NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The coronavirus pandemic has shuttered Broadway through the end of the year, at least, forcing thousands of young actors to find creative ways to make ends meet.

Michael DeFilippis had dreamed of performing in the famed Theater District since his first trip to New York City when he was 15 years old.

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“This palpable and unbelievably powerful energy, it just wraps you and holds you still and I feel that every time I’m in the city,” DeFilippis told CBS2’s Jessica Moore on Thursday.

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The 22-year-old was working as a security guard for “Harry Potter” on Broadway while auditioning for roles. He learned the pandemic had shut down his dream seconds before walking into one of his first auditions.

“Just before I get in the room, I get a text and open my phone and it says Broadway to be closed indefinitely. I was shocked,” De Filippis said.

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So DeFilippis and his roommate, Scott Gordon, a fellow actor and usher at Broadway’s Hudson Theater, decided to get creative to pay their bills.

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“Collecting unemployment every week has been great. That’s been able to kind of cover the rent, but otherwise it’s just finding anything you can do here and there to fill the gaps, really,” Gordon said.


The roommates started working at Hudson Yards, taking people’s temperatures before they’re allowed inside office buildings.

“I try to make it, you know, as fun as I can by coming up with silly jokes if I do have to stop someone, or just chatting to them, so we kind of keep the pressure down because you never want anyone to panic. That’s the main thing,” Gordon said.

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Other actors have taken their talents to Instagram and YouTube, offering everything from virtual babysitting sessions to online concerts and performances.

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The Actors’ Equity Association, which represents 51,000 theater performers and stage managers, has barred members from in-person auditions, rehearsals, and performances, and says Broadway shouldn’t resume until rapid testing and contact tracing are widely implemented.

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In the meantime, DeFilippis and Gordon say they’ll keep working to make ends meet until they can get back to making their dreams come true.