January 1–31, 2021

Curtain Call Inc.

SAVE OUR STAGES ACT (Community Theatres excluded from funding)

Please help us flood the phones of Congressman Jim Himes: (203) 353-9400, Senator Dick Blumenthal: (202) 224-2823 and Senator Chris Murphy: (202) 224-4041.  Also, key sponsors: Amy Klobuchar 202-224-3244; Chuck Schumer - (202) 224-6542; John Cornyn - 202-224-2934.

A provision of the CARES ACT2 blocks community theatres from funding. When the Save Our Stages Act was initiated it was to help music venues. It was interpolated into the Cares Act for  "live music venues, eligible independent movie theatres and museums that have been affected by COVID-19 stay-at-home orders." Theatres and more were added in at the last minute, but wording that was really geared to the music industry remained...that's where the problem is. 
Community theatres actors, by and large, are performing avocationally with no professional ambitions - butchers, bakers and candlestick makers if you will.  The problem with the bill as it stands is that one of the stipulations that remained references artists being paid fairly: “There is a paid ticket or cover charge to attend most performances and artists are paid fairly and do not play for free or solely for tips…” That wording is very specific to music venues since musicians often play for a split of the door or tips, etc. PLAY being related to musicians, not actors! This is where community theatres get cut out of the massive arts funding. 

There are about 20,000+/- community theatres in the US. From some quick math here, we're at least a $1B industry.  
In dollars and cents, what this change would mean to us is this: A grant in the amount of 45% of 2019's income, would amount to $308,000. The suggested option since we're not available, is another PPP Loan in the amount of $98,000. A stunning difference to say the least.

Many of our colleague theatres that have now paid staff (New Canaan Town Players, Wilton Playshop, etc..) are not even eligible for PPP Loans, so we really need to fix this immediately before the SBA  issues application guidelines.

If you want additional clarification on this issue, please write Lou Ursone at Lou@curtaincallinc.com...if you'd like a phone call, just include your number.

Click here to read a letter from Music Theatre International President and CEO, Drew Cohen
Click here to read a letter from US Senator Dick Blumenthal