Refugees of Broadway


Scott Perrin, Executive Director, First Responders Children’s Foundation
TV News Media
September 21, 2020
Refugees of Broadway

Dear News Producer:

A group of 18 Broadway actors, singers, dancers, and stage managers has been rescuing first responders across the nation during COVID-19.

WHO: The mission of First Responders Children’s Foundation is to meet the needs of the people who show up when you dial 911.

WHERE:  First Responders Children’s Foundation is based in New York City and supports first responders across the country.

WHAT:  First Responders Children’s Foundation helps those who help us.  A first responder can’t rush into danger if they’re struggling with financial issues.  So, for firefighters, nurses, paramedics, EMTs, or police officers, the Foundation makes sure they have food on the table, a roof over their heads, gas in their car, or for that matter, a functioning car that is safe to drive so they are able to jump out of bed in the middle of the night and race to our rescue.   More than 71% of firefighters are volunteers, and these volunteers are our nation’s firefighters, paramedics and EMTs.  When they get sick, injured, and lose their day jobs because of the pandemic, they’re not able to help us.  That’s when the Foundation steps in to help – we’re the safety net for first responders.

WHEN:  When COVID-19 hit, the Foundation received an avalanche of grant requests from first responders, was overwhelmed with applications to process, and needed lots of help to get money into the hands of our heroes on the front lines as quickly as possible.  So, we turned to Broadway for help.

BROADWAY?  COVID-19 closed Broadway, but almost immediately First Responders Children’s Foundation hired 18 of those actors, singers, dancers, and stage managers – our “Refugees of Broadway” –  to help process grant applications that were sent into First Responders Children’s Foundation.  The “Refugees of Broadway” brought their sunny optimism and “let’s put on a show” attitude to help rescue our rescuers.  They split up 17,000 grant applications (and counting) coming in from first responders across the country, and they processed those applications with the same dedication and resilience that we find in our real first responder heroes.  The Foundation’s Executive Director, Scott Perrin, said “The Broadway folks have an attitude of, “the show must go on,” and while every Broadway marquee has been dark, our Broadway team has been reviewing grant applications to ensure that the applicants meet three criteria:  1) they are first responders, 2) they have been impacted by COVID-19, and 3) they demonstrate a financial hardship.”

The careers of these talented, young artists may have been sidelined by the pandemic, but the kindhearted Refugees of Broadway have now been helping first responders for six months.  They are paid for their help, but some have refused the pay as a gesture of good will and because they’re doing such noble work as “back-up” – not back-up singers and dancers, but literally as back-up called in by first responders.

“Their incredible attitude is the same as in the musical, A Chorus Line, when the they sang:  ‘Kiss today goodbye / And point me toward tomorrow / We did what we had to do / Won’t forget, can’t regret / What I did for love’” said Perrin.  “In my opinion, both first responders and Broadway artists will save us during this pandemic – one saves our bodies, and the other saves our hearts and minds.”  Foundation President Jillian Crane added, “In executing the mission of the Foundation to support first responder families, the Foundation was also able to provide critical to support to artists.  Our ‘Refugees of Broadway’ are now the biggest stars on Broadway since they came to the rescue of the people who rescue us.  First responders are being called upon now more than ever – with the virus, wildfires, hurricanes, civil unrest, flu season, and winter fast approaching – and they need our help now more than ever.  They show up for us, so let’s show up for them.”

If you would like to run this story (or one of our PSAs) on the air, please contact:  Joanna Black, Director of Communications, First Responders Children’s Foundation.