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Industry Pro Newsletter: Springsteen Returns to Broadway, New Results from UK Pilot Study


After being dark for 15 months, the marquee of the St. James lit up the night once again.

June 28, 2021 -

It was a big week in New York theatre as Bruce Springsteen opened a Broadway show for the first time in 15 months to a fully vaccinated crowd. While theatre has continued in various forms throughout the pandemic, seeing the return of a show to one of the major commercial centers of the industry was an important step from an economic and emotional standpoint. While the UK continues to struggle to finalize plans to fully reopen - there was also further progress on the West End as Cinderella entered previews, albeit to a slightly reduced audience. Additional stories this week about the continued struggle for EDI in Education, new members of the National Council for the Arts, and more!

The Social Report

Thoughts Of A Colored Man saw a jump in new followers following the announcement Kandi Burruss will join the producing team. The Music Man saw an increase in 'talking about' activity on Facebook following tickets going on sale, and announcements of a new producer and additional casting. While Wicked saw a large spike in 'talking about' activity, overall follower counts were down from last week. This can be attributed to the brand's international reach and large community of online fans, giving them a bump during cyclical social media peak user engagement weeks.

Industry Pro Newsletter: Springsteen Returns to Broadway, New Results from UK Pilot Study

Theatre in New York

In New York City, a slew of good news about the reopening of the cultural economy. First, on Saturday night Bruce Springsteen opened his Broadway residency, a re-mounting of his previous Broadway residency which ran from October 2017-December 2018. Check out photos from opening night here! When the rest of Broadway reopens starting in September, the TKTS booth in Times Square hopes to open right alongside them, according to the Theatre Development Fund, who operates the booth. Ahead of re-opening, many of the theatre district restaurants have also announced their intention to reopen this summer as more life returns to the area. Finally, as more plans are announced for what shows are coming to Broadway this season, the productions announced include 7 different plays by Black writers.

UK Events Study Shows Low Risk of Infection, Officials Say Conclusions Difficult

As case loads continued to rise across the UK, officials there delayed the full reopening of the country from late June to late July, with many operating in the cultural sector feeling particularly set adrift by this policy change. However, a group led by Andrew Lloyd Webber filed suit against the government to get a report released from the UK's studies of pilot large scale events to understand what the real risks of COVID transmission were. Under that pressure, the results were released last week, and while it shows there were no major outbreaks, officials were quick to cite that the wider data in the population also showed low COVID numbers at the time, so drawing conclusions on the safety of large scale events was difficult from the data at hand.

EDI on University Campuses - Who is Supporting Students and New Faculty?

Over the last year, as the theatre industry has grappled with many questions about equity, diversity, and inclusion, University theatre programs were not immune to the discussion. In many programs, the effort was led by both students and alumni. Writing in American Theatre, Ciara Dane checks in on some of those efforts. On the flip side of that coin, as many programs seek to hire a more diverse faculty, Jerald Raymond Pierce asks who is supporting these faculty members and helping them navigate the additional emotional burden of entering a space where they are expected to lead the program through many of these changes.

NEA Announces New Programs with American Rescue Plan Funds

The two new programs are designed to distribute the $135 million that was designated for the cultural economy. The programs are divided between direct grants for cultural organizations and grants for regional arts organizations to subgrant out in their communities. You can read the announcement directly from the NEA here.

President Biden Announces Nominees to the National Council on the Arts

Among the group of new nominees to the advisory council is Apollo Theater Executive Producer Kamilah Forbes.

Stars in the House Celebrates $1 Million Raised

The livestream show hosted by Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley went live on March 16, 2020 and since that time has now raised more than $1 million for the Actors Fund. To celebrate, they'll be performing a special in-person (and live streamed on BroadwayWorld) version of the show on Wednesday, June 30th.

AKA NYC Announces Next Project for 500 Hours Initiative

AKA NYC will work with producer Rashad V. Chambers on his new musical project Little Girl Blue: The Nina Simone Musical. The 500 hours initiative donates 500 agency hours of creative, strategic, and marketing work to emerging, independent Black producers.

Clive and Valerie Barns Award Winners Announced

This year the Innovation Awards in Dance and Theatre were awarded to one recipient in each category, with the winners receiving a $5,000 gift. The Dance Innovation Award Winner was Anthony Huxley, and the Theatre Innovation Award Winner was PigPen Theatre Co.

The Road to Reopening: The Shawnee Playhouse

Nestled in the Poconos, the Shawnee Playhouse fully embraced streaming theatre during the pandemic producing 87 virtual productions, numerous cabarets, and more online content. After a few outdoor productions and smaller indoor shows, the company is returning to the Playhouse stage in June with Pippin

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