“Dear Senators: Without your immediate action for financial relief by Aug. 1, we will collapse, and the result will be an economic cataclysm.” declares an “open letter,” signed by hundreds of members of the theater community, calling for an extension of Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) by Aug. 1, and $43.85 billion in economic relief for arts and culture institutions.
As actor and activist Nick Westrate writes in the Daily Beast, American Theater Workers Urgently Need Financial Help. The Government Must Step In.
“Earlier this week, a New York Times article read: Hands are out as Congress is set to begin negotiating a new round of pandemic stimulus. Airlines, hotels, restaurants. Military contractors and banks. Even Broadway actors.’ That “even” hit many of us working theater artists hard. Let me tell you why.
“The arts in New York City is a major economic engine. According to a study commissioned last year by the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Entertainment, theater is responsible for $1.3 billion in annual economic output, 8,409 jobs, and $513 million in salaries. The Broadway closedown, effective from March 12, has had a massive financial impact on New York, and a massive personal impact on those who work within it….The only path forward is sustained financial relief until the virus is under control, and our industry must be taken seriously.”
Actors Equity released the following statement:
“Equity members want to go back to work, but the industry has been shut down since March because in most states, it is still not safe for mass gatherings,” said Kate Shindle, President of Actors’ Equity Association. “The artists who fuel our gigantic, nationwide economic engine have gone months without work, and the weekly $600 included in the CARES Act is all that is keeping our workers afloat as they stare down an uncertain future. How much longer will Senator McConnell wait to bring up the HEROES Act for a vote? The Senate must act.”
— Be An #ArtsHero (@BeAnArtsHero1) July 4, 2020
Are all the famous writers, directors, musicians, megastars, divas, composer-performer hyphenates, triple threats, and influencers…busy?https://t.co/LRNzVBuX18
— Helen Shaw (@Helen_E_Shaw) July 25, 2020
The Week in Theater
The 2,300-year-old theater of Epidaurus, renowned for its beauty and its acoustics, reopened for a live open-air performance of the oldest surviving Greek drama, “The Persians” by Aeschylus, which was live-streamed around the world (in Greek with English captions.)
“Heroes of the Fourth Turning,” Will Arbery’s much-acclaimed play about a gathering of former classmates at a conservative Catholic college in Wyoming, not only worked amazingly well as a Zoom play last week; in some ways, it improved on the production at Playwrights Horizons last October.
— New York Theater (@NewYorkTheater) July 26, 2020
The Week in Theater News
Actor T. Oliver Reid and choreographer Warren Adams have created a new organization, the Black Theatre Coalition, that aims to “remove the illusion of inclusion” and increase opportunities for Black theater professionals. Their effort “is already making an impact: When Broadway resumes, a revival of the Stephen Sondheim-George Furth musical “Company,” has committed to hiring 10 young black men and women for paid internships…”
“Theatre Can’t Miss This Moment”: Awesome Audra McDonald talks with Michael Schulman about her career, recovering from suicide attempt during @Juilliard, turning 50, life in quarantine …and co-founding Black Theatre United, pushing for change:
“When you look at Broadway or theatre in general, it may look, like, “Well, there was a Black person in that ensemble” or “someone was playing the Black best friend” or “you just had ‘Tina’ on Broadway.” But, a lot of times when you go backstage, there’s no color in the I.A.T.S.E., in the wardrobe union, the hair-and-makeup union, the stage managers. People in casting—I can’t think of a single person of color…”
IATSE union reopening guidelines Recommendations include the employment of COVID-19 “compliance officers,” paid sick leave and diagnostic testing of workers
A new, yet untitled, play by @Lynnbrooklyn (Sweat, etc) coming to @2STNYC in Fall, 2021. The formerly incarcerated kitchen staff at a truck stop sandwich shop labor under a callous owner but are inspired by a zen-like chef who dreams of the perfect sandwich.
Can’t wait! pic.twitter.com/HhyHUKxhLp
— New York Theater (@NewYorkTheater) July 21, 2020
Also coming to @2STNYC, aiming for Spring, 2021:
“Letters of Suresh” by Rajiv Joseph (Bengal Tiger at Baghdad Zoo)
Itimate mysteries through a series of letters between strangers, friends, daughters, and lovers — many with little in common but a hunger for human connection. pic.twitter.com/EA2HhFLkNL
— New York Theater (@NewYorkTheater) July 21, 2020
Broadway Records will release “Nick Cordero: Live Your Life,” music from his Feinstein’s/54 Below concert, on Sept. 17 — what would have been his 42nd birthday.
Composer Alan Menken on Sunday became the 16th person to have won competitive Emmy, Grammy, Oscar AND Tony award — en EGOT — by winning an Emmy for the song “Waiting in the Wings,” Disney Channel’s Rapunzel’s Tangled Adventure. . also has won eight Oscars, with those wins coming for songs and scores from The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and Pocahontas. He also has won 11 Grammys, for his work on the aforementioned films. He won a Tony Award in 2012 for best original score for Newsies.
#SpikeLee‘s film of the Broadway musical @americanutopia will kick off the 45th annual Toronto International Film Festival (@TIFF_NET) on September 10. (It may be a virtual screening)
Then it’ll go to @HBO in the Fall. pic.twitter.com/Lxf6MJH2XR
— New York Theater (@NewYorkTheater) July 25, 2020
Disney+ plans to stream Aladdin by the end of the year, in order to retain new subscribers lured by Hamilton
Theater Blog Roundup: Yes, Hamilton, but also Summer Theater Books, Disability Rights Month, Albee on Stage and Screen
It’s Disability Rights Month, how about we commit to making society broadly accessible? This article is about the difficulty face masks pose to the hearing impaired, but it makes a general point. https://t.co/s8mOdrRULW pic.twitter.com/CazzDL7Rx7
— New York Theater (@NewYorkTheater) July 24, 2020
Tied to the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, signed July 26, 1990, a special section in the New York Times, including:
Actors with disabilities are rarely tapped to play disabled characters. Ali Stroker, Marlee Matlin and others share their views on representation in the entertainment industry.
Rest in Peace
Her three Broadway roles:
The Week in Videos
Person, Woman, Man, Camera, TV, a new musical by Kander and Ebb
The National Theatre at Home weekly online presentations have been a revelation — and will be missed. (Last three: Lorraine Hansberry’s Les Blancs, Terence Rattigan’s The Deep Blue Sea, Peter Shaffer’s Amadeus)
Lea Salonga (in the Philippines),Sierra Boggess (in NYC)
Julian Ovenden (in London), and Gerónimo Rauch (in Argentina) sing “On My Own” as part of #WeAreTheatre