Disney on Broadway was supposed to stream its special Disney on Broadway 25th Anniversary Concert on Monday, April 13th at 7 pm ET. Unfortunately, the New York Times is now reporting this event has been cancelled due to union disputes.
The one-night-only special was going to be streamed in order to benefit the Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS’ C-19 Emergency Assistance Fund, but now has unfortunately been cancelled. This comes after a dispute between the major charity (Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS) and a labor union (American Federation of Musicians).
Initially, two of major labor unions — Actors’ Equity Association and SAG-AFTRA — had (and still) agreed to allow the Disney on Broadway 25th Anniversary Concert streaming without fees, but the American Federation of Musicians, on the other hand, did not agree, causing the cancellation.
Ray Hair, International President of the American Federation of Musicians, stated in an email:
Members of the American Federation of Musicians are suffering from the sudden cancellation of all work as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak. During the height of this crisis, Disney Theatrical has come to us asking to stream media content without payment to the musicians involved in the production. Especially now, with zero employment in the entertainment sector, the content producers should care enough about the welfare of those who originally performed the show to see to it that they are fairly compensated when their work is recorded and streamed throughout the world.
It didn’t take long before Broadway Cares, who’s been working raising money for a C-19 emergency assistance fund, spoke out about their frustrations. Tom Viola, Executive Director of Broadway Cares, stated “I understand being told no. When that happens — and it does — I can usually see why or understand the extenuating circumstances. It never feels simply mean-spirited. This was different and the result, particularly now, is heartbreaking.”
Disney Theatrical Productions, also frustrated, spoke out on the cancellation stating:
Disney wholeheartedly supported the request from Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS to AFM to waive fees for this fund-raiser, just as many unions and guilds had happily agreed to do. It’s disappointing that in this case, due to AFM’s decision, much-needed funds will not be raised. We are fiercely proud to be advocates for Broadway Cares and will continue to be, especially at a time like this.
Disney has been working with Broadway Cares for over the last 25 years and has raised nearly $20 million.
The streaming of Disney on Broadway 25th Anniversary Concert would have been of the performance that took place last November at the New Amsterdam Theatre. The performance featured 79 performers along with a beautiful a 15-piece onstage orchestra. The celebration was a huge success as it raised $570,426 for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.
The lineup included:
…Performances from Jelani Alladin (Hercules), Sierra Boggess (The Little Mermaid, School of Rock – The Musical), Christian Borle (Little Shop of Horrors, Mary Poppins), Ashley Brown (Mary Poppins), Kerry Butler (Beetlejuice, Beauty and the Beast), Lauryn Ciardullo (Aladdin), Gavin Creel (Hello, Dolly!, Waitress), Merle Dandridge (Tarzan, Aida), Lindiwe Dlamini (The Lion King), Bongi Duma (The Lion King), Susan Egan (Beauty and the Beast), Andrew Barth Feldman (Dear Evan Hansen), Bradley Gibson (The Lion King), Whoopi Goldberg (TV’s The View), Mandy Gonzalez (Hamilton, Aida), April Holloway (Aladdin), James Monroe Iglehart (Aladdin, Hamilton), Adam Jacobs (Aladdin), Ramona Keller (Hercules), Nina Lafarga (Frozen), Tamika Lawrence (Hercules, Come From Away), Norm Lewis (Once on This Island, The Little Mermaid), Kara Lindsay (Newsies, Beautiful – The Carole King Musical), Tshidi Manye (The Lion King), Sbusiso Ngema (The Lion King), Ashley Park (Mean Girls, Grand Horizons), Adam Pascal (Rent), Krysta Rodriguez (Hercules), Michael James Scott (Aladdin), Sherie Rene Scott (The Little Mermaid), Kissy Simmons (The Lion King), Josh Strickland (Tarzan), Katie Terza (Aladdin), Marisha Wallace (Aladdin, Something Rotten!), Rema Webb (Hercules, The Lion King), Alton Fitzgerald White (The Lion King) and Syndee Winters (Hamilton, The Lion King).