How Broadway is Benefiting Australian Wildfire Relief Efforts

It’s 2020, and climate change is in full effect whether we believe it or not. Australia is facing some of the deadliest wildfires in a long time, and its burning flames is killing off wildlife and leaving families with nothing. It is a harsh time for those who have connections to the land down under, but Broadway is actively providing relief efforts in some of the most creative ways to help in whatever ways it can.

Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS is one of the nation’s leading nonprofits centered around funding for the essential services for people with illnesses such as AIDS in the United States. This organization is giving $100,000 in grants to support these relief efforts and offer immediate assistance to those who need it most. The two grants of $50,000 will be sent to NSW Rural Fire Services & Brigades and WIRES: The NSW Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service. Tom Viola, executive director of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, said: “Buoyed by and on behalf of those onstage, backstage and in audiences in New York City and on the road, we are proud to support these two important organizations. While we may be 10,000 physical miles away, we hold all in Australia close to our hearts.”

This has not been the first time that the theater community has shown empathy toward those hurt and implemented action to show they are there for support. During the California wildfires in 2018 and 2019 and the hurricanes affecting Florida, Puerto Rico and Texas in 2017, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS also rewarded emergency grants in response.

Moving forward, Broadway’s hit "Moulin Rouge! The Musical" also pitched in for Australian wildfire relief efforts through their Jan. 26 (aka Australia Day) performance. All proceeds from this show will fund the Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund and WIRES: The NSW Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service. Moulin Rouge! The Musical has deep roots in Australia beginning with the filming of the 2001 movie in and being brought to life by Australian directors, designers and actresses.

Moulin Rouge! The Musical is also holding a separate Make it Rain Rally benefit concert featuring performances by actors from "Frozen," "Hamilton" and "Tootsie." The cast commented: “Our bohemian values of truth, beauty, freedom and above all – love, have inspired us to rally together to support the relief efforts currently underway down under.”

"To Kill a Mockingbird" cast member Rebecca Watson, along with her wardrobe team, are working together to sew items such as mittens, “joey pouches” for kangaroos and blankets. The team gathered flannel, cotton and other synthetic-free materials to create these healing items for animals and families. Watson went on to say that “they are using these items not only for healing, but for transportation and providing places for the animals to live and survive outside their natural habitats, which have been destroyed.”

Actor Nicholas Cunningham, the La Cage Aux Folles dance captain and the "Phantom of the Opera" alum from the West End, is working to raise money for the Australian Red Cross and the Australian World Wildlife Fund. He is hosting a dance class with all donations being sent directly to Australian relief efforts.

The musical theater community obviously has a passionate heart for serving Australia in this time of need, and they are doing everything they can to implement action now as the need is urgent. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those involved in the Australian wildfires, including families, wildlife and emergency services.