Tony Awards be Presented Online This Fall

Today the American Theatre Wing and the Broadway League, who jointly present the Tony Awards, announced that they will go forward with an online ceremony this fall. The Antoinette Perry “Tony” Award, which was founded by the American Theatre Wing in 1947, is bestowed annually on theatre professionals for distinguished achievement on Broadway. Eligibility and a presentation date will be announced soon. The American Theatre Wing press release notes:

“Though unprecedented events cut the 2019-2020 Broadway season short, it was a year full of extraordinary work that deserves to be recognized,” said Charlotte St. Martin, President of the Broadway League, and Heather Hitchens, President & CEO of the American Theatre Wing. “We are thrilled not only to have found a way to properly celebrate our artists’ incredible achievements this season, but also to be able to uplift the entire theatre community and show the world what makes our Broadway family so special at this difficult time. The show must go on, no matter what – and it will.”

Congratulations Ed McCarthy! (again)

Our own Ed McCarthy has received his fifth Emmy nomination!  Ed was part of the lighting team for the 73rd Annual Tony Awards.  The team’s work has been nominated for Outstanding Lighting Design/Lighting Direction for a Variety Special.  Ed’s previous nominations were for lighting of the Tony Awards in 2014, 2017, 2018 and 2019.  Congratulations, Ed!

Broadway Closed for the Rest of the Year

Many of us have suspected it, but it’s now official – Broadway will not reopen in 2020. The press release says that, “The Broadway League announced today that Broadway performances in New York City will be suspended through the remainder of 2020 due to COVID-19.”

“The Broadway experience can be deeply personal but it is also, crucially, communal,” said Chairman of the Board of The Broadway League Thomas Schumacher.  “The alchemy of 1000 strangers bonding into a single audience fueling each performer on stage and behind the scenes will be possible again when Broadway theatres can safely host full houses.  Every single member of our community is eager to get back to work sharing stories that inspire our audience through the transformative power of a shared live experience.  The safety of our cast, crew, orchestra and audience is our highest priority and we look forward to returning to our stages only when it’s safe to do so. One thing is for sure, when we return we will be stronger and more needed than ever.”

You can read the full press release here.

London’s Earliest Playhouse Rediscovered

Archaeologists believe they have found the remains the earliest purpose-built playhouse in Britain. The Red Lion is believed to have been built around 1567 and is thought to be the first purpose-built theatre of the Elizabethan era but its location has long been disputed but archaeologists are as certain as they can be that they have found its remains at a site in the East End of London.

Here are links to two stories.
BBC News
The Guardian

Equity Announces Principles to Support Safe and Healthy Productions

On May 26th, Actors’ Equity Association, usually just referred to as Equity, the union for theatre actors and stage managers across the country, recently announced that theater in America should not resume until there is fast, reliable testing for the novel coronavirus and widespread contact tracing.

Equity has hired Dr. David Michaels, former head of OSHA during the Obama Administration, to assist them with developing a list of conditions under which its members will return to work.

They are beginning with four  core principles.  “These four principles are the foundation for our continued work with Dr. Michaels,” said Mary McColl, executive director of Actors’ Equity Association. “We intend to build out protocols that can be used by our employers and all of our colleagues to insure that everyone who works in the theatre has the safest workplace possible.” The four principles are:  

  1. The epidemic must be under control, with effective testing, few new cases in the area and contact tracing. 
  2. Individuals who may be infectious can be readily identified and isolated, with frequent, regular and accurate testing with speedy results. 
  3. The way we audition, rehearse, perform and stage manage may need to change and the venues we work in may need to undergo changes in order to reduce the risk.   
  4. Efforts to control COVID-19 exposure must be collaborative, involving Equity members, employers, the union and all others involved in the production of theatre. There must be collective buy-in and ongoing evaluation and improvement of health and safety practices. 

You can read the press announcement on the Equity web site and an article in New York Times.  An additional article in the Times talks to theatre owners and producers about when they expect to reopen.  Unfortunately, most of them don’t see theatres being able to reopen this year in a way that is both responsible and profitable.