The Broadway League issued the following letter of support for the new HEROES Act:
On behalf of The Broadway League, which includes leadership from Broadway and performing arts organizations in over 200 cities across the United States, we strongly support the new HEROES Act, which includes Save Our Stages (SOS) as well as vital financial support for our unemployed workers. We express our gratitude for Speaker Pelosi’s leadership, her dedication to the nation’s economic recovery and her unwavering commitment to the live entertainment industry. Save Our Stages provides our nation’s theatrical industry with the critical financial resources necessary to help sustain it through this unprecedented time, and we applaud Speaker Pelosi for including SOS and pandemic unemployment assistance and other needed aid for our workers in HEROES.
The Broadway League represents the producers, theater owners, presenters, general managers and industry specialists who collaborated to deliver first-class live entertainment to millions of audience members across North America and around the world. We collectively employ nearly 100,000 people in New York alone and create over $18.5 billion of economic activity each year across the nation. This unique business exists solely by virtue of audiences sharing a live experience in real time and therefore was the first to close and will be the last to reopen.
Due to the pandemic, this industry has been completely shuttered since March 14, 2020. This week marked the 200th day of the closure of Broadway and our nation’s theatres. In the Broadway League’s 90-year history, our theaters have never been closed for such an extended period. Our entire industry has been devastated. Thousands of our performers, crew members, office workers, and countless other theatre employees have been furloughed and laid off and the restaurants, garages, hotels, and shops that rely on our patrons also have been devastated. The shutdown has also been an enormous blow to the nation’s performing arts centers that depend on the income derived from Touring Broadway to subsidize their arts programs and, most importantly, their community outreach and educational initiatives.
The Broadway industry is suffering massive financial losses and will require millions of dollars in new capital to get shows safely back up and running once social distancing requirements permit. Casts and crews that have not worked in nearly a year will need significant rehearsal periods. Physical sets and complex sound and lighting equipment will need to be refurbished and reinstalled. Marketing programs will need to be implemented to raise public awareness that theatre is once again accessible and venues will have to administer enhanced safety protocols, all while we anticipate operating at significantly depressed revenues while audiences slowly rebuild.
The inclusion of Save Our Stages in HEROES provides much needed liquidity to allow the theatrical industry to begin rebuilding so that, hopefully someday soon, it can be fully restored to the massive economic and employment engine it once was. Again, we thank Speaker Pelosi for her recognition of the importance of the live entertainment to the country’s recovery and her support for the HEROES Act and its inclusion of SOS and vital financial support for our unemployed labor force.