amBroadway: Great Britain allocates emergency funding for arts, Actors’ Equity begins approving safety plans and more

A Series of Landscapes_thingNY

UK moves forward with major arts funding initiative

While financially suffering American theater companies are highly skeptical that the federal government will come to their rescue with major arts funding as part of the next stimulus package, this week Great Britain confirmed that it will devote $2 billion to emergency funding for the arts. By comparison, the CARES Act, passed in March, provided only $75 million in arts funding to U.S. companies. That being said, many theater companies have also received Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans including the Public Theater and the Roundabout Theatre Company, as per Broadway Journal. 

Actors’ Equity begins approving theater safety plans

Even after New York theaters are finally allowed to reopen by the government, they may still be waiting for the approval of Actors’ Equity Association, which has forbid its actors and stage managers from returning to work until theaters provide detailed health and safety plans. In a hopeful sign, Equity has approved plans by two Massachusetts theaters – Barrington Stage Company and Berkshire Theatre Group – to present the one-man show “Harry Clarke” and the musical “Godspell” respectively later this summer. “Godspell” will be staged outdoors for only 96 audience members. Equity noted that it is working with theaters on a daily basis on creating acceptable reopening plans. 

‘Hamilton’ not eligible for Oscar consideration

The filmed version of “Hamilton,” which premiered on Disney Plus last week to great acclaim, is apparently not eligible for Academy Award consideration. As per Variety, the Academy’s rules dictate that “recorded stage productions are not eligible for consideration.” However, it should be eligible for the Emmy Award for pre-recorded variety special. In any event, “Hamilton” has already received countless awards, including but not limited to the Tony Award for Best Musical, the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, the Grammy for Best Musical Theater Album and even a Kennedy Center Honor. 

Kilroys reimages annual list to honor plays lost to COVID-19

Since 2014, the Kilroys has prepared an annual list of the most highly recommended unproduced and underproduced new plays by women, trans and non-binary playwrights. This year, the activist playwright collective will instead prepare a reimagined list that honors plays by representative writers that have been have been cancelled or postponed due to COVID-19. “A whole slew of plays got cancelled starting in the spring, which is traditionally the time when theaters ‘take risks on new plays by Black, POC, women along with LGBTQIA playwrights…When the dust settles and theaters are eager to ‘get back to normal’, we hope they don’t program a bunch of revivals and plays that feel ‘safe’,” Kilroys member Chelsea Macrantel said in a statement. A virtual ceremony will be held on Tues, July 14 to honor the plays on “The List”. 

HERE to present at least two live upcoming shows

HERE, the downtown performing arts complex, will present at least two upcoming live theater pieces, including “Cairns” (a narrated solitary walking tour) at Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, which will launch in late July, and “Beast Visit” (described as an encounter with various creatures, with elaborate costumes and a live band) at a sculpture garden in Bushwick, which will be presented in late August. The productions are part of “Here There Everywhere,” which is intended to mark a return to live theatrical events in addition to digital programming and feature the work of hundreds of artists. 

TheaterWorksUSA closes Chelsea studio

TheaterWorksUSA, which produces shows for young audiences both in New York and for national tours, is closing its studio space in Chelsea, which was known as TWStudios: Chelsea. “Thousands of shows have been cast, rehearsed, workshopped and developed in these studios…Sadly, the COvID-19 pandemic has created a situation that makes it impossible for TheaterWorksUSA to maintain these spaces while we are unable to produce live theater,” the company wrote in an open letter.

This week’s streaming recommendations:

  1. The Line (docudrama about first responders during the current pandemic), July 8 to Aug. 4, publictheater.org.
  2. Tartuffe (livestream recording of Moliere’s classic comedy), through July 12, youtube.com/moliereinthepark.
  3. Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (1999 film version of Andrew Lloyd Webber musical starring Donny Osmond), July 10-12, andrewlloydwebber.com.