Leadership / 03.31.20
INTIX Applauds the Broadway Hand Wash Challenge
Out of crisis often comes opportunity. The coronavirus pandemic may have forced all of Broadway to go dark, but the stars of the Great White Way are still shining as bright as ever thanks to the Broadway Hand Wash Challenge. This TheaterMania initiative is giving some of the world’s top stage performers the opportunity to showcase their talents while raising money for some very worthy causes.
“The Broadway Hand Wash Challenge was created as a way to engage the theatre community and raise awareness for organizations and people struggling as a result of COVID-19 and the devastating effect it has had on our community,” says TheaterMania publisher Rosemary Maggiore. “The idea is that someone sings their favorite Broadway show tune while washing their hands for the recommended 20 seconds and posts [the performance] to Instagram. They then tag three more people and commit to donating to an organization such as the Actors Fund.”
The challenge is the brainchild of TheaterMania media producer Jeffrey Vizcaino. TheaterMania reached out to Stephanie J. Block, a 2019 Tony Award winner for “The Cher Show,” and other actors with whom the organization has good relationships to kick it off. “It’s been a huge hit so far, and people are participating near and far,” Maggiore says. “I’ve seen all ages of people take the challenge and in multiple languages.”
Indeed, among the many who have taken part to date are Tony winners Block, James Monroe Iglehart (best known as the Genie from “Aladdin”) and Donna Murphy, along with current “Jagged Little Pill” cast members Kathryn Gallagher, Lauren Patten and Elizabeth Stanley. Multiple Tony nominees Orfeh, Derrick Baskin, Carolee Carmello, Montego Glover and Judy Kuhn have also participated, as have such stage and screen favorites as Jelani Alladin, Skylar Astin, Ariana DeBose, Alyssa May Gold, Carly Hughes, Telly Leung and Bonnie Milligan.
So, does Maggiore have any personal favorites so far? “I love the ones where people go all out and get dressed up and decorate their ‘set,’ which is usually a bathroom,” she says. “Check out Corey Cott’s ‘Phantom’ or Raquel Suarez Groen acting out a scene from ‘Phantom’ — not a song, but just as great. I think my favorites, though, are the kids. I love Nikki Renée Daniels and her daughter singing their rendition of the Schuyler Sisters from ‘Hamilton’” Click the image below to watch Nikki Renée Daniels' video.
There’s no doubt that the Broadway Hand Wash Challenge has a few similarities to the great Ice Bucket Challenge that captivated the internet in 2014. “It’s similar in that this is viral, video-based and involves one person tagging another,” Maggiore says. “The Ice Bucket Challenge raised monumental amounts of money for a specific organization to fight the ALS disease. In this case, we are trying to support the devastating effects of the swift economic downturn for the performing arts community, but not singling out one specific organization. We wanted to allow the singer to choose an organization that is meaningful to them. This could be a local theatre or a larger organization such as the Actors Fund, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS or Covenant House.”
The short videos are really quite something to see in this tense time of crisis and extreme social distancing. The various performances can be seen on any platform where one can search the hashtag #BwayHandWashChallenge, but specifically Instagram and Twitter. “We are sharing these through our site, as well,” Maggiore says. “But we recommend you check it out on social and take the challenge yourself to keep the momentum going!”
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Tags: Theater , Broadway , COVID-19 , Coronavirus