Broadway Cares has been forced to cancel a live stream of the November 2019 Celebrating 25 Magical Years of Disney on Broadway concert over demands from the American Federation of Musicians union, according to The New York Times.

What’s Happening:

  • Broadway Cares has canceled their plans to stream the pre-recorded concert, Celebrating 25 Magical Years of Disney on Broadway, after the American Federation of Musicians (AFM) union demanded compensation for the streamed performance.
  • The April 13th broadcast was going to be a fundraising event by Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS for a Covid-19 emergency assistance fund to benefit entertainment workers hurt by the pandemic.
  • Two other labor unions, Actors’ Equity Association and SAG-AFTRA, gave no objection to the fund-raising event.
  • Broadway Cares attempted to appease AFM with a $25,000 donation to a musician’s emergency fund, but their offer was declined.
  • The original concert was also a fund-raising event that raked in $570,426 for Broadway Cares and cost Disney $200,000 to produce, during which all performers were paid for their work. The concert was filmed on November 4th, 2019, at the Disney’s New Amsterdam Theater.
  • Disney Theatrical has raised over $20 million for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS over the past 25-years.
  • The live-stream event was recently promoted on ABC’s Good Morning America with a Zoom performance of “Go the Distance” from Hercules by nine performers.

What They’re Saying:

  • Tom Viola, Broadway Cares Executive Director: “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 meanspirited. This was different and the result, particularly now, is heartbreaking.”
  • Disney Theatrical Productions: “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.”
  • Ray Hair, American Federation of Musicians President: “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.”