A week ago, I had the privilege of watching a group of high school students open their production of Mamma Mia in front of an audience. Thirty years into my career, I’ve been part of hundreds, maybe thousands, of opening nights. The adrenaline rush, the great pleasure that comes from giving pleasure to others, never gets old. The next day we heard that school was closed for at least a month and the show literally could not go on. The day after that I picked up my daughter from college, where she’s studying theater. But this isn’t a piece about sad teenagers.
Although Broadway is closed for now, the artist’s duty remains. I expect social cohesion will be tested in the coming weeks as people we know fall ill and financial pressures increase. Artists are communicators – we bring people together (not just physically). It strikes me in this moment that we need to find new ways of sharing, to ease the psychological burdens of the times we find ourselves in. We need to model empathy and compassion; we must continue to create, and encourage the best parts of human nature.
I look forward to many more opening nights. In the meantime, I’ll look for ways to keep my community healthy and strong.