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While Congress debates how much (or how little) to parse out to the entertainment industry in the next COVID-19 relief package, a group of Broadway insiders is making clear just how wide and varied the $14.7 billion Broadway ecosystem really is.
In what is meant to be an evolving effort, The Broadway Community Project is an interactive online diagram – an industrywide family tree of sorts – displaying the more than 170 roles that represent more than 100,000 jobs that make up what’s known simply as Broadway. There are actors, or course, and ushers, concession employees and stage doormen, but also the workers usually unseen by the public: milliners, say, and insurance brokers, house managers, musical contractors, general managers and, of course, producers, to name just a sampling.
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The interactive diagram – clicking on a particular icon representing a particular job title and you might get a video of Jagged Little Pill producer Eva Price explaining what exactly a producer does, or a photo and quote from Rey Concepcion, stage doorman. The site currently includes more than 50 videos from Broadway professionals including Rick Elice (Book Writer), Kenny Leon (Director) Paloma Young (Costume Designer), Camille A. Brown (Choreographer), Faye Armon-Troncoso (Production Properties Manager), Emily Grishman (Music Copyist), among others.
The Broadway Community Project grew out of a conversation early in the pandemic between Tiffani Gavin (manager at Broadway’s Marquis Theatre) and producer Greg Schaffert (Peter and the Starcatcher, The Lightning Thief). Both wondered how best to explain to outsiders – including politicians – just how far-reaching a shutdown would be. “We’re ultimately visual people,” Gavin says, “and I said, ‘I just wish people would understand what it takes and who these people are.’”
The project soon evolved to include Situation Interactive and Playbill. “So many of the jobs that theatre supports are behind-the-scenes,” said Damian Bazadona, Founder and President of Situation Interactive, “and those outside of the Broadway community are likely not aware of the devastating impact the Broadway shutdown has on thousands of jobs in the industry and affiliate industries. We hope that this map will help provide a 30,000-foot view of Broadway, to help consumers and government officials alike understand just how many livelihoods are put at risk as a result of the shutdown if additional support is not provided.”
The interactive diagram, housed on Playbill’s website, is expected to grow and become more detailed as members of the Broadway community submit additional information, including jobs and careers and supplemental content.
The Project’s creators say that while the short-term goal is to lobby for pandemic relief, they hope the diagram might also educate ticket buyers as to who – and how many – their purchases support.
You can find the Broadway Community Project here.
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