More than 20 Broadway producers have pledged $1 million in matching funds for the COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Fund of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. The producers will match every new donation made by the public up to the million-dollar mark.
With the pledge, fund organizers have set a $2 million goal by April 12.
The emergency assistance fund, administered by The Actors Fund, is designed to help onstage, backstage and behind the scenes workers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic and work shutdown. Broadway theaters have been dark since March 12, with plans to reopen – for now, anyway – on April 13 (an extension beyond that opening date is likely).
The matching fund challenge was initiated by Spencer Ross (Company, The Minutes, Jagged Little Pill) with a $50,000 pledge. Ross then recruited other producers to make equal pledges, with Rebecca Gold Milikowsky (The Minutes, The Sound Inside) joining to co-lead the recruitment effort.
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Other producers involved in the pledge include Elizabeth Armstrong, Bill Damaschke, Diana DiMenna, Jeanne Donovan Fisher, S. Asher Gelman, John Gore & Lauren Reid/The John Gore Organization, Louise Gund, Judi Krupp, Larry & Beth Lenke, Carmen Pavlovic & Gerry Ryan, Marc Platt, Daryl Roth, Jordan Roth, Scott Rudin, Jeffrey Seller, Jana Shea, Iris Smith, David Stone and Barbara Whitman. Lauren Reid, Jordan Roth and David Stone also serve on the Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS Board of Trustees.
Broadway Cares launched the emergency fund March 17 with an initial $250,000; to date, $580,000 has been raised, including $52,000 generated by Lin-Manuel Miranda during a special segment of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon: At Home Edition.
The COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Fund provides resources for the social service programs of The Actors Fund, including emergency financial assistance, health insurance, counseling and the operation of The Actors Fund’s Friedman Health Center for the Performing Arts in Manhattan.
The Actors Fund has received applications for assistance from 5,000 people in the last 10 days, with hundreds already provided help. According to the organization, those who have received assistance include a diabetic musician who lost all his gigs; food and rental assistance for actor parents with two young children and third on the way; and temporary housing for a director to self-quarantine after learning she’d been exposed to someone with COVID-19.
In recent weeks and days, a number of members the Broadway community have publicly made known their COVID-10 statuses, including Moulin Rouge! actor Aaron Tveit, Company actor Matt Doyle, Moulin Rouge! actor Max Clayton, Come From Away actor Chad Kimball, and Diana composer David Bryan. Gavin Creel, the recent star of Waitress in London, said on Rosie O’Donnell’s livestreamed variety show special Sunday that he’s been ill with what he assumes to be the coronavirus although he hasn’t yet been tested. Earlier this month, a part-time Broadway usher tested positive for the virus.
Donations to the COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Fund can be made at broadwaycares.org/help2020.