Coronavirus News: Public Theater honors healthcare workers with online play 'The Line'

Wednesday, July 22, 2020
Public Theater pays tribute to healthcare workers with play 'The Line'
Sandy Kenyon has more on the online play honoring New York City's healthcare workers.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- Like all the other theaters on and off Broadway, Manhattan's famed Public Theater had to shut down in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Still, the non-profit organization has found a way to stage a play online and honor New York City's healthcare workers at the same time.

"The Line" takes us to the front line of the fight against COVID-19. The words you hear during this presentation are real, but spoken by actors.

"It was our love letter to health care workers in New York City for their bravery and their sacrifice," co-creator Erik Jensen said.

He and his wife Jessica Blank interviewed some of those workers then transcribed and organized what they heard to create what they call a "documentary play."

"In this moment when we are being tested as a country, we would do well to listen to these health care workers and to look at them as a model of what it really means to take care of each other," she said.

Related: 'SuperYou' musical moves to drive-in after Off-Broadway COVID shutdown

Sandy Kenyon has more on one musical moving to the drive-in after it was shut down off-Broadway.

Erik recruited his co-star from the ABC-TV series "For Life" to play one of the roles, a medical worker from Trinidad.

Nicholas Pinnock spoke to us from London via Zoom, and he used the same technology to act in "The Line."

"This is a whole new medium," he said. "This wasn't television, and it wasn't theater. It was kind of a hybrid medium that hadn't been done before."

Actors in three different time zones came together to appear in the play.

Related: Tribeca Drive-In replaces Tribeca Film Festival amid coronavirus pandemic

Entertainment reporter Sandy Kenyon has more on the Tribeca Drive-In.

I asked Pinnock if this experience left him with more respect for these front line workers.

"Oh, without a doubt, yeah, absolutely, absolutely," he said. "I end up feeling helpless and insignificant with what I do, when you have these people who are saving lives."

You can watch "The Line" for free on YouTube until August 4.


Suddenly, the brutal death of George Floyd while in the custody of police officers in Minneapolis filled the streets of a nation with rage and sorrow. New York was no different. Protesters put the fear of the virus aside and took to the streets by the thousands. Abandoning the safety and comfort of social distance, to demand social change.


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