Note: This is something I posted on my Facebook page on July 4, 2020, and I thought it might be worthwhile to put it on my website as well.
John and I watched HAMILTON last night – we never got to see it live – and we were both blown away. But halfway through the final credit roll, Disney shrank the screen down to a small, unreadable box. (If you use your remote to scroll over to the box and click ENTER, the box will go back to full size, but I didn’t know that last night.)
Here’s the thing: I would be willing to bet that 80-90% of the people on that credit roll are currently out of work. I’m not just talking about the people that worked on the actual Broadway show – the actors, designers, stage managers, run crew, orchestra, front of house staff, box office personnel, company managers, and all the other people responsible for HAMILTON – but also the people on the film end of the endeavor. So many people out of work. So many people trying to collect unemployment from systems that can’t keep up with current demand. So many people pivoting away from theatre and the performing arts to find some sort of job that will keep a roof over their heads and food in their mouths.
I read a post from Stage Manager Cate Cundiff this morning, and I’m borrowing a bit of it here because it’s important: “Think what would have happened if over the course of a week EVERYTHING in YOUR career disappeared. Not just all your future employment, but payment into your pension, 401k, and health insurance. What if you had to start over, from scratch, in a totally different field, had to completely re-evaluate what you want to do for a living, figure that out, get training, and find a job within the 3 months of unemployment providing a living wage? Oh yeah, and it’s during a pandemic.”
Broadway and some regional theatres are hoping for a restart in January 2021. However, until there’s a vaccine, a clearer idea of how COVID-19 spreads, and/or a viable way for theatres to restructure their front of house and backstage so both the production team and the audience are safe, even January 2021 may be premature.
So…besides clicking on HAMILTON’s minimized credit roll so you can read all those people’s names, what else can you do? You could:
- Ask your Senators to pass the HEROES Act and extend Pandemic Unemployment Compensation.
- Ask your members of Congress to cover the cost of COBRA with the Worker Health Coverage Protection Act.
- And ask your members of Congress to approve emergency supplemental funding for the arts.
That’s all I got today. Thanks for reading.