“It must be nice, it must be nice, to have Washington on your side…” is what theaters throughout the nation might be feeling after Broadway’s “Hamilton” star Chris Jackson’s livestream benefit concert on Saturday, Aug. 15.
Most recognized for originating the role of George Washington in the musical phenomenon “Hamilton,” Jackson will bring live theater and music into the homes of many this weekend for the virtual concert “Christopher Jackson: Live From the West Side.” Proceeds from this event will benefit Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa, as well as several performing arts centers and institutions throughout the country.
The one-night-only concert will feature Jackson and his live band performing Broadway show tunes, pop hits, original songs — including a tribute to his idol Harry Belafonte — as well as sharing stories about his adventures in hit musicals “Hamilton,” “In the Heights,” “Freestyle Love Supreme” and his role in the CBS television show “Bull.”
The Tony nominated and Grammy and Emmy Award-winning actor, singer and songwriter says he was “itching to get on stage” and is excited to help performing arts centers and their employees during the COVID-19 pandemic crisis.
“The idea that we could actually safely pull this off was obviously very appealing to me. I think we’re all trying to find a lane by which we can get back on stage and share what we do with the public,” said Jackson, “The idea that we were going to be doing it in a way that allows people to stay at home and be safe, but still get a taste of a live experience means so much.”
The livestream, a co-production of Dallas Summer Musicals and Entertainment Benefits Group, is being shared by a number of non-for-profit arts presenters around the country. The event will take place at New York’s New World Stages, the off-Broadway venue that has housed productions of “Jersey Boys,” “Avenue Q” and many others.
Ticket holders will also have the opportunity to text questions to Jackson for a real time question-and-answer session. When asked what he wants his home audiences to feel when the concert is over, Jackson said there is a lot, but mainly that people have a great time.
“I want them to say we had a great time. Or that they feel a lot less heavy than they felt when they first sat down. That they want to have another glass of wine and listen to some Stevie Wonder or some ‘In the Heights’ or ‘Hamilton.’ That they are inspired to call someone up and tell them they love them. That they are inspired to tuck their kids in a little bit longer and spend more time with them. That whatever it is in their life that they are loving on or could love on more, that they are inspired to do that.”
The virtual event requires only one ticket per household, and the event is suitable for all ages.
“I think ultimately my hope is that everybody is reminded that it isn’t about some perfect scenario with theater or music or art or anything else, but that art is happening in real time and it only happens when someone is there to receive it, and someone can feel something. There’s always going to be better singers, there’s always going to be slicker productions. There’s always going to be a million other tricks that could be employed, but when you break it all down and simplify it, an artist shares something because they have to. It becomes something as essential as air,” said Jackson.
“And the center of that sharing is love and generosity, and that’s what we’re trying to promote. So, my hope is that everyone has a great time, crack a bottle of wine, have some dinner, and enjoy yourself. We’re going to enjoy ourselves. We just have to.”
Christopher Jackson: Live From The West Side
Presented by Segerstrom Center for the Arts
Tickets for are $40 per household and are available online at the SCFTA.org or by calling (714) 556-2787, Monday – Friday between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.