Just In: Musicians Union Reverses Decision Waiving Disney on Broadway Concert Payments

By: Apr. 13, 2020

No word yet on a rescheduled air date, but Ray Hair, International President of the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada (AFM), issued a statement on AFM waiving all contractually required payments in connection with Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS benefit streaming of "Celebrating 25 Magical Years of Disney on Broadway":

"We stand in solidarity with our fellow entertainment workers in Actors Equity and SAG-AFTRA. We believe all musicians should be fairly compensated for their work all of the time, but we also believe that we must do everything possible to support entertainment workers hurt by the coronavirus pandemic. We fully support the union musicians who have graciously offered to forgo all required payments to allow this charity event to move forward."

A BC/EFA representative confirmed that they are currently working to reschedule the stream.

According to the New York Times, the one-night-only benefit "Celebrating 25 Magical Years of Disney on Broadway" which was to be streamed to raise money for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS' COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Fund was canceled. Michael Paulson reported at the time "Two major labor unions, Actors' Equity Association and SAG-AFTRA, agreed to allow the streaming of the concert without fees, but the American Federation of Musicians, which has been focused on winning greater compensation for streamed content, did not".

The news was followed by the musicians themselves who played in the concert, along with Local 802 launching a petition to the leaders of their own union, available here.

The stream was set for 7pm ET on Monday, April 13. BC/EFA noted that it'd given $50,000 this year to musicians' assistance programs, and offered to give another $25,000 to a musicians' emergency fund - an offer that was refused.

All money raised was to be donated to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS' COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Fund, which is helping members of the theatre community who are impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Celebrating 25 Magical Years of Disney on Broadway was held on November 4, 2019, and raised $570,426 for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. The event was presented at the New Amsterdam Theatre, featured a cast of 79 performers and a 15-piece onstage orchestra.

Donations can be made at broadwaycares.org/help2020.