There’s some law and order in Eva Noblezada’s future…
The half-Mexican American actress and Broadway star will appear on next week’s episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.
The Tony Award-nominated Hadestown actor is among several Broadway stars who will appear on the long-running series.
“We are trying to hire every Broadway actor we can while we and they wait for the curtains to rise again,” says showrunner Warren Leight to Deadline.com.
“We know how hard the community has been hit here. The goal is to get as many jobs to as many theater actors as we possibly can.”
The National Endowment for the Arts recently released figures indicating that while the overall unemployment rate has averaged 8.5 percent, the average among actors was 52 percent. (The figures do not distinguish between Broadway, film and TV performers.)
The NBC New York-based Law & Order franchise has long been known as a steady source of employment for the city’s theater performers – rare is the stage actor whose Playbill credits don’t include at least one of the L&O series – but the coronavirus pandemic has pushed Leight’s team to ramp up even those efforts for the current Season 22.
Stage actors already cast in parts for this season include the Tony-winning Adriane Lenox, Elizabeth Marvel, Jane Bruce, Jelani Alladin, Michael Mastro and Betsy Aidem.
Even Raúl Esparza, a four-time Tony nominee known to the wider television audience for his six-season SVU run as Assistant D.A. Rafael Barba, is making a temporary franchise comeback to reprise the role for this week’s episode “Sightless in a Savage Land.”
Leight says the Broadway-filled roles range in scope from one-day parts to more substantial turns, but have an important practical impact for the actors, adding to the work day minimums required for Actors Equity-Broadway League health insurance.
The casting offers a significant logistical benefit to the show as well: casting New York actors is the more practical and efficient option during the COVID-19 pandemic, when the prospect of long-distance flights from Hollywood and required quarantine protocols can complicate using Los Angeles-based actors.
“In the past we’ve done what you could call Hollywood stunt casting,” Leight says, “but a lot of those players aren’t going to be willing to get on a plane and quarantine right now. We realized early on that we’ll have to cast locally much more.”
The Broadway shutdown also allows the show to get around the planning issues that Broadway’s usual performance schedule demands: Coordinating a shoot around the identical eight-performance weeks of working stage actors is daunting. There’s only so much guest-starring that can be crammed into a dark Broadway Monday.