Broadway workers become supporting actors in New York City’s vaccination effort


Nearly 97,000 Broadway workers were left out of work when the COVID-19 pandemic shut down New York City in March 2020.

At the time, there were 31 productions underway, including eight new premieres and eight more rehearsal shows in preparation for spring.

But the show will continue, as New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on May 5 that Broadway is expected to reopen on September 14 in an effort to fill theaters 100%.

Over the past year, many people employed by Broadway shows have had to find other sources of work, including Susan Sampliner, the director of the longtime musical “Wicked”.

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Sampliner operates the Times Square COVID-19 vaccination site which only employs Broadway workers operated by ATC Alert, a medical personnel company.

“I’ve always said that if you can comfortably handle a Broadway musical, you can handle it all. But I’ve never tested that but everything works the same,” she told Fox News. “My actors are the nurses here. The kicks are the stars of our show. That’s what we promote. And the rest of us who work here, who are all people in the industry. , we are the team that supports the actors by putting on the show. Instead of making an inventory of tickets, I do an inventory of vaccines. “

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has said Broadway has a September 14 reopening date.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has said Broadway has a September 14 reopening date.
(AP Photo / John Minchillo, file)

ATC Alert CEO Jordan Savitsky told Fox News that the vaccination site employs 80 to 100 people from the theater community who have all been laid off.

He said their old jobs covered a whole range of actors, singers, dancers, stagehands, ushers, ticket sellers, musicians.

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“They really haven’t worked for a long time and we were able to hire them and hire a lot of them. So it has been amazing. Every person on the site who is not clinical is from the theater community,” he said. he explains.

The site administers about five hundred vaccines per day and has been open since April 12. Savitsky called Sampliner “amazing” in his work. “We were very lucky to have found her,” he added.

Sampliner said the experience of running the site had been “really inspiring”.

Some shows such as "Frozen" will not be returning to Broadway.

Some shows such as “Frozen” will not return to Broadway.
(Evan Agostini / Invision / AP, file)

“Everyone is so excited. People in the industry are so happy to be working again and so happy to do something to help the theater industry come back, ”she said. “I’ve always wanted to get more involved in what we can do about the pandemic and what we can do to help reopen. So it was the perfect opportunity. ”

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Sampliner is also confident about Cuomo’s reopening schedule.

“I feel great to be back in September because I’m with ‘Wicked’. I know we’re going to be one of the first to come back, which excites me. We have been working through this pandemic and we have prepared for it with marketing meetings, production meetings, theater meetings on how to come back, ”she revealed.

So far, Sampliner has described how the shows would start with a “sliding opening” with maybe six or eight shows a week with the goal of a full schedule by the 2021 holiday season. She also anticipates audiences. at 100% of its capacity indoors.

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“We’re installing all kinds of new systems like contactless ticketing and other things and cleaning procedures, just to make sure the theater is spotless and welcoming to our audience,” she said.

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