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How the Scourge Stole Broadway: A Christmas Tale of 2020

This year gave us a new villain with theft as its urge. It wasn't a Grinch...but a theatrical Scourge!

How the Scourge Stole Broadway

A Christmas Tale of 2020

Dedicated, with love and hope, to the Broadway community and the global arts family.

You've heard of Whos down in Whoville who liked Christmas a lot
And their neighbor The Grinch, who clearly did not.
But that's not the story we're telling today
This tale tells of a Scourge that stole old Broadway.

It didn't loot decorations, it left our presents intact
What it did was sweep in and make off with our act.
Emptied our theaters and shut down our shows
Pulled the wigs from our heads, and the taps from our toes.

And this dastardly villain wasn't fuzzy and green
It was an invisible enemy called Covid-19.
When it swept into town, the world came to a stop
It shut every restaurant, it closed every shop.

This disturbing affliction took its toll on our souls
And caused curious hoarding of bath tissue rolls.
It shuttered our sports and stomped out our plans
It has us obsessively washing our hands.

In short this whole Covid thing caused quite a mess
And when it would cease was anyone's guess.
And so we were left, an arts family in need
In R. Rodgers phrasing: "a puzzlement," indeed.

All of Broadway was locked in apartments and houses
Trying hard not to freak on their children and spouses
With no dances to dance and no songs to sing
They traded Walt's Lion for a Tiger King.

Life quickly fell flat in their quarantine zones
So innovation took hold and they took to their phones.
Apartments as backdrops, bedrooms as sets
Screens for a stage, and costumed in sweats.

Yes, with all of their instruments hopelessly gone
They stepped up to the plate, for the show must go on.
So online it went, content from every nook
From the tip top of TikTok to the last page of Facebook!

Stars flocked to Rosie to raise funds for the Fund
Giving heartfelt performances that left us all stunned.
With springtime school musicals on the decline
Laura B. and her students sang songs of Sunshine.

With no Tony Awards to celebrate shows
We exalted Black greatness at The Antonyos.
And at Passover time, no assembly was greater
Than our star-studded, multicultural, virtual Seder.

Since Doubtfire's opening did not go as planned
McClure became maestro to an invisible band.
Seth R. and James Wesley took no time to grouse
As they welcomed all kinds of Stars to their House.

Brian Stokes Mitchell never lost any steam
And kept right on dreaming his 'Impossible Dream'.
And since life without musicals isn't much fun
Disney stepped in to give the world Hamilton.

But it didn't stop there, this pandemic vacation
Inspired DIY gigs across every nation
Concerts in driveways, plays made for Zoom
Free productions on YouTube to block out the gloom.

From every crack in the globe,
every crease in the map,
The arts profession transcended
this pandemic crap.

Ballets on rooftops,
Flash mobs in the streets
"All the world's a stage,"
So long as the heart of art beats.

For just like the Whos on that bare Christmas Day
We joined hand in hand and we sang anyway.
It came without lighting, it came without sound
It came without proscenium, thrust, or in the round.

Although this Scourge proved a skilled adversary
Like the Grinch, it had failed to abscond with our merry.
For we leave not our passion at the stage door.
This is not just a job, it's what we live for.

It locked up our audiences and imprisoned our stuff
In the end its best efforts just weren't enough
To keep our community from coming back strong
'Cause you can shut down our shows, but you can't steal our song.

And though our beloved won't be back soon
(Fauci says "Autumn", the League says "June")
One day, all our stages will spring back to life
Erasing all memory of the stress and the strife

Eyes welled up with tears as the orchestra rises
We'll feel our hearts swell to three times their sizes.
After matinee-free days and ovationless nights
It'll all come up roses; "Curtain up, light the lights!"

Then glorious applause, the cheers will abound
And we'll leap from our seats at that beautiful sound!
With our foe long defeated, won't it be wondrous to hear it?
Knowing the Scourge stole a season, but could not take our spirit.


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