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Live Performance, The Pandemic And The Domino Effect Of Dark Stages

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The iconic Metro concert venue sits empty in Chicago, Illinois, on December 29, 2020. - The Stone Pony in New Jersey’s Asbury Park has hosted dozens of musicians on their ascent to stardom -- including none other than Bruce Springsteen -- but for months it’s sat dark due to the coronavirus pandemic. And like hundreds of other cultural institutions across the United States its owners are hopeful relief is finally on the way: the latest COVID-19 bill recently signed into law by President Donald Trump includes $15 billion for beleaguered arts venues to survive the ongoing crisis. “I’ve never worked harder in my life than this year,” said Joe Shanahan, owner of Chicago’s 1,000-seat Metro, credited with fostering the success of alt rockers The Smashing Pumpkins. (Photo by KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI / AFP) (Photo by KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI/AFP via Getty Images

The pandemic leveled live performance, and the industry is last in line for a return to normal.

Musician Zoe Keating and production designer Terry Morgan describe how their work has changed with live venues nationwide shuttered for nearly a year.

Venue owner Danya Frank of First Avenue and Jim Ritts of the Paramount Theatre explain why the gears of the performing arts economy are not designed for a slow return to normalcy.

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Email us at considerthis@npr.org.

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