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Jan Friedlander Svendsen — best known as the chief creative officer for the Charity Network and as the woman who got engaged on live TV during the 2018 Emmys to show director Glenn Weiss — has teamed with the Broadway Podcast Network to launch a philanthropy-focused series. Titled Broadway Gives Back, it drops Jan. 6 and will feature conversations with high-profile entertainers and others opening up on social responsibility and how and why they gravitated toward specific causes.
“The feel-good podcast will also showcase ways ‘everyday philanthropists’ can do good through education and taking action,” per a release announcing the project. First-season guests include (in order): Judith Light; Gloria and Emilio Estefan; Luis and Lin-Manuel Miranda; Tony winner Gavin Creel, Tom Viola and Danny Whitman (for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS); and activist, author and entrepreneur Dan Pallotta.
For host Friedlander Svendsen, the podcast marries two passions, philanthropy and Broadway. Prior to Charity Network, she spent 18 years working on Broadway by running marketing and cause-related programming for the Tony Awards and the Broadway League. “I learned everything about giving back and trying to be a philanthropic person from my mom. She was a Holocaust survivor who spread unconditional love to everyone she met,” says Friedlander Svendsen. “Growing up, we made bag lunches on Sunday mornings and distributed them to the homeless on Venice Beach. We met a man with visual impairments at a bank and helped him that day and then continued to help him every week with his banking and errands. My mom was a Girl Scout leader, a PTA president, a volunteer at the City of Hope and a supporter of Black Lives Matter long before there was a name for it. I learned what I lived.”
Still, even when Broadway Podcast Network’s Dori Berinstein approached her with the possibility of hosting a new show, Friedlander Svendsen said she had to take some time to think about it. “To be honest, I wasn’t much of a podcast listener. But we were in the middle of a pandemic and a lockdown so I started listening to more podcasts. I never really thought that I would actually do this, but then one night something clicked and I realized it would be interesting to have meaningful conversations about doing good and being of service.”
Broadway Gives Back will be available on the Broadway Podcast Network and other podcast platforms.
A version of this story first appeared in the Jan. 6 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.
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