The COVID-19 crisis has crushed Orlando's tourism-driven economy, and the contracted actors and freelance entertainers who enliven our famous theme parks have been especially hard hit. Last weekend, area performers were joined by nationally-known names for an online telethon, and starting Tuesday, out-of-work artists can apply for a cash gift from the funds they raised.
Held on Saturday, April 4, the Greater Orlando Social Distance Showcase was produced by Michael Wanzie, Rich Charron, and Kenny Howard, with Watermark Inc. administering the donations until a 501c3 charity can be officially formed.
The YouTube-based broadcast, which featured Orlando favorites (including Tod Kimbro, Janine Klein, Chase Pajittles and VarieTease) along with a special message from Broadway's Seth Rudetsky, can still be viewed online
until 8 p.m. on Wednesday, April 8.
In total, the event raised over $7,800 with the final total still trickling in. Members in any capacity of the Orlando area performing arts community who have a legitimate immediate need for financial assistance who apply to the fund by 8 p.m. on April 8 may receive a financial gift on or before Saturday, April 11, with further funds being dispersed via Venmo in cyclical batches.
The online application does not require that you demonstrate hardship, but applicants do need to verify that they derives their income from the performing arts in Osceola, Seminole or Orange counties, Florida.
According to an email from Wanzie, "Our goal is to get some cash into the hands of people who desperately need it as soon as humanly possible without the person in need having to go through a lengthy or intrusive application or investigatory process."
Find the application for the Central Florida Performing Artist Relief Fund
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