New York City, known for its vibrant live entertainment scene, has taken a proactive step to address the challenges faced by the industry. Mayor Eric Adams recently convened the inaugural meeting of the Live Performance Industry Council, which brings together leaders from various sectors to develop measures that support and drive growth within the city’s creative economy.
The council, co-chaired by Ken Sunshine, founder of Sunshine Sachs, and Coco Killingsworth, vice president of social impact at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, aims to ensure the city remains a global creative capital. By collaborating with representatives from the theater, music, and dance industries, as well as nonprofit organizations, unions, and city government, the council hopes to overcome obstacles and pave the way for the industry to thrive post-pandemic.
Killingsworth expressed the significance of this moment, describing the live performing arts sector as the “live beating heart” of New York City. She believes that the industry is not only the reason people come to the city, but also why they choose to stay. The council will explore solutions to the challenges faced by the industry and foster innovation as New York enters a new chapter.
The meeting was attended by various city departments, including the newly appointed commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, Pat Swinney Kaufman, as well as leaders from housing, economic development, workforce, and cultural affairs. Together, these stakeholders will work towards shaping a supportive environment for live performances.
The council consists of 52 members, representing renowned venues like The Public Theater, The Apollo, Metropolitan Opera, and Carnegie Hall. Production companies such as Disney Theatrical, the Nederlander Organization, and the Shubert Organization are also included. Sports and entertainment complexes like Citi Field, the New York Yankees, Madison Square Garden Entertainment, Barclay Center, and Lincoln Center are part of the council as well, alongside guilds, unions, trade associations, alliances, funds, and nonprofits.
This initiative comes four years after a cultural and economic impact study commissioned by the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment. The study revealed that nearly 750 venues and organizations generate $1.3 billion in economic output, provide over 8,400 full-time jobs, and contribute $512 million in wages. These numbers highlight the immense importance of the live entertainment industry to the city’s economy.
The Live Performance Industry Council joins a host of other councils established to address the needs of the entertainment community in New York City. These include councils for TV, film, and digital games, as well as partnerships and organizations supporting Broadway and women in the media, music, and theater.
With the launch of this council, New York City reaffirms its commitment to the live entertainment industry. By bringing together diverse leaders and stakeholders, the city aims to navigate the challenges faced by the industry and create an environment conducive to its growth and success. As the industry continues to recover from the impact of the pandemic, this council will play a crucial role in shaping the future of live performances in the city that never sleeps.