I welcome you to this very special column at Times Square Chronicles which will feature an interview with Award-Winning Broadway producer Jim Kierstead.
The interview is longer than usual as Jim is such an important figure in both the theatre industry. His relationship between live theatre and virtual theatre, as well as his thoughts on what is going on currently in the theatre business are important. The company he created is to help struggling smaller theaters across the country, and is worth the time.
In addition, he inspires to give advice to the creative artists of the theatre. He talks about his major free streaming benefit for Broadway Cares, with 51 stars on World Aids Day!
Key points highlight the interview, but this really is a must watch interview with Mr. Kierstead.
At the end of the column, you will find links to Jim Kierstead’s website, information on the benefit and where and when to watch the show. Please donate if you can.
Jim is the recipient of 3 Tony Awards, an Emmy Award and an Olivier Award! He has produced over 25 Broadway productions including Kinky Boots, Hadestown, Pippin, Ain’t Too Proud, The Lehman Trilogy, etc.
Although Broadway and most theatre is at a standstill, and has been for the past 9 months, many creatives are busy doing virtual benefits, readings, TV & Film work and developing new projects.
He encourages writers and performers to continue to do their writing and readings on the Zoom platform. Although it may not be ideal, it is best venue for right now.
For Producers like himself, who had shows running on Broadway or in previews and about to open, the pandemic has been a difficult situation they are forced to deal with.
It is actually a good time for development of new works because highly talented people are around. Thankfully artists didn’t give up and move on to something else but continued to figure out what they could do creatively during this environment.
Jim believes that virtual will now always be part of theatre. Not to replace LIVE theatre, but enhance it.
The virtual medium and the ongoing familiarity will also have a benefit to open up theatre to new audiences.
During the pandemic, Jim started a company called Broadway Virtual to create and supply content to many of the ‘not for profit’ and subscription theaters so they could keep their patrons engaged.
Another goal of this company is to help commercial producers including himself to develop new works with actors and writers in a virtual environment.
During this time, Jim has been part of a number of streaming benefits for the York Theatre, Abingdon Theater, etc., but his most ambitious streaming benefit is this Tuesday, December 1st at 5pm and 8pm EST with 51 Broadway stars performing either monologues and/or songs from the show by Bill Russell and Janet Hood, Elegies For Angels, Punks and Raging Queens written for the last pandemic- AIDS and slightly updated to include covid.
His final advice for those in the theatre is to keep doing your art! This has been 9 horrible months, but know that in time this crisis will pass. Use this time to keep being creative doing what you CAN do. You have to come out of this better than before.
Thanks for viewing the column! Jim’s thoughts in the video are as inspiring as he is. This video offers hope, especially as he was hit very hard in this pandemic with a good number of shows affected by the closure of the theatre industry!
Jim Kierstead website:
Information on the Benefit:
To Watch the Benefit:
Bob Blume’s company site is www.StepForwardEntertainment.com
To Donate to The Actors Fund: www.actorsfund.org/stepforward
To Send in a question: firstname.lastname@example.org
To see ALL of the prior columns: ASK BOB BLUME columns