Members of the New York theatre community—including Broadway performers and Actors’ Equity leaders—took to the steps of City Hall April 3 to raise their voice in support of the NEA at the Rally to Save the Arts. Playbill was on hand to capture the event and discuss the importance of this program with several featured artists; take a look at the video above.
At the rally, New York City Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer gave an impassioned plea to protect funding for the National Endowment for the Arts and encouraged demonstrators to keep voicing their concerns, saying, “We will not accept this; this is not who we are; we are better than this. So we are fighting today, and it always starts with gatherings like this.”
Among the theatre artists in attendance were current The Lion King stars Jelani Remy (who also delivered a rendition of “Over the Rainbow”) and L. Steven Taylor, Here Lies Love and Joan of Arc composer David Byrne, and Broadway alum Ciara Renée. Additional participants included New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Actors’ Equity Executive Director Mary McColl.
The announcement of the proposed elimination for the National Endowment for the Arts came on March 16 as the Trump administration released a budget outline titled “America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again.” The proposal detailed cuts to several additional domestic programs, including the National Endowment for the Humanities. The new budget would go into effect in the fiscal year beginning October 1.