Law and Order: SVU trying to ‘hire every Broadway actor we can’


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.

[From People]

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.

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15 Responses to “Law and Order: SVU trying to ‘hire every Broadway actor we can’”

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  1. Mignionette says:

    Read about this yesterday and it is so admirable they are doing this. I had wondered why Raoul Esparza had returned for last weeks episode.

    Good for them.

    • mimi says:

      Same here! Was tickled to see Barba back in action last week, but wondered why he was back all of the sudden :)

  2. Becks1 says:

    This is such a great thing for the show to be doing. I havent watched it in YEARS but maybe i’ll start turning on it again (no particular reason why I stopped, it just fell off my radar.)

  3. Esmom says:

    That bottom shot looks like a still from a soap and in looking closer (I don’t watch the show), I recognize the female actor from All My Children. (Woot woot!) I was always happy when soap actors successfully made the leap to bigger projects, and I love the idea of Broadway actors getting a bigger audience because of projects like this. But it really feels like a drop in the bucket.

  4. Jenn4037 says:

    I will make sure to watch this in real time to support them with ratings. Yes, I’m sure they wish they could do more, but every little bit helps. Helping one person is more than zero. Great job SVU.

  5. Liane says:

    “…they all provide a workday minimum required for union health insurance.”

    My cold cynical heart just grew 3 sizes when I read that. Brilliant.

    • Mignionette says:

      Yeah I guessed this is what they were doing. This is about keeping as many people as they can unionized.

      • schmootc says:

        It’s very strategic and I’m glad they thought it through enough to make sure people could keep their benefits.

  6. paddyjr says:

    This is great! Dick Wolf has a history of using NYC-based and/or theatre actors in the L&O universe so this is very on-brand. It may seem “a drop in the bucket” to some, but every little bit helps. Hopefully, as other productions start again, they will follow suit and struggling actors/crew can find enough work to sustain them.

  7. ce says:

    Svu is such a staple in the NY Film community it may as well be legacy at this point. I know they’re on the right track and since the only shows up right now are big-budget, I’m hoping they find a way to fill parts in a similar fashion

  8. Jack says:

    Love this!

  9. emu says:

    wonderful. good for them