AUBURN, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — With millions of jobs and businesses that have been lost due to the pandemic, the performing arts industry is arguably been hit the hardest. More than half of all actors and dancers are out of work. One in three musicians is unemployed.
Auburn native Joseph Townsend is one of them. “For me, personally, I’m an equity actor and I was in final callbacks for shows that are not happening. Some are not even existing anymore,” he explained. “And even worse than that our insurance is linked to our work and so having Broadway shut down that work goes away. It’s become a very scary and difficult position for many of us.” Broadway announced in October it will remain closed to audiences until at least May 30, 2021.
Townsend has been living and working in the New York City music and theater scene for the last decade. Although 2020 has put pushed him off stage, his work is still being spotlighted. Townsend has been nominated for Best Cabaret Singer by Broadway World magazine, a category filled with Tony-Award-winning talent.
“I had only just made my cabaret debut in December of 2019 so I’ve only been a part of the community for 3 or 4 months before the shutdown,” said Townsend. “And with these amazing people who I’ve looked up to is amazing and respected growing up is really incredible.”
Townsend grew up close to the nationally-known Merry-Go-Round Playhouse in Auburn, now known as the Rev Theatre. When he was 8-years-old, Townsend made his professional debut on that stage with Broadway actors. “It ignited the fire and the drive within me. I loved being around theater people,” recalled Townsend. “And the music and lights and the smell of costumes and makeup…it was really just a magical experience. And ultimately it prepared me to decide that’s what I was going to do.”
To learn more about Joseph Townsend and cast your vote for him as Best Vocalist, click here to be linked to his website.