Our current (but fortunately soon-to-be former) administration has done nothing by way of hope or healing when it comes to the coronavirus pandemic. As a result, we have had to rely on each other. Chef José Andrés is still feeding his adopted countryfolk and Guy Fieri is raising more money for food industry folks than any law maker has done. The arts are looking out for their own as well. Many of us often think of actors as stars with movie and TV deals who are able to take months off work. However so many working actors are suffering. Broadway went dark in March of 2020 when Gov Andrew Cuomo and The Broadway League shut down theater. The original April 13 reopening date has been pushed back a few times. We recently heard that Dr. Fauci told the theater industry that theymight be able to reopen in the fall. While that is good news, it’s still a ways off for people without a paycheck. Last spring, people like Rosie O’Donnell put together some fundraisers to help, but those only go so far. Broadway’s flashy cousin, television, is stepping in to help out. Law & Order: SVU has been fortunate enough to go back into production. They’re hiring out of work Broadway actors and giving them enough hours to keep their insurance and hopefully tide them over.
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit is looking for Broadway actors to cast in their show.
Last week, the popular New York-based NBC show announced their cast for an upcoming episode, revealing that Tony-nominated Hadestown actress Eva Noblezada and Beetlejuice star Alex Brightman would be joining.
When a fan commented on their Broadway resumés, showrunner Warren Leight replied, “We are trying to hire every Broadway actor we can while we and they wait for the curtains to rise again.”
And in an interview with Deadline, Leight said, “We know how hard the community has been hit here. The goal is to get as many jobs to as many theater actors as we possibly can.”
He also explained that while the Broadway-filled roles range from one-day parts to “more substantial” appearances — they all provide a workday minimum required for union health insurance.
I hope other shows follow suit. I realize this only solves one issue and doesn’t address all the costume designers, set dressers, stagehands, theater personnel, and other supporting staff out of work but it’s a start. I wish they could film plays performed to audiences filled with cardboard cutouts like the major sports leagues have, but I understand the ad revenue isn’t there. Could you imagine the experimental theater junkies, though – they’d have a field day with an empty theater! Good for SVU to meet a need with a simple hire. It’s a lovely way to reach out to a neighboring community. Plus, how fun to see some our favorite Broadway faces on the small screen. It’s fun watching stage actors trying to dial it down for film, too. There’s always a stage moment that slips through.
Between Hollywood reaching out and Dr. Fauci’s projected reopening date, it’s an injection of positivity that the theater community needs. And theater people magnify positively. You give them an ounce of hope and we all feed for days. Bring those good vibes, Broadway, we could use them.
And yes, by Broadway, we of course also mean off, and off-off, and off-off-off.
— Warren Leight (@warrenleightTV) January 6, 2021
— Law & Order SVU (@LawandOrderSVU1) January 11, 2021
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