Broadway Buskers Concert Series concluded their season of live streamed performances for Broadway fans everywhere, this past October.
Since 2018, Broadway Buskers has hosted concerts in Times Square to showcase Broadway workers’ original music in between shows. The Times Square Alliance did not let COVID-19 stop them from sharing music and good vibes with the Broadway community. From August to October, fans streamed Broadway Buskers concerts every Tuesday at 7PM.
The final two shows wrapped up the series with a bang. Juwan Crawley (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Aladdin), Cheeyang Ng (Eastbound, MĀYĀ), and Anthony Norman (The Prom, Chicago Med) closed the season after baby chemist (Katie Lee Hill & Travis Artz: New Amsterdam, SpongeBob LIVE on Nickelodeon; Transformers: Cyberverse, My Very Own British Invasion) and Jai’Len Josey (SpongeBob SquarePants) performed the week before. Watch Buskers performances on the Times Square Alliance’s YouTube channel.
Even though the quarantine has hurt many, people are connecting virtually like never before. Songwriter and Broadway actress Jennifer Sanchez notes:
“The most rewarding part about buskers has been connecting with the artists and the gifts of their songs. The openness and supportiveness was special…even when the virus shut it down and we all felt kind of isolated, we were able to make collaborate and music. It’s pretty magical.”
Cheeyang Ng describes the shift to online as “challenging,” because “without the face-to-face human connection one gets when we’re doing something like that in Times Square is quite sad.” Still, having virtual concerts “means the opportunity for a wider range of people to hear some new musical theatre.” Even though Broadway is closed, programs like Broadway Buskers are making theatre more accessible than every before.
For baby chemist, their set became “hybrid show of live interview, sketch, and banter mixed with pre-recorded musical performances.” Hill said “by playing into this new hybrid format, we were actually able to create an atmosphere that was closer to the off-beat vibe of what one of our live, in-person shows is like!”
She loves “that Broadway Buskers gives actors a platform to show another side of their artistry, giving them a chance to perform in a way you might not have heard them get to do yet in an onstage musical.”
With these weekly shows, the Times Square Alliance has celebrated songwriters from all places and backgrounds. Audiences watched the talent the Broadway community has to offer for free. If possible, however, fans can donate to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS’ COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Fund to help those struggling. Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS has been funding AIDS treatment and creating grants to help those in need since 1988.