UPDATE with streaming date, 3:33 pm: The Disney on Broadway benefit concert for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS will stream on Friday, April 17, at 7 p.m. ET, the charitable organization has announced.
Ryan McCartan (Frozen, TV’s Liv and Maddie) will host from home and provide new interviews with various stars throughout the evening, with the stream available at broadwaycares.org, youtube.com/BCEFA and facebook.com/BCEFA.
The stream of the concert taped last November got the go-ahead earlier today when the American Federation of Musicians agreed to streaming rights with no additional fees.
“There is no better news today than that which helps us ensure all in the entertainment industry who are facing the serious challenges of this COVID-19 pandemic can depend on the support of all their colleagues in the industry,” said Tom Viola, executive director of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. “My thanks to the leadership of the American Federation of Musicians. My best wishes and many thanks to AFM Local 802 President Adam Krauthamer and the Local 802 membership who were willing to speak up during this unprecedented time to support the arts community and those in need. We all will surely one day gather in Times Square together to celebrate Broadway’s rebirth and renewal of hope.”
The stream also will be available through Playbill.com, iHeartRadio Broadway and the sites of iHeartRadio’s New York City stations, abc7ny.com and the sites of the ABC owned television stations around the country.
Previous, 12:39 p.m. The Disney on Broadway show will go on: The American Federation of Musicians has agreed to waive fees for a streaming of last November’s Celebrating 25 Magical Years of Disney On Broadway concert as a benefit Broadway Cares Equity Fights AIDS’ COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund.
Ray Hair, International President of the AFM of the United States and Canada, has released a statement reversing his earlier decision to withhold streaming rights. Yesterday, Broadway musicians who performed at the concert last November, along with the orchestra contractor and the head of the union’s Local 802, signed a petition urging Hair to join other theatrical unions in allowing the show to proceed.
“We stand in solidarity with our fellow entertainment workers in Actors Equity and SAG-AFTRA,” said Hair in a statement. “We believe all musicians should be fairly compensated for their work all of the time, but we also believe that we must do everything possible to support entertainment workers hurt by the coronavirus pandemic. We fully support the union musicians who have graciously offered to forgo all required payments to allow this charity event to move forward.”
The stream had been set to kick off at 7 p.m. tonight, but a spokesman for the show said that won’t happen. Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS is working to reschedule the stream.
Hair initially rejected the request, reportedly suggesting that Disney was treating musicians like “slaves” and that in a time of “zero employment” musicians should be paid for their work.
The musicians, orchestra contractor and president of the Local 802 chapter of the AFM disagreed, though, posting a petition and open letter on Change.org yesterday acknowledging Hair’s work “to protect the rights of the membership,” but offering to “forgo any payment for the streaming of this charitable event” nonetheless.
Celebrating 25 Magical Years of Disney on Broadway was staged last Nov. 4 at the New Amsterdam Theatre to mark the silver anniversary of Disney’s arrival on Broadway. The concert featured a 15-piece orchestra for a cast of 79 performers, all presenting songs from the many Disney Broadway musicals over the years.
The event raised $570,426 for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, and with the recent Broadway shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, the organization proposed streaming of the recorded concert to raise money for its COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund.
The plan required that Disney and the various theatrical unions waive fees for the stream. Disney Theatrical Productions, SAG-AFTRA and Actors’ Equity Association agreed, but AFM’s Hair balked, arguing that Disney should pony up. Disney called the decision “disappointing.”