Broadway may be currently closed, but that hasn’t stopped theatrical heavyweight Lin-Manuel Miranda from making a splash in the big apple.
Hamilton creator Miranda joined the New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio earlier this week at the big unveiling of a dedicated Times Square COVID vaccination centre. It is hoped that the site will help the city’s much-loved entertainment industry get back on its feet before the end of the year.
Miranda is the creative force behind the mega-successful Hamilton, which broke streaming records last year when the recorded production premiered on Disney Plus. The play marks the rise and tragic end of former Treasury of State and American found father, Alexander Hamilton, and is performed predominantly by people of colour.
Miranda is also responsible for another rap musical, In the Heights, which has seen a rise in popularity thanks to a feature film adaptation set to be released later this summer.
“We want to gather again, and we want to tell stories in the dark,” Miranda, who has become something akin to Broadway royalty in NYC. “We cannot do that if we don’t feel safe and if you don’t feel safe. So the first step in that process is getting our vaccination shots, and the next steps will follow.”
The vaccination site marks another step forward towards normality, as the city tries to return back to the way things were before the pandemic. This past year has seen Broadway theatres brought to their knees ahead of public safety concerns. However, with the likes of Diana and The Lion King announcing their return to the stage in the next year, there has been some semblance of hope that things are moving in the right direction. Mayor De Blasio has reinforced this sentiment, optimistically predicated that such vaccination sites will see the industry reopen by September.
Yes, it’s part of our economy. Much more importantly it’s part of our identity,” de Blasio said during the unveiling. “It’s part of who we are, it’s part of our hearts. What it means in this city, the theatre, the music, the dance, the film and TV, it is our expression of everything that is New York City. It’s our creativity, it’s our heart and soul. We do something here that does not exist anywhere in the world quite like this.
The new Times Square vaccine site will be open specifically for workers in entertainment sector, meaning those in the film, television and theatre industry will be able to get tested and approved for work ahead of productions.
The vaccination centre, situated in a former NFL Experience store, is being managed by Broadway company manager, Susan Sampliner, who has worked on Wicked for years.
“If anyone knows how to make a show run on time it is Broadway stage managers,” said Miranda. “So you’ll be in good hands.”