Joe Giudice who was released from prison last month for financial fraud, said he didn't know he wasn't an American citizen.
The Sorry hitmaker has reportedly made "amazing progress" and his wife Hailey Bieber has been "very supportive".
Show organiser Andrew Bird told the BBC that when Cognito sat down and fell silent, "everyone in the crowd, me included, thought he was joking."
The Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra will perform music from Planet Earth II as scenes from the documentary are played overhead.
The city's resolve to take Smollett to civil court follows a surprising decision by prosecutors in March to drop all criminal charges accusing him of staging the hate crime.
The Daily Telegraph's articles related to an allegation Rush behaved inappropriately to a co-star during a Sydney Theatre Company production of King Lear in 2015-16.