dR Daily 9/1/20: A Red Alert to Help Performing Arts Centers

Contrary to Sting’s plea to Roxanne, live arts presenters do have to put on the red light.

Tonight from 9 p.m. to midnight, performing arts venues across the country, including more than 30 in Florida, will light their exteriors to send a “Red Alert.”

The goal: Get Congress to pass  the RESTART Act (S. 3814/H.R. 7481) and the Save Our Stages Act (S. 4258/H.R. 7806) to provide  economic relief to the live events industry, which has been shuttered since March. Nationwide, 12 million show workers are estimated to be unemployed because of Covid-19, including designers, technicians, programmers, stagehands and others.

The crisis has been acutely felt in our region, where Ruth Eckerd Hall, the Capitol Theatre, the Straz, the Mahaffey and the Van Wezel will be among the more than 30 Florida venues taking part in “Red Alert RESTART.” When these venues are closed, the shutdown affects not only their employees but the economy as a whole. According to Kevin Stone, president of the Florida Professional Presenters Consortium, his member venues create “a total economic impact every year of $495 million, which supports the full-time equivalent of 15,425 jobs, $377.7 million of household income, $21.8 million of local government fees and taxes and $26.1 million of state government fees and taxes.”

You can help, too. Visit saveourstages.com to send a message to your U.S. Senators and Representative. Use the hashtags #SAVEOURSTAGES and #RedAlertRESTART on social media. Light your own residence or business red in a show of solidarity, or use a red filter on a social media image.

Thanks to Ruth Eckerd for sending out a media alert about the Red Alert. Here’s hoping for a time when marquees will be lit up with the names of performers and shows, not cries for help. But until that time, we have to do all we can to help live arts venues big and small or we won’t have them around to enjoy when the pandemic’s over.