Broadway Musicians Equity Partnership is delighted to announce the launch of its innovative pilot program, which aims to provide access and learning opportunities for musicians who have historically been underrepresented on Broadway and help them learn about playing in the musical theatre industry.
On September 13, BMEP kicked off its program at the inaugural meet and greet of Local 802’s DECIBAL Collective, which counts BMEP as one of its members.
The inaugural cohort of BMEP includes 19 visiting partner musicians matched with current Broadway chair holders. The visiting partners represent a large cross-section of race, gender, instruments, and age.
“The typical Broadway orchestra does not resemble our diverse city at large,” said Alvin Hough, Jr., chair of the BMEP committee. “We set out to create a program that would respectfully and responsibly open doors to the Broadway scene for multiple communities that have been historically underrepresented and excluded, including people of color, people with disabilities, and transgender or nonbinary individuals.”
Hough added, “The BMEP committee is excited to launch this pilot program to provide musicians from underrepresented groups a hands-on learning experience to playing on Broadway. Every musician in a Broadway orchestra pit got their start thanks to someone who gave them a chance and gave them a hand to work their way up. This program aims to provide that same opportunity to talented musicians who might not otherwise have a chance.”
BMEP is funded by a grant from the New York City Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment. BMEP is fiscally sponsored by Arts Ignite and also supported by Local 802 and the Broadway League. The project was developed with the specific goal of fostering collaboration, growth, inclusion, and equity within the Broadway community.
“We are proud to support this innovative program from the Broadway Musicians Equity Partnership, which aims to ensure the pits and orchestras of NYC’s theatres and performance spaces represent the diversity of the city itself,” said MOME Commissioner Pat Swinney Kaufman. “Our office, and this entire administration is committed to supporting NYC’s workers, and this program will open doors for traditionally excluded musicians to share their gifts and talents with the world.”
The program is open to all professional musicians in the New York City area who come from groups that have been historically underrepresented in the musical theatre industry, including people of color, people with disabilities, nonbinary and transgender individuals, and others.
Key features of the BMEP program include:
- Shadowing and Pit Visits: Visiting partners will get a chance to get up-close learning by shadowing their chair holder partner in a Broadway orchestra pit.
- Facilitated Workshops: Visiting partners will get access to in-person workshops with guest speakers ranging from Broadway music directors, contractors, and chair holders. These workshops can give a greater context to the working environment on Broadway and also offer critical networking opportunities.
- Final Project: A hands-on playing experience between Broadway chair holders and visiting musicians to demonstrate their playing skills after learning a Broadway book.
To learn more about BMEP, please visit www.broadwaymusiciansep.org.