This will be brief.
And it will NOT be a trashy takedown of our Governor. Because he has done a fantastic job facing this monster of a crisis.
No, no. The choice words I have for him are his own
Let me explain . . .
After New York hit the apex, our Governor appealed for aid from the federal government.
And every day he expressed frustration at how Congress was talking about diving up the money.
His argument was simple . . . More money should go to the states that suffered the most.
He even got into Twitter fights about it.
And of course, he was right. The people who hurt the most should get the most help.
So, Governor (and Honorable Mayor de Blasio, as well), I hope that logic will apply to Broadway and the theater as well.
See, the theater is one of the hardest hit industries in our city, our state . . . and on the damn planet. There is no curbside pick-up for the theater. No take-out. No 50% occupancy.
It’s all or nothing. And for the foreseeable future, it’s nothing.
When you give the green light for New York to enter ‘Stage 4 on Monday’ (cross fingers), theater doors will remain shut.
And almost 100,000 actors, musicians, stagehands, and more will remain out of work.
Like New York state, these individuals suffer the most.
And, at the same time, these individual are part of an industry that has an economic impact of $14.7 billion a year.
So, using your logic, shouldn’t the industry that is suffering the most, yet providing the most, get the most?
Isn’t this the same as you telling the fed that New York should get the most, because it paid the most to federal coffers?
You know why this blog can be brief?
Because what you said makes so much sense.
And now it makes sense for us.
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Interested in hearing more about how Broadway and the theater comes back? Last chance to join the 3 Part video series that started earlier this week. But the 3rd video – about safety in the era of coronavirus – is still to come! And when you sign up, you get access to the other vids as well. Click here.
On March 22nd of this year, just a few months after moving into the city to be closer to me and his granddaughter, my Dad, Dr. Kenny Hasija, had a stroke. And as the sun was coming up on Easter morning, he passed.
It has been an interesting time to deal with this loss to say the least, because my Dad was my coach, my cheerleader, my chief strategist, and my friend. Because boy oh boy, could I have used his caring counsel over the past few months.
And as the corona-crisis continues, I am going to miss having him around over the next several months to do what he did so well, and encourage me to keep on keepin’ on.
My dad has been encouraging me since my earliest memory of him. He urged me to learn more, to try more, to speak up more, to fail more, to fight more, to love more . . . and he sacrificed more than he ever let on to make sure I could take every opportunity I had.
Put it this way . . . how many immigrant Indian Doctors do you know who would say, “Go for it,” when their son said he wanted to give up on law school and pursue a life in the theater???
(He didn’t even blink, by the way.)
His encouragement kept me going then . . . and as I vowed to him in his final few days, I will always keep going.
I also vowed to do everything I could to pass on that spirit of encouragement to my daughter, and to anyone else I met who had a passion for the theater.
So, I started a simple scholarship in his name . . . called The “Dr. Kenny” (as he liked to be called) Encouragement Fund.
I was planning on issuing just one $1,000 gift to someone attending school in the fall and pursuing a career in the theater industry. But after I wrote my blog on Wednesday about the number of artists who may already be out of school but struggling to stay in the city to pursue their dreams, I decided to offer two:
If you would like to apply for these scholarships or know someone who would, please click here or share this blog.
Because as I’ve learned from being on the juries for other scholarships, it’s actually hard to get the word out to the folks who could use these funds the most. So please, share this sucker around so we can help encourage folks to keep making theater.
Because we’re going to need TheaterMakers more than ever when this is all over.
I’m hoping to continue this scholarship every year, and I’m hoping that it grows, and that my father’s encouragement to me from above can help me add some zeroes to these amounts. (If you want to help and join some of my family and my father’s friends who are committed to encouraging others, and learn a bit more about my dad, click here.)
To be honest, I even thought about waiting to start this scholarship until I got that big fat hit I will have someday and I could give more.
But then, on Father’s Day this year, I remembered some of the encouraging advice that my Dad gave me years ago.
“Just start, Kenneth. Begin. A seed can’t grow until it is planted.”
I hope that my Dad’s advice and this gift can help encourage some of you.
To apply, click here.
It’s one thing to read a book once.
But it takes an extra special book to read twice.
Go on. Take a moment. Think about all the books you’ve read more than once. I’d bet that they’re pretty special to you, am I right?
This year I read a bunch of books for the second time. But what’s especially interesting about these books is that I read them a second time within twelve months of reading them the FIRST time.
Any books like that in your life?
Since these books had such an impact on me, I wanted to share them with you, because, well, quite literally, they helped me have one of the best years of my life. So I owe it to the books and to the Authors of those books to get them out into the world.
And, because I know so many of you want to do big things in the theater, in business, or in whatever, I have this 2x in 12-month feeling that they’ll help you.
So here you go . . . Five Books I’ve Read 2x in the Past 12 Months.
If you have any recommendations of your own, post on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and tag me in it – maybe you’ll see your suggestion in another upcoming blog.
To Kill A Mockingbird is killing it at the box office. This week it became the highest grossing single-week play in Broadway history with a tally of over $1.7mm. Super props to Superstar Producer Scott Rudin for wrestling these rights to the ground. Can you believe the estate almost pulled their permission? I bet those lawyers are thanking their luck 1-2% underlying rights royalty that they let it happen.
Now how many other Authors of classic family novels do you think are being approached now that these box office numbers have come in?
I like to hire entrepreneurs. One of my questions during my interview process is, “Have you ever run your own business?” Well, my marketing director has a kick-ass niche coloring book company. She makes custom books based on whatever subject you want. My favorite? “Dress The Drag Queen”.
Waaay back in 2009, I wrote a blog about an actress who had defied the odds and snagged the rights for a musical version of The Notebook. I even went to see it and spoke to Nicholas Sparks myself. Well, The Notebook is finally coming to Broadway . . . but with an entirely new team including Ingrid Michaelson. See here.
It took a few years, but Medium.com is making more of a name for itself now, even though it’s struggling to make more money. Founded by the founder of Twitter (which is also struggling), it mixes pro and amateur publishers together in an online magazine. I think it’s pretty nifty to read what real people think, and I’ll actually be publishing an article there soon myself. It’s worth signing on and getting articles in your inbox that you actually want to read.
Enjoy your weekend, and I hope you find a top five worth writing about.