense, which we’re going to focus on.”

The ensemble then began to sing “Let the Sunshine In,” the finale of the 1968 musical “Hair,” as they marched back to the bus to New York.

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