Norwegian Will Become Employer of Choice for Theater Performers

Rock of Ages

The long pause in theater operation in the West End and on Broadway may lead to a shift of the theater hotspots to cruise ships, said Senior Vice President for Entertainment and Cruise Programs at Norwegian Cruise Line, Richard Ambrose.

“The labor market for performers and those in the entertainment – musicians, technicians – are clamoring for work. They’ve been unemployed for almost over a year now. And there’s really no end in sight right now. Broadway is looking at late summer of 2021, the West End is trying to open… And it just doesn’t happen,” Ambrose said.

“The cruise industry, and especially the Norwegian Cruise Line, is going to be the employer of choice, which is great,” he added.  

According to Ambrose, speaking recently at a virtual press conference, Norwegian has around 2,300 to 2,600 people working in the entertainment department across its 17-ship fleet, which makes the cruise line “the world’s largest regional theater.” 

“Internally, we call ourselves the world’s largest regional theater. And it really is true. Because if you look at us and what we’re doing from the Broadway, West End production series, the shows that we get prior to Broadway… If you look at Six, the musical – we had two productions on our ships before even touched Broadway, which is a huge coup. Not only for Norwegian Cruise Line, but for the industry,” he said.

“It really means that the entertainment industry is taking us seriously, but they also really respect what Norwegian Cruise Line is doing.”

Norwegian Cruise Line is working on compiling its health and safety regulations to ensure that its return to cruising is safe, Ambrose said. One thing he revealed about its theater operations when cruising resumes is that theater guests will be sat in a “checkerboard” way.

“We only have to be a meter apart right now, so it’s going to be every other seat. And we also have to have space before and after a guest. You won’t have somebody sitting in front of you, you won’t have somebody sitting behind you. It’s like a big checkerboard if you consider it that way,” he said, adding that social distancing will also be observed between the cast and the guests.

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