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'We Must Save Broadway,' Writes Sarah Jessica Parker

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Broadway, television, and film actress Sarah Jessica Parker wrote an impassioned op-ed.

'We Must Save Broadway,' Writes Sarah Jessica Parker

Broadway, television, and film actress Sarah Jessica Parker wrote an impassioned op-ed in which she argued for the return of theatre, specifically as the lifeblood of New York City.

"When I'm not working, the theater and the ballet is where I go, to connect and to be inspired. That possibility is missing now, and we need it more than ever," Parker told Variety. "We need the escapism that live theater has always given us so beautifully, to be with our fellow man in the audience, laughing and weeping and finding something entirely new to connect with. As an audience member, you're part of something together, a communion."

Parker says that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is the biggest challenge ever faced by New York City. After 9/11, she says, people were able to grieve communally - they are not able to do that now.

"Nothing before has stopped lives, jobs and the economy like this," she said. "And THE ONE thing I keep forcing myself to remember is that I can't go to the theater to get through it."

Theatre is not specific to New York City, she said. But theatre is what makes New York City special.

"New York especially needs theater because so many New Yorkers need theater - the thousands of people employed directly and indirectly by the industry, doing collateral work, from the servers at the surrounding restaurants to the people responsible for dry-cleaning costumes. Theater is the way we induce visitors to come to our city and plan those special afternoons and evenings, which keep such a vast web of my fellow citizens employed and afloat."

While Parker acknowledges that unforeseen circumstances make it impossible to stick to a re-opening date for Broadway, she hopes that audiences will start to trickle back into the theater once it's safe.

"Whether it's a theater or a small business, you can't reopen a business until you have the patrons there - it's a psychological thing. And I believe it's incumbent upon people who've had success in this city to reinvest, to come home," she said.

Parker was set to star in "Plaza Suite" on Broadway last spring before the shutdown.

Trained in singing and ballet, Sarah was cast in the Broadway production of "The Innocents", which prompted her family to relocate to New Jersey. Already a professional performer (she studied at the American Ballet School and the Professional Children's School), Sarah was cast in "The Sound of Music" (along with four of her siblings), and landed the lead in the Broadway run of "Annie". After a year as the free-spirited orphan, Sarah attended Dwight Morrow High School, while continuing to add more credits to her acting resume. She landed a role in the made-for-TV movie My Body, My Child (1982), before being cast as one of the lead roles in the 1982 sitcom Square Pegs (1982), as high-schooler Patty Green.

Once a graduate, Sarah decided to pursue a full-time acting career rather than further her education. Since Square Pegs (1982) did not last more than a year, Sarah moved on to supporting film roles in movies such as Footloose (1984), Firstborn (1984), and the lead role in the teenage film Girls Just Want to Have Fun (1985). Sarah was having lots of fun, although she had yet to land a star-turning role. After more television appearances in series and made-for-TV movies including A Year in the Life (1986), THE ROOM Upstairs (1987) and Dadah Is Death (1988), Sarah finally landed the role of Steve Martin's bubbly lover in the 1991 comedy L.A. Story (1991). More substantial film roles soon followed, starting with a role opposite Nicolas Cage in Honeymoon in Vegas (1992) (which foreshadowed her comedic talent), Hocus Pocus (1993) and Ed Wood (1994).

1996 was a film intensive year with roles in The First Wives Club (1996), If Lucy Fell (1996), and Mars Attacks! (1996). All the while making a name for herself in film, Sarah was gaining respect as a theater actress, with her lead role as a dog (hard to imagine, but true) in the off-Broadway "Sylvia", and her Broadway roles in "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" (starring her present husband, Matthew Broderick), and the Tony-Award nominated "Once Upon a Mattress".

But Sarah's star has shot up since her portrayal of Manhattan sex-columnist Carrie Bradshaw in the HBO series Sex and the City (1998). Sarah's Golden Globe Best Actress victory in 2000 only underscores the fact that she plays the role of Carrie as though it were literally written for her. Sarah has been happily married to fellow actor Matthew Broderick for quite a while now. Before the marriage, she dated Robert Downey Jr. (who she also lived with), and the late John Kennedy Jr. When not serving as lead actress and producer of Sex and the City (1998), Sarah is a member of Hollywood's Women's Political Committee, and is UNICEF's representative for the Performing Arts.

Read the full op-ed here.

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