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Jennifer Garner, Broadway stars ask students from canceled theater shows to perform online

Laura Benanti and Lin-Minuel Miranda also took to social media asking young thespians to show off their hard work.
/ Source: TODAY

School plays, track meets, art shows and recitals are canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, but Jennifer Garner, Lin Manuel-Miranda and Laura Benanti want to make sure that hardworking kids still get the recognition they deserve.

"This time of year has so many people, from preschoolers to professionals, working their tails off to perform. And now⁠—the games, the meets, the recitals, the productions, big and small⁠—are shut down," Garner wrote in an Instagram message Friday night. "Well, the show must go on, people!!! Break out your oboes, belt out your torch song, run in place⁠—I don't care. Show us what you've been working on and we will show it to the world. Use #heyjenlookatme, because I want to see."

By Saturday, the hashtag returned more than 1,000 results, including kids singing, dancing, sharing their art, and even one solving a Rubik's Cube.

Of course, great minds think alike. Broadway star Laura Benanti offered to be an online audience and encouraged performers to share videos of what they had been working on before productions were canceled.

"Well this is all insane," Benanti said in a video. "Very few people are at work. Most of my stuff is getting canceled because I'm in the business of being around a lot of people as most of us are and this may seem silly but I know that a lot of high schools were going to have their musicals and those musicals got canceled and that is a bummer because I know for so many of us—I know for me my high school musical was a lifesaver."

She added, "So if you would like to sing a song that you are not going to get to sing now and tag me, I want to see you. I want to hear it."

She asked her fans to use the #SunshineSongs hashtag. Benanti has been watching the videos and retweeting them to her followers. And it turns out she's not the only Tony-winner watching the young actors perform.

"Thank you, @LauraBenanti, thank you kids," wrote "Hamilton" star Lin-Manuel Miranda. "I'm watching too. #SunshineSongs"

Here are some of the amazing performances filling our feeds: