April 9, 2021: What TheaterMakers Are Talking About This Week

From Actors’ Equity releasing new protocols for fully vaccinated productions to the first performance in a Broadway theater since March 2020, here’s what TheaterMakers were talking about this week . . . 

 

1 – Broadway Reopened. For 36 Minutes. It’s a Start.

This event showcased the dancer Savion Glover and the actor Nathan Lane, where they performed before a masked audience of 150 scattered across one of the biggest Broadway Theaters, St. James. This event was the first such experiment since the coronavirus pandemic caused to close on March 12, 2020. It’s the first step home — the first of many,” said Jordan Roth. “This is not, ‘Broadway’s back!’ This is ‘Broadway is coming back!’ And we know it can because of this.”

Read more: nytimes.com

 

2 – Wear a Mask, Avoid Intermission: Lessons from the Covid Think Tank Town Hall 

The rapid rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine has increased new and improved ideas and optimism about indoor theater swiftly reopening in the U.S. In addition to the vaccine, testing, enhanced theater ventilation, and continued mask-wearing is also the key to gradually restarting the industry. Their plan for reopening? “Plan now,” Dr. Smith said. “Even if you don’t have a go-live date…There are so many layers. There’s a lot to think about and to talk about.”

Read More: broadwayjournal.com

 

3 – COVID Passports: Entertainment venues air concerns over plans

The government has said Covid-status certificates could be used at theatres, nightclubs, and festivals starting in June. They could be used to prove vaccination or testing. They will be trialing this at events at venues in Liverpool, as well as sporting events. 

Read more: bbc.com 

 

4 – Actors’ Equity releases new safety protocols for vaccinated productions

The new guidelines come after the backlash from the community about previous protocols. Absent from these protocols are the requirements of private transportation to and from theaters, as well as the need for Plexiglas and 12 feet of distance on stage. Those regulations are still included in documents for indoor theater productions without a fully vaccinated workforce.

Read More: broadwaynews.com

 

5 – Neil Diamond Bio-Musical Sets Sights on Broadway

A Beautiful Noise is set to run for four weeks at the Emerson Colonial Theater Boston in 2022, the show’s producers, Ken Davenport and Bob Gaudio announced on Tuesday. They plan to bring the production to Broadway following that run.

Read more: nytimes.com

 

FUN ON A FRIDAY! Josh Groban’s New Song

Bush’s Beans and Josh Groban teamed up to give the bean the ballad it deserves.

 

 

—————————————————————————

Want to be part of an online community of #theatermakers? Join 600+ theatermakers here. Best part? It’s completely free.

Fun on a Friday: Remember this early pandemic parody video from a year ago?

Here’s a little fun as we go into the weekend.

A year ago, when I knew I wasn’t going to be producing for a while, and yet I HAD to produce something, I produced this!

I called up Kleban award-winning lyricist, Amanda Yesnowitz, who dashed off some brilliant parody lyrics in about a minute and a half (great writers know how to deliver on a deadline), called the Broadway Princess Party, and bam . . . look at what they did!

Hope you enjoy this still important message as we start to open up.

Want to read the original post announcing this video?  Click here for a trip back in time!  To when we thought the pandemic might last six weeks!  (Who was that dude who said it’d be gone by Easter?  Oh right, that guy.  Thank God he’s gone!)

7 Predictions For When Broadway Comes Back. Part II

Welcome back, readers, and prepare ye for four more predictions for post-Covid Broadway.
 
In case you missed it, my first four projections went up here a wee 24 hours ago. And I emailed some of you Early Adopters the remaining four last night.
 
For those of you not on that list (which you can get here), here are four MORE things that will change when Broadway comes out of its coronavirus cave.
 
4. Streaming will still be a thing.
 
Not only is streaming not going away, but it will expand even when we don’t need it like we do now.
 
I’m not talking about the umpteen livestreams that are poppin’ up like podcasts or blogs did a few years ago. No, no. Most of those will disappear like . . . well, like the many podcasts and blogs that lie dormant in the internet graveyard.
 
I’m talking about full on productions, filmed for posterity and (hopefully) profit.
 
This shutdown has proven how fragile our economic model is. We (and when I say we, I mean all sides of the aisle from Producers to Artists) are going to need an insurance policy in the future, just in case . . . just in case . . .
 
I think that’s a cue for my 5th prediction.
 
5. Broadway will shut down again.
 
At some point in the next few decades, we will go through this again. We’ll be effin’ better at it then, for sure, but this will not be the last time a pandemic put our backs against the wall.
 
Remember when we never shut down for snowstorms? And then a few years ago, we just did. And now, we close up shop about once a year for a storm of some sort (and for good reason, I might add – as nothing is more important than safety).
 
The virus dam has broken on Broadway and around the country, and I predict we’ll go through another contagious storm during my lifetime.
 
(I say this NOT to be alarmist, by the way. I say it so that we’ll prepare for it. And yes, capturing our performances is one way.)
 
6. Remember all those corporations that came into town?
 
Here is the thing about big business . . . they come when they smell money, and they run when they don’t. Broadway’s boom brought a lot of boys to our yard. But they don’t like to sweat like a startup. That’s why I’d bet that we’ll see fewer corporate players on Broadway when we come back.
 
And that’s not such a bad thing.
 
Fewer bucks from boardrooms means more room for the independent TheaterMaker. And that, my friends is what we need to get us back to where we were before and beyond.
 
As Cameron Macintosh said, “It is my instinct that the theatre has always survived on mavericks – people with a passion for the theatre who go their own way.”
 
So get ready, because our depression may lead to our renaissance.
 
Which leads me to . . . my seventh and final prediction (for now anyway).  And, you know what?  If I only got this next one right, I’d gladly be wrong about the other six, because it’s that important.
 
7. Black Lives will matter on Broadway.
 
Yes, I say this because it should happen. Yes, I say this to put it in the universe to will it to happen. But I also predict that it will happen because of what I’m seeing start to happen.
 
And this beginning is because of the honest and courageous work of the organizations that are rising to this challenge, or who have been born from it. Broadway Advocacy Coalition (if you haven’t attended one of their forums, you simply must), Black Theatre United, Black Theatre Coalition, Black Theatre Network and all those orgs (including those led by students (!)  at universities), the theater owes you a debt that we can only repay through our action.
I’ve pledged to take action. And I encourage all TheaterMakers to do the same. Because we just can’t let up, even when the Covid crisis is over.
 
Those are my predictions . . . what are yours? Do you see big changes, small changes, any changes coming to Broadway post-Covid? Put ’em in the comments below.
 
Oh, and if you want to hear the predictions of people much smarter than I am, you should come to this.
 

A few (choice) words from Governor Cuomo (that may sound familiar).

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.

– – – – –

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.

[Announcement] The Dr. Kenny Encouragement Fund Scholarship For TheaterMakers

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:

  1.  $1,000 to someone enrolled in or going to post-secondary school.
  2.  $1,000 to any TheaterMaker out there pursuing a career in the business.

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.

 

X