NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Let the audiences return.
On Tuesday, during the second part of his State of the State address, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the first steps to revive New York’s arts industry. Starting next month, there will be a series of pop-up concerts headlined by big-name stars, CBS2’s Marcia Kramer reported.
It will be a huge boost for the $120 billion-a-year industry, which has been on lockdown for 10 months.
WATCH: Gov. Cuomo Gives State Of The State Address, Part 2
Broadway trombonist Jennifer Wharton sounded the first notes of hope since the day the music stopped and the theater where she was part of the orchestra for “West Side Story” went dark because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“It has been a long time coming. We’ve all just been sitting here trying to survive and wait it out,” Wharton said.
Wharton was talking about the governor’s announcement that starting next month the state will take the first steps to revive New York’s arts industry — 500,000 people who have been out of work during the pandemic.
“New York City is not New York without Broadway,” Cuomo said. “We must bring culture and arts back to life.”
The plan calls for 150 pop-up concerts throughout the state, featuring stars like Amy Schumer, Chris Rock, Wynton Marsalis and Hugh Jackman.
“Performances and exhibitions will be held at outdoor sites in New York City and across the state, including at state parks and other state properties. We will also use flexible venues, adapted for social distancing, like the Park Avenue Armory,” Cuomo said.
“I’m going to do everything I can to put myself out there,” Wharton said. “I’m sure every starving musician in New York is going to be doing the same thing.”
Adam Krauthamer, the head of the musicians union, said he sees this as a first step to reopening Broadway.
“We think any incremental opening is critical at this point to start showing the public that there is a proof of concept that we could open the arts safely,” Krauthamer said.
Kenny Seymour, the musical director for the Broadway musical “Ain’t Too Proud,” said this is a move with far wider implications.
“There are so many other industries that gain from theater — the hotel industry, the restaurant industry, the transportation industry, people coming to New York to see live theater,” Seymour said.
The governor said the concerts will culminate with the opening of the Pier 55 outdoor performance center on the Hudson and the Tribeca Film Festival.
CBS2’s Marcia Kramer contributed to this report
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