Last week, I attended a Zoom Seder hosted by my girlfriend’s family. As an extremely lapsed Catholic, my Passover knowledge, I assumed, was pretty limited. That is, until we got to the portion of the evening where someone tells the story of Passover and I found myself nodding, slowly remembering details I’d forgotten I’d stored away. “And then he marries Tzipora,” I heard a voice that sounded suspiciously like mine contribute at one point. Turns out, dozens and dozens of viewings of The Prince of Egypt were finally good for something beyond enjoying the perfect music of Stephen Schwartz and Hans Zimmer.
If you are not familiar with The Prince of Egypt, I cannot recommend it more highly. If only because it features the song “When You Believe,” which was also recorded as a pop duet by Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston in the late ’90s to go along with the animated movie. “Iconic” is a term that gets tossed around too easily these days, but, my God, it is fucking iconic. On Saturday night, powerhouse vocalists Cynthia Erivo and Shoshana Bean performed a rendition of the number — accompanied by Schwartz himself on the keys — during “Saturday Night Seder, ” a YouTube Seder starring big names from screen and stage. Jason Alexander presided. Idina Menzel sang the four questions. Richard Kind and Debra Messing told the story of Passover. The Glazer siblings got increasingly drunk and high. Fran! Drescher was present! There’s also s Bette Middler cameo I will not spoil but brought me great joy. Josh Groban and Rachel “Mrs. Maisel” Brosnahan explained, in song, that, no, they are not Jewish.
The whole thing is a treat and ends on a surprisingly touching note. But if you’re only going to watch one thing, make it Bean and Erivo riffing from their respective living rooms. The event — hosted on BuzzFeed Tasty’s YouTube channel — raised over $2,350,000 in coronavirus relief funds for the CDC Foundation, a nonpartisan nonprofit. Why is this night different from all other nights? Please watch and enjoy for your answer.