New York City is home to numerous musical communities. One of the most vibrant and multi-faceted is the family of musicians working on Broadway. There are almost 10,000 musical theater performances every year and the 1,200 musicians working on those shows play a critical role in bringing them to life. This is a unique interaction with the public, though many times they never see us. Open pits are sadly becoming a thing of the past. The public should know more about us, the stories behind the people, and all of the talent that’s behind every show. Local 802 is working to make that happen with a full-court press web and social media campaign called Musicians of Broadway. Even though we rarely play in the spotlight on Broadway, this campaign will bring us to center stage. A new website has been in the works for several weeks and will launch hopefully around the time you are reading these words, at www.musiciansofbroadway.com.
First and foremost, we are encouraging every show to contribute a feature about their orchestra and the people in it. These articles can be aimed at students, younger musicians or anyone who is just curious about how it all works in an orchestra pit. We are already working on many articles and we are especially excited about one that features the many members of our community who have served in the military.
While putting this project together, we caught the attention of one of the bigger P.R. firms in town. Their advice to us was to make sure that we tell the stories behind the individuals who work on Broadway, as the human interest angle is what catches the public’s eye. We put out requests to several individuals. With just a handful of interviews, you quickly see that we have remarkable people in our community: we have rock stars, and those who play regularly with them, alongside members of world-famous orchestras and chamber groups. There are those who have stood up for charitable causes and formed their own nonprofits. Others have overcome serious illness. We have many great teachers, of course, but we also have great bowlers and cooks, to name just a few talents. By sharing who we are, the public will become even more interested in connecting with us.
In the press/across the web
Our preliminary research turned up numerous articles about musicians on Broadway featured in well-known music magazines like Modern Drummer, Bass Player and Grammy, not to mention venerable outlets like the New York Times. Of course, there is also a wealth of information across the web, including incredible video content. The Musicians of Broadway website will be a portal for all of it and it’s easy to imagine how those pages will soon take on a life of their own.
Part of our inspiration came from the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, whose members bring music to under-served communities through free concerts. They’ve taken it a step further by forming a 501(c)3 nonprofit and raising funds for community outreach projects. This is an effort we hope to embrace as we grow. It is powerful and impactful work that not only serves the community, but also raises the public’s awareness about the importance of live music. It will give us yet another opportunity to engage with the public, especially with those who may not have the chance to experience the caliber of performances we can provide.
How can you help?
We ask that you create content: articles, photography, interviews and videos. More content will drive more people to the site. We will take suggestions and submissions at firstname.lastname@example.org. As the site goes live, please share and repost on your social media platforms. This is a very exciting and potentially powerful campaign. We have the opportunity to craft our message, create an ongoing dialogue with the public, and celebrate the lives and work of the exceptional individuals who are the Musicians of Broadway.