Broadway Hails 'Save Our Stages Act,' Included in Stimulus Deal
Broadway Announces Extension of Closure To May 2021 Due To Coronavirus Pandemic
Theater leaders celebrated the inclusion of a
federal aid package for performance venues, including $15 billion in funding for live venues, independent movie theaters and cultural institutions.
MANHATTAN, NY -- The theater industry is celebrating after congressional leaders announced that a major funding package known as the "Save Our Stages Act" would be included in the stimulus bill expected to be approved on Monday.
industry leaders and local elected officials have clamored for a federal bailout
of performing arts venues, which face an existential crisis as the coronavirus
pandemic has shut down nearly all live events since the spring.
On Sunday, Senate
minority leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi confirmed that
the agreement with congressional Republicans included $15 billion in funding
for live venues, independent movie theaters and cultural institutions.
"We are grateful for this bipartisan agreement which will
provide immediate relief across our industry and a lifeline to the
future," said Charlotte St. Martin, president of the Broadway League,
which represents theater owners and producers.
Broadway is set to remain dark through at least May 2021,
jeopardizing the livelihoods of nearly 97,000 workers. St. Martin said Monday
that the stimulus would deliver some relief to those workers "when they
need it most."
In September, Schumer and State Sen. Brad Hoylman rallied in
Times Square along with Broadway League leaders, advocating for Save Our
Stages and stressing Broadway's role as the "heartbeat of New York."
They noted that
nearly 15 million people flocked to Broadway shows last year -- more than the
number that attended all of New York's major sports teams' games -- producing
$1.8 billion in ticket sales.
inclusion of Save Our Stages in the federal stimulus agreement is an important
step to help independent venues across our Senate district in Manhattan stay
afloat through the pandemic," said Hoylman, whose district includes the
heart of Midtown.
more must be done at the federal and state level, which means we need to raise
revenue," he added. "If we don't provide more assistance to these
venues, along with restaurants and other small businesses, I question whether
many of them will make it to the other side of COVID-19."
The Save Our Stages Act was coauthored by
Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Republican Sen. John Cornyn. Much of the advocacy for
its passage came from smaller, independent venues across the country, which
risked being almost completely wiped out without federal aid, according
to a statistic circulated by the National Independent Venue Association.
Related coverage: Broadway To Remain
Dark Through May 2021