JRAY Response to Covid-19

 

Greetings Directors and Administrators,

 

We hope you are all doing well in these challenging and difficult times.  The JRAY team has been closely monitoring the Covid-19 situation, reaching out to our various partners, and just trying our very best to remain hopeful while at the same time making the smartest and safest decisions regarding our participating schools and their students.  After meeting with the Board of Directors, we have made some final decisions regarding this year.

 

Here follows a brief summary of the results of that meeting with some very specific action-steps for all schools moving forward:

 

  • We have made the difficult but expected decision to cancel our May 23 Award Show this year.  We shall not be postponing it or attempt any kind of “virtual” replacement.  At this time we have plans to host our 13th Annual Awards show in May of 2021.  

 

  • For all schools whom JRAY has adjudicated before this crisis led to suspension of productions, we are pleased to announce that in the coming weeks we will be choosing a very select list of nominees in all of our award categories.  We will, however, not be picking individual category winners nor awarding trophies.  We came to this decision because we felt an obligation to honor the students and production teams whom we did see this year–they should be acknowledged and rewarded for the work they have done.  At the same time, we wanted to be mindful of those who, through no fault of their own, were unable to participate.  Thus, out of respect for those schools whom we did not adjudicate, and out of a very thoroughly-deliberated appeal to fairness, we came to this decision.  

 

  • Each individual who is selected as a nominee shall receive a certificate acknowledging their accomplishment for outstanding work in the category for which they have been chosen.  We will send those directly to directors.  This list of nominees shall be made public on May 23, 2020.  We will post the nominees on our website and through our Facebook pages, and we will also send out an email to each school director and/or department administrator.

 

  • For those schools whom we did not adjudicate, good news!  We will accept a video recording of your Fall or Winter productions (if you had one), and adjudicate your production as well.  In a few cases, we literally “just missed” your opening before everything was shut down. If you have a decent recording, you can submit that as well.  We know it’s not quite the same, but any video submission will put your production in the running for nominations.  We request that you send us an online link to your video (we are still observing social-distancing guidelines) because this will make it easier for our judges to access for viewing.  If you are interested in this option, contact Program Director Kyle Duncan, and he will supply you with further instructions and options for requesting TalkBack notes for your productions.  The deadline to send us your video link is May 11.

 

  • Any school that was not adjudicated and chooses not to submit a video will be automatically enrolled in next year’s program–you will be issued a full credit for the 2021 participation fee.

 

  • We are also very pleased to announce that we will be selecting two BAA Award Recipients from those productions we have adjudicated.  The Broadway Artists Alliance (BAA) remains hopeful that they will be able to hold their Summer Sessions as scheduled.  However, they are also very much aware that things may not have cleared up by then.  They will therefore grant to our BAA recipients a deferment to a Winter Workshop or wait until next Summer, at which time they would honor the award.  It’s just too early to know, but they have chosen to remain positive and hopeful and have expressed a deep desire that JRAY send our winners their way. Ultimately, traveling to NYC will be a decision for award recipients, their families, and the JRAY leadership to make together.  Safety, of course, comes first!  At the very least, recipients will be officially recognized whether they are able to participate in the BAA workshops or not.  Additionally, we know that it is a tradition for BAA Award recipients to host the following season’s JRAY Award show, but in this instance, we cannot promise that this opportunity will be available.  We will work something out, and we can guarantee that they will have some role as presenters or hosts and that their work for this past season will be honored in some way.

 

  • Finally, it is with extreme gratification that we are extending 2019-2020 Scholarship opportunities to all participating schools regardless of whether or not we were able to adjudicate your production.  This year’s scholarships include several $1,000 JRAY scholarships as well as one BAA scholarship.  Attached you will find our updated scholarship form.  Give your seniors some hope!  Fill them out and include your letter of recommendation.  E-mail directly to Marilyn Gianetti, whose email is on the form.  Deadlines to apply have been extended to May 18th.  The updated form has also been posted on our web site.  Contact Kyle or Marilyn if you have questions!

 

In closing, JRAY would like to send out a message of strength and support to all students, particularly to Seniors.  We know you are disappointed, but do not despair.  Our entire team is keeping you, your families, and your communities in our thoughts.  We hope our efforts will offer you at least some reason to cheer when so much has been taken away.

 

On a personal note, we want to extend our appreciation to all participating directors.  We thank you for your patience and understanding.  Please let us know if there is any other way that we may be able to help you in these trying times.  Do not hesitate to contact us with your questions or concerns. Together we can make it though this.

 

Vibrantly yours,

 

Kyle G. Duncan

JRAY Program Director & Executive Producer