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amBroadway: Actors’ Equity lays out return requirements, Irish Rep moves online and more

Johh Keating, Dan Butler & Sean Gormley in THE WEIR, presented by the Irish Repretory Theatre. (Photo by Carol Rosegg)

Actors’ Equity lays out requirements for returning to work

Although virtually all theaters remain shut down at this time, a handful are still hoping to present shows during the summer. However, last month, Actors’ Equity Association, the union representing the actors and stage managers of Broadway and professional theaters throughout the U.S., forbid its actors from returning to work until further notice due to the health and safety risks of COVID-19. On Tuesday,  Actors’ Equity publicly released a memo laying out four factors that will need to be in place before its members return to work: control of COVID-19; the ability to readily identify infected individuals; modifying as necessary theater spaces and procedures for conducting auditions, rehearsals and performances; and working closely with other theater organizations and professionals on these measures. 

Irish Rep moves summer season online

Off-Broadway’s Irish Repertory Theatre, which recently streamed a screen adaptation of its 2011 production of Brian Friel’s “Molly Sweeney,” is moving forward with an online summer season consisting of productions that have been filmed remotely and reimagined for the screen, including the world premiere of “The Gifts You Gave to the Dark,” “Yes! Reflections of Molly Bloom” (based on James Joyce’s “Ulysses”), Conor McPherson’s “The Weir” and “Love, Noel: The Songs and Letters of Noel Coward.” The productions will be free to view, with a suggested donation per viewer. For more info visit irishrep.org.

‘Smash’ to be adapted for Broadway

A new Broadway musical adaptation of the theater-themed TV series “Smash” is in the works, with no less than Steven Spielberg onboard as a co-producer. This will be distinct from “Bombshell,” the Marilyn Monroe bio musical at the center of “Smash,” which at one point was slated to play Broadway. The announcement was made on the heels of last week’s streaming of a 2015 one-night-only concert presentation of “Bombshell” on Broadway. The “Smash” musical will have songs by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman (who wrote the songs for “Bombshell”) and a book by Rick Elice (“Jersey Boys”) and Bob Martin (“The Drowsy Chaperone”). 

Tony Awards tribute shows emerge

In response to the news that CBS will be replacing the Tony Awards on June 7 with a sing-a-long version of the movie “Grease,” two different salutes to Broadway and the Tony Awards will be produced online on June 7 by Broadway.com and the new streaming platform Broadway On Demand respectively. Both events will benefit the two organizations that co-present the Tony Awards: the American Theatre Wing and the Broadway League. 

Public Theater delays furloughs with PPP loan

A $4 million loan from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) enabled the Public Theater to delay previously announced staff furloughs, as reported by Broadway Journal. The Public was recently forced to scrap its annual Shakespeare in the Park season, which was to have included “Richard II” and a musical adaptation of “As You Like It.” The article noted that the Public did not receive any money from Disney’s purchase of the filmed version of “Hamilton” (which premiered at the Public Theater in 2015 before transferring to Broadway).

Broadway League president suggests January reopening

Officially, Broadway performances have been cancelled through Sept. 6. However, in an interview with the Daily Beast, Charlotte St. Martin, president of the Broadway League, said that she believes Broadway will reopen in January 2021, as opposed to late 2020 or spring 2021. St. Martin expressed doubt that Broadway’s business model could be reworked to allow shows to reopen before then with reduced seating capacities to allow for social distancing and said that it could take years for Broadway to rebound financially. 

This week’s streaming recommendations:

  1. Les Troyens (epic opera based on Virgil’s “Aeneid” about the aftermath of the Trojan War and the adventures of Aeneas, May 28 at 7:30 p.m., metopera.org.
  2. Jerry Herman: You I Like (Lyrics & Lyricists concert performed at 92Y in February celebrating the beloved Broadway songwriter, who died in December), through May 31, 92y.org.
  3. The Glass Menagerie (Emily Skinner leads reading of Tennessee Williams masterful family drama), May 29 at 6 p.m., playreadingfridays.com.
  4. The Drama Desk Awards (recognizing the Broadway and Off-Broadway shows of the shortened season), May 31 at 7:30 p.m., dramadeskawards.com.
  5. We Are One Public (starry online benefit event for the Public Theater), June 1 at 8 p.m, publictheater.org.

Spotted at the theater…

Still no one.

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