COVID? Really?

After months of networking, meeting exceptionally talented people, and learning more about the details of the business of musical theater, I hit an unexpected wall. Or rather, the entire industry did.

While normally, one would expect to do a series of workshops with a new play, what is happening now is appalling: the entire arts community has effectively shut down. (Of course, the human cost of COVID-19 – sickness, death, uncertainty, mental fragility, etc – is far worse.)

Being shut down means that current shows are immediately cancelled, and anything in development for the new season will be pushed off a year (if they’re lucky.) And everything from that season will be pushed off a year too. And everything that is in development – like Esther – must sit in development, cooking, for that much longer.

The upside is that Esther will be that much better for the work that will go on, both on the creative side and the marketing side. This means…

  1. Work will proceed on this new website, that captures the essence of Esther, and helps build the brand for an eventual launch.
  2. In addition to traditional workshops (which we will do when it is safe), we are starting to think about using the concept of a virtual choir to collect feedback from choral musical directors and from individual singers. This has an added benefit of growing the Esther Tribe. Stay tuned for details!
  3. More re-writes
  4. Stronger orchestration and improved scores
  5. More networking – but using Zoom as the venue, not Starbucks.

At this time, no one knows exactly when we will return to normal, but I would predict that even if a vaccine is available by the end of 2020, it will still take a year to get it into everyone’s hands. And it will take at least another year before people feel confident enough to go to a show in person. So, lots of time between now and 2023-ish to work on making a “good” Esther into great. [Update: As I read this at the end of 2022, COVID was a net-positive, as the work is now so much better.]