Denis O'Hare, David Hyde Pierce, Rosie O'Donnell, Whoopi Goldberg Join Cast of When We Rise | Playbill

News Denis O'Hare, David Hyde Pierce, Rosie O'Donnell, Whoopi Goldberg Join Cast of When We Rise The limited ABC series is the creation of Dustin Lance Black.
David Hyde Pierce
Additional casting has been announced for ABC Studios' When We Rise, which was created and written by Oscar winner Dustin Lance Black (Milk).

Billed as an “epic event limited series,” the show will have a cast led by the previously reported Guy Pearce as LGBT activist Cleve Jones, Mary-Louise Parker as women's rights leader Roma Guy and Rachel Griffiths as her wife, social justice activist Diane, with Emily Skeggs (Fun Home) as Younger Roma Guy, Austin McKenzie as Younger Cleve Jones, newcomer Jonathan Majors as Younger Ken Jones and Fiona Dourif as Younger Diane.

Newly announced for When We Rise, according to, are Michael K. Williams as Ken Jones, the African American community organizer; Ivory Aquino as Cecilia Chung, a transgender activist; Whoopi Goldberg as Pat Norman, San Francisco Health Department's first openly gay employee; Rosie O'Donnell as Del Martin, co-founder of the first lesbian organization in the U.S., Dennis O’Hare as gay Democratic party organizer Jim Foster, and David Hyde Pierce as Cleve Jones' father, Dr. Jones.

Filming is currently underway in San Francisco and Vancouver.

When We Rise, according to press notes, “chronicles the real-life personal and political struggles, setbacks and triumphs of a diverse family of LGBT men and women who helped pioneer one of the last legs of the U.S. Civil Rights movement from its turbulent infancy in the 20th century to the once unfathomable successes of today.”

In an earlier statement writer Black said, “It's been the honor of my life to research and craft these stories of family, diversity and equality over the past three years…To have collaborators of this caliber sign on to help bring these stories to life is a tremendous vote of confidence, and I hope a testament to the relevancy and necessity of our continued march toward justice for all.”

The miniseries is executive-produced by Black, Laurence Mark, Bruce Cohen and Gus Van Sant for ABC. Van Sant will direct the two-hour premiere of the seven-episode event limited series. A broadcast date has yet to be announced.

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