When there’s so much grief in the news presently, leave it to Broadway performers to find a way to bring a smile to the faces of homebound individuals across the nation. 

As the number of people afflicted with COVID-19 climbs, and so many individuals are isolated from the rest of the world in their homes to prevent further contagion, folks are looking to find creative ways to pass the time and connect with loved ones, colleagues, and neighbors. Take Broadway performer Jordan Grubb. Grubb, who acted in the musicals Groundhog Day (2017) and SpongeBob SquarePants (2018) reached out to his Broadway buddies via social media, requesting they contact him if they were interested in participating in a group project: creating a lip-syncing video of the Les Miserables song “One Day More.”

About a week earlier, the Broadway League had announced all Broadway shows would be suspended through mid-April to slow the progression of the novel coronavirus, and New Yorkers were largely locking themselves up in their homes to benefit the community.

When reaching out to his friends, Grubb told CNN“I sent a time stamp of the song, asked them to get creative, film a sequence, and send it to me from their phones. Everyone’s footage you see in the video is filmed from themselves. It was kind of this artistic community labor of love for what we do.”

It’s clear Grubb’s Broadway friends were enthusiastic to receive his invitation, as they found humorous ways to play around with the material. Some dressed in makeshift costumes or even face masks and rubber gloves inspired by the looming viral fears; others incorporated the CDC’s coronavirus-prevention tips by washing their hands or applying Purell as they crooned. Over all, the quarantined performers sang while doing familiar tasks such as playing card games, belting out songs from their tenement windows to reach the the ears of their neighbors, and finding companionship with others living in their home—in some cases, just their dog. Each performer managed to remain in character while singing the epic Les Miserables song, likening the hardships of 19th-century France to the present-day COVID-19 tragedy and fears. 

Once Grubb got ahold of all the footage, he spent a couple of days editing the video collage before uploading it to Facebook over the weekend for all to see. After all, in addition to his acting and singing skills, Grubb is a videographer—a talent, which came in handy especially during this particularly isolating time period. “Like the rest of the theater community, [I] have been trying to do social distancing as best I can while having an artistic outlet,” Grubb continued. The end result was a fun video that helped brighten the spirits of those involved as well as so many who viewed the video. This is what happens when actors/singers/dancers intermix their abilities with modern technological innovations … they can perform even while in isolation.

When the theaters shut their doors, the Broadway League president, Charlotte St. Martin, said in a statement: “Our top priority has been and will continue to be the health and well-being of Broadway theatregoers and the thousands of people who work in the theatre industry every day, including actors, musicians, stagehands, ushers, and many other dedicated professionals.” 

And about a week ago, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo officially ordered all employees in nonessential businesses to stay home to minimize the number of New Yorkers being afflicted with COVID-19. Let’s hope the quarantine significantly cuts down the number of COVID-19 cases, so the suffering can come to an end sooner rather than later,  people can come out from lockdown, theaters can reopen, and we can get actors back to work as soon as possible.

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