Our culture and our society have been under attack for over a year. One of the fundamental aspects of what makes us Americans, what makes us human, what connects us to each other has been taken away. He was attacked by a virus and eroded by the necessary response. Our shared common experiences of singing and dancing together at a concert; to see a story as if by magic put into song before our eyes during a Broadway show; moved by the simultaneous vulnerability and strength of the human form during a dance performance, they were swept away. Do you remember laughing so hard at a comedian that your stomach hurts?
Performing arts and live entertainment are what help us make sense of the world. It allows us to come together and create an experience, artist and audience alike, memories that often last a lifetime. If I asked you about your first gig, you would remember who and where it was. You know exactly what it was like to walk into a Broadway theater for the first time. Even to a casual viewer, the past year has felt like an eternity.
Through this global crisis, I have often thought about how much better we could cope if we could just get together and enjoy a show for a few hours. Throughout its history, our nation has experienced profound moments of healing at community events after being attacked in war, battered by natural disasters, and endured unimaginable circumstances. Remember the legendary benefit concert at Madison Square Garden or Mike Piazza’s spectacular home run at Shea Stadium after the 9/11 attacks?
It is almost time.
It’s almost time for us to be together again. Very soon we will be creating these unique experiences again in a beautiful theater or concert hall. We will begin to emerge from what has been described as a “cultural depression”. There are 5.1 million of us working in arts and culture. So many people in our industry have been unemployed or had to look for new jobs. The economic impact of the arts is truly immeasurable, but good estimates put it at close to $ 150 billion. This is not the point, however.
We need it. We have to unite and we have to bounce back strong and quickly. I’m not saying this from an economic point of view, but rather as a culture – as a human race we need it. We have to heal, we have to laugh, we have to sing, dance and kiss each other. We have to cry some more, too… but we have to do it together.
Those of us who produce and present these live events are ready. We are working hard to book shows, renovate and modernize the venues. We’re ready to safely reconnect artists and audiences, and some of the best times of our lives are yet to come.
I urge you to do all you can to support arts organizations. Donate if you can, buy a ticket to a show when they go on sale, try to see something new, and be sure to see this legendary artist once again.
We can do it… and we will do it together. We all need to help each other and be kind. Realize that it can be a bit uncomfortable at first and things will be a bit different. We are preparing for this special day ahead and look forward to welcoming you back to beautiful places. Most importantly, we can’t wait to be together in the same space, to fix the world and make it better.