As unemployment rates continue to rise amid the coronavirus pandemic, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit is attempting to mitigate this problem for actors who have been hit hard by the worldwide health crisis—particularly thespians whose careers have been on hold since Broadway shut down on March 12, 2020.
After an announcement on January 5 that Tony nominees Eva Noblezada (Hadestown) and Alex Brightman (Beetlejuice) had been cast in an upcoming episode, one fan pointed out that the series had featured “so much broadway.”
Law & Order: SVU showrunner Warren Leight confirmed that this has been completely intentional in a reply on January 5. “We are trying to hire every Broadway actor we can while we and they wait for the curtains to rise again,” he tweeted, adding, “And yes, by Broadway, we of course also mean off, and off-off, and off-off-off.”
Law & Order: SVU is one of the few shows that films in New York City, making it a prime gig for actors who make most of their living on the stage, even before the pandemic hit.
Leight expanded on these statements in an interview with Deadline published on January 6. “We know how hard the community has been hit here,” Leight said. “The goal is to get as many jobs to as many theater actors as we possibly can.”
The replies to Leight’s tweets range from general delight and gratitude to actors pitching themselves for roles. “I support this completely, hiring with purpose. Bless you guys,” White Collar actor Willie Garson tweeted.
Another user pointed out that SVU has a “long history” of Broadway gust stars, including “half the cast of Hamilton” as well as former series regular Rafael Barba.
Per Broadway World, the episode set to feature Noblezada and Brightman is centered around “an online role-play session that turns violent when one user decides to meet his idol in person.” It will air on January 14, 2021.