“Where we shall raise one together someday.” Sigh. These words are lifted directly from Tony Award-winning composer Tom Kitt’s original song that was a gift to the Columbia University Graduating Class of 2020. “Oh Columbia” as it is called was written for this very special group of graduates, but I contend it is a message for all humans as we navigate these challenging times as one. To listen to this epic offering and to read about how – the gracious as he is talented – Tom bravely created this “anthem for the ages,” and gathered the pure gold talent to sing it click here. Maybe have tissues handy as you listen to the song the first, second, and third time.
This year was going to be a big season for so many talents on and off-Broadway. It was also going to be a big season for the GYGG theater group with up to 4 shows a month and well over 400 tickets purchased for a whole array of anticipated offerings. That is A LOT of theater for a whole LOT of theater enthused New Yorkers. As it happens this group is comprised of a whole lot of generous, kind-hearted, empathetic and supportive New Yorkers who did what they could to support the performing arts community when that community needed them most.
In an effort to do something, anything in support of the arts, Grab Your Group and GO staged it’s own Virtual Red Bucket Brigade. As you may know Broadway Cares raises money a couple of times a year after shows with volunteers and actors standing at the exits of the theater with cheerful red buckets. Some coaxing and sincere words of donation encouragement are said by some charismatic actors at the close of the show and the Red Buckets get promptly filled with crumpled and/or crisp $5, $10 or $20 dollar bills. With no performances occurring and the needs of the community at an incomprehensible high, Broadway Cares created a Covid 19 Emergency Fund with donations being matched by a whole cavalcade of generous groups.
In advance of processing our refunds (so many refunds!) for all of our cancelled shows, we reached out to our collectively gathered audience and gave them the opportunity to donate a portion of their ticket refund. We made it known that our Virtual Red Bucket donations would go to The Broadway Cares Covid 19 Emergency Assistance Fund and The Dramatists Guild in support of the writers that create the pieces we love so much.
Our expectation? We thought the donations would mirror the Red Buckets with tens and twenties rolling in. Our goal? $5000 that we would split in half between the two. The result? So, so lovely – makes me love this group of interesting, compassionate and passionate theatergoers all the more. These people! Thanks to their generosity we raised $20,000 on behalf of our selected organizations of which $11,000 went to Broadway Cares and $9000 went to The Dramatists Guild.
While we as audience members are left with a melancholy void in our lives, we cannot begin to understand what this community is going through as the lights remain off for an untold and painful time on Broadway. But the gracious as he is talented Tom Kitt? He can. Which is why I am so grateful to be able to share the words he wrote to this group of generous donors as words of thanks. Thank you Tom for your words and perspective. The second those lights go back on this group will be ready and poised to raise several glasses to Broadway. We will applaud with a renewed vigor and appreciation that words cannot do justice to. Grateful for all of it.
A message of thanks from Tom Kitt…
I cannot express my gratitude and appreciation for your generosity in supporting the arts and specifically, the Broadway Cares Covid 19 Emergency Assistance Fund and The Dramatist’s Guild. The current crisis has been devastating to the live theater community as we have watched our entire industry shut down. In addition to the economic toll, it has been very challenging emotionally for all of us who are desperate to be on stage with one another and communicating with a live theater audience. These are the things that define us and not having them in our life feels like we are not able to truly be who we are meant to be. But as artists, we remain steadfast and confident that we will emerge from this crisis stronger and with many new important stories to tell. We also know that the stories we have been telling over these last few years will have even more resonance when we return. But none of that would be possible without the support of angels like all of you who, through your generous donations, allow us much needed peace of mind that we will be able to weather this storm. Your support means everything. So thank you for all you do to support this community. I look forward to the day where we can all be back in the theater sharing this beautiful art form together.
With utmost gratitude and love,
If you’d like to donate to either one of these funds, here are the links.
THE BROADWAY CARES COVID19 EMERGENCY FUND
This money will be distributed as grants to anyone in the performing arts who is in financial need due to this crisis. And they are matching all funds raised which will make any donations go even further. Click HERE to learn more and make a donation.
THE DRAMATISTS GUILD
This organization which supports the behind the scenes creatives who birth the many productions we so enjoy. Click HERE for more information and to donate.