Suburban stars in seclusion: Gary Sinise helps heroes, Phillipa Soo sings

  • Libertyville native Phillipa Soo appeared with other original "Hamilton" cast members in the second episode of John Krasinski's online series "Some Good News."

    Libertyville native Phillipa Soo appeared with other original "Hamilton" cast members in the second episode of John Krasinski's online series "Some Good News." YouTube

 
 
Posted4/14/2020 6:00 AM

Many stars from the suburbs are doling out cheer -- and charity -- during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We checked in on a few.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The room where it happened

John Krasinski has been doing his part to share "Some Good News," and the actor/director's weekly YouTube comedy webcast has already racked up more 10 million views for its second episode, which included a star from Libertyville as part of a big Broadway surprise.

Libertyville native Phillipa Soo, second row and far left, appeared with other original "Hamilton" cast members in the second episode of John Krasinski's online series "Some Good News."
Libertyville native Phillipa Soo, second row and far left, appeared with other original "Hamilton" cast members in the second episode of John Krasinski's online series "Some Good News." - YouTube

Krasinski reached out to a young girl named Aubrey in Florida who tweeted about her disappointment in missing the national tour of "Hamilton." As a consolation, Aubrey and her family watched the musical's creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Emily Blunt in the Disney film "Mary Poppins Returns."

Krasinski cooked up a special surprise via Zoom so Aubrey could meet both Blunt (Krasinski's wife) and Miranda. But then the original Broadway company of "Hamilton" -- including Libertyville's Phillipa Soo -- piped in to sing the opening number, Aubrey's self-professed favorite.

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The Gary Sinise Foundation Snowball Express released an online video about its program giving the children of fallen military heroes the chance to visit Walt Disney World in Florida.
The Gary Sinise Foundation Snowball Express released an online video about its program giving the children of fallen military heroes the chance to visit Walt Disney World in Florida. - YouTube
Meeting Mickey

Looking for a feel-good video? Check out Gary Sinise's recently posted YouTube video about a late 2019 trip to Disney World -- with the families of fallen heroes.

The star of "Forrest Gump" and "CSI: NY," who grew up in Glen Ellyn and Highland Park, has used his celebrity to support the military and first responders via the Gary Sinise Foundation. And his Snowball Express initiative helps the children and surviving spouses of fallen military heroes. So this past December, more than 1,750 kids and their guardians gathered for a Snowball Express vacation at Walt Disney World Resort. The video features Sinise and the families on their way to Orlando.

Cue the tears -- and mouse ears.

The Gary Sinise Foundation has also jumped into a new battle with a campaign called Emergency COVID-19 Combat Service, which provides grants to first responders and works to acquire personal protective equipment.

Former Hoffman Estates resident Sherri Shepherd interviewed her "Less Than Perfect" sitcom co-star Zachary Levi during an Instagram Live online session.
Former Hoffman Estates resident Sherri Shepherd interviewed her "Less Than Perfect" sitcom co-star Zachary Levi during an Instagram Live online session. - YouTube
Sherri Shepherd unmasked

Fans of actress and comedian Sherri Shepherd should follow her on Instagram, where the former Hoffman Estates resident has kicked off online quarantine interviews.

Shepherd recently chatted with her "Less Than Perfect" sitcom co-star Zachary Levi about a whole range of topics -- including the upside of quarantine. An exuberant Levi even sings Joe Cocker's "With A Little Help From My Friends" near the end of the interview after Shepherd bemoans her early exit from Fox's "The Masked Singer."

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