Here’s who I saw…
I mentioned the long list of players in yesterday’s performance (here), and today you can expect Will Smith, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Simon Cowell, Rosie O’Donnell, Dr. Phil, Dr. Oz, Nate Berkus, Jerry Seinfeld, Micheal Jordan, Jamie Foxx, Stevie Wonder, Maya Angelou, Alicia Keyes, Aretha Franklin, Usher, Kristin Chenowith, Maria Shriver, Gayle King, Stedman Graham. And maybe others. Those are the individuals that I can remember off the top of my head. Today’s show is the best. Watch it.
Here’s what I learned…
The Producers of the Oprah Show are some of the best storytellers out there. These people write and tell stories with their segments. Each segment has a theme, a conflict, and a resolution. A complete story arch. And last week, as they created, produced, and filmed this Academy-Awards-Style, Broadwayesque, giant stadium show, they simply and thoughtfully told a dozen or so stories. Yesterday’s show covered, Oprah’s dreaming big dreams, Oprah’s favorite things, Giving back, Girls’ empowerment, Oprah’s messages to women around the world, Oprah’s viewers impact on the world and on each other. Bam. Each portion of the evening intentionally told a story in a smart, beautiful and inspirational way. It was intense. It’s such a simple concept, but so difficult to actually do. They wrote and performed a novel that night. So well done. I can’t remember all of the stories that they will tell today (by this time, I was squarely outside of my body), but I know for sure that some of them have to do with the impact she’s had on men around the world and her role in education. And there was not a dry eye in the house. Trust me on this.
Here were my favorite parts…
Besides Beyonce’s empowering performance yesterday (Oh Good Lord!) (You can watch it here) … my three favorite parts were all in today’s show.
1. Jamie Foxx singing “Isn’t She Lovely” to Oprah, as Stevie Wonder on a grand piano rose up from the floor stage to finish the song. Are you kidding me? At one point Oprah said in a casual voice, “Thank you, Stevie Wonder.” And Maggie and I were like, is this real? It feels like any minute now Olivia Newton John will come out in a rollerskating Xanadu outfit with a leprechaun and we’ll all go to space on a magic bus. Or something.
2. Maria Shriver and Gayle King walking up to the stage to support Oprah. This happened during an intense part (next item below) and it was lovely to see her best friends literally supporting her on each side. What a Polaroid of friendship. Especially since the bruhaha news about Maria Shriver’s family hit the press that very day. I’m sure she wanted to just hide out under the covers that morning. But there she stood, taking the stage in front of thousands (looking drop-dead gorgeous!) to support her friend. Beautiful.
3. And Kristin Chenoweth’s performance of “For Good” (listen to this best song ever right here) with graduates from Morehouse College. This was my favorite part, times 25. That’s all I’ll say. Just watch it. (Seriously, go watch it right now.) This brings it right back to what really matters. And for the eyerolling naysayers, this busts through all their snarky “cult of Oprah” garbage and empirically shows the real good she’s made happen.
Again, I feel so lucky to have been there. But really, the best seats in the house are the seats in your own home, watching this as it was meant to be seen…As an intentionally created, beautifully told, immaculately produced story on television.
I’m going to record these stories and watch them like I read my favorite chapters in a book. Over and over and over.
Thank you, Team Oprah.
Thank you for sharing your stories with us.