Seven Broadway Stars Who Have Created New Businesses During the Pandemic

Haley Kluge
·4-min read

The New York theater industry supports more than 96,000 local jobs during a typical Broadway season. But as theaters remain closed, these seven artists have channeled their creativity into new endeavors.

Robbie Fairchild

Fairchild (picture above right with Adam Perry) made a name for himself as a principal dancer of the New York City Ballet before his Tony-nominated run in “An American in Paris.” Since then, he’s transitioned from ballet to Broadway and now bouquets. Fairchild — with assistance from fellow performers Perry and Sara Esty — created his at-home floral shop boo•kay nyc during the height of the global pandemic. “I was so surprised to find the similarities between flower arranging and performing,” he told Variety. “With both, there is so much time creating and putting it together in a studio, and then there is that wondrous moment when you reveal it to the audience. When I experienced the first flower delivery and seeing the look on their face, I knew this was going to fill the void that live performance can’t right now.” Arrangements are available for delivery in New York. Do-it-yourself kits and wreaths ship nationwide.

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Tamika Lawrence

Lawrence was in final dress rehearsals of “Caroline, or Change” the day COVID shut down Broadway. Since then, she’s launched Ready Set Wear, a socially conscious streetwear line. Behind-the-scenes, she’s a one-woman show – researching distributors, drop shipments, marketing, video editing and apparel design in preparation for the launch. “It was actually very healing for me as an anti-anxiety mechanism to just design,” she told Variety. “I wanted to help people wear in awareness.”

Reeve Carney

The performer was a year into his Broadway run in the Tony-winning “Hadestown” before COVID hit. In his newfound spare time, he started Quarantine Effects USA — a shop for effects pedals, all designed and created by hand in his New York City apartment. The business started as an attempt to modify a broken pedal but turned into a passion project for researching electronics and modifying equipment. “I’ve spent so much time obsessing over tone… There are certain sounds that I haven’t been able to find and the goal with this was to make something that I’ve had in my head,” Carney told Variety.

Jennifer Simard and Jessica Vosk

The two friends maximized their days in quarantine by launching “Killing It on Broadway,” a true-crime comedy podcast. Vosk is most recognized for playing Elphaba in “Wicked” and was in rehearsals for Jerry Mitchell’s “Becoming Nancy” when COVID shut theaters down; Simard is scheduled to return to Broadway as Sarah in the current revival of “Company.” Originally born out of their mutual love of true crime, the pair now spend 30-hours a week researching, recording and editing their podcast. “This year, we have had the extra imagination to pivot in ways that we weren’t expecting,” Vosk said. Each week they invite a celebrity to discuss a murder that occurred in his or her home state. Guests have included Kristin Chenoweth, James Monroe Iglehart, Beth Malone and Grey Henson. “When we speak to these actors or other guests that we have on the show… everyone is interested in the psychological makeup of people and what makes people tick,” Simard said. “Specifically, actors have to do that, because that’s how we do our jobs. You can’t really do your job as an actor if you aren’t able to access someone from their psychological viewpoint.” New episodes are available on Spotify and Apple Podcasts every Monday.

Jeremy O. Harris

The actor and playwright recently announced a gender-neutral capsule collection with SSENSE. Harris, who broke records with his 12-time Tony-nominated “Slave Play,” is donating his fee to help support unemployed members of the theater community.

Fran Curry

Curry is no stranger to accessories. In her career as a theater dresser, Curry has prepared the costumes and wardrobe of stars like Kelli O’Hara, Caissie Levy, and most recently Ciara Renée in Disney’s “Frozen” (Disney announced that the show would not be reopening in the wake of the pandemic). She’s transitioned that skill set into her own jewelry line — GirlFran Jewelry. “Making jewelry was something that always cleared my mind and just gave me some creative outlet,” she told Variety. With Broadway shows closed, Curry continued to search for ways to keep her technical skills sharp. Her inventory consists of earrings made from metals, faux leather and beads. “It’s given me purpose and such a jolt of energy.”

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