We’re in this together…

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We're in this together...

Well, this situation is something completely new and unique: the lock down of all things that are beautiful and fun and important to those of us who live for the arts, entertainment, socializing.
As someone whose entire lifestyle is based on frequenting theatre, restaurants, events and nightlife, having a packed calendar suddenly wiped clean is unsettling and uncomfortable, to say the very least.

From this experience, I have so many lessons to learn and things to observe.

First, what is it like to have no control over your daily life? When a shutdown occurs, suddenly your plans are no longer yours. How do you navigate your day without a plan?

I am a very scheduled person. From my interviews for my radio show,  to my production day, to my teaching courses, to my press nights at the theatre, to my “voice of God” announcing jobs at events, to my live hosting, I have a calendar where boxes are completely filled, and every night and weekend is appointed. Add to my business calendar my four-times a week gym workouts and my visits to my mother in an assisted living facility every weekend.

Well, this weekend, the publishing company launch I was to appear at, the lecture I was slated to give, my weekly visit to my mother, and a shiva (!) were all canceled. Suddenly, I am left with absolutely no plans, and, for me, no purpose. I know that sounds dramatic, but I have been a tightly scheduled human being since I was 12, so all of a sudden, I feel like I am navigating completely unknown territory.

Perhaps this feeling resonates with you too.

You know people are comparing this experience to the aftermath of 9/11. The difference is that during that horrific time, although people were reticent to congregate in places that could be considered targets,  we, as a community, yearned to come together, and we did so because we needed to be together. Now, we are told that communities of people will be detrimental to our personal health, and that of the world, and are forced to isolate. Although this may help our physical health and well being, it surely defies what we require emotionally and spiritually- that is, the desire for us to bond together.

With the innate drive to come together, when we are warned to stay away,  I implore you to think about what this sequestration is doing to all the businesses, retail stores, restaurants and individual proprietors that rely on people. They are suffering and will continue to suffer during this pandemic. The economic ramifications for thousands and thousands of people will not be pretty, and the trickle down effect of this period in 2020 will be felt for a very long time.

So what can you do?  Support your favorite restaurant or mom and pop shop or service person in a different way. If you do not feel comfortable going out to an establishment or store, visiting your acupuncturist or hair cutter, help them weather the storm by purchasing gift certificates. Order meals in directly from your go-to restaurant. Think about creative ways to keep a friend who is a freelance publicist or actor or usher afloat. Despite the forced confinement imposed upon us by government, we are still a community and we have to continue to behave in that way.  After all, we are indeed, all in this together.

For more commentary on this unprecedented situation, listen to my radio show Saturday morning from 9 AM-10 AM on WNYM radio (AM970). I will be speaking about the shut-down of Broadway and theatre, and will have a conversation with healing practitioner Amy Hausman, of Co-Creative Healing Arts, about what we can do to bolster our immune systems.

“Bagels and Broadway with Valerie Smaldone” radio show and podcast.
All podcasts available here:


  • Five-time Billboard Award-winning media personality Valerie Smaldone is a theatre, food, lifestyle and entertainment enthusiast. She is a celebrity interviewer, accomplished voice-over artist and actress. Recent appearances on episodic tv include Law and Order, Criminal Intent, The Other Two (on HBO Max), Tommy, Manifest and Blue Bloods. She is an audiobook narrator and producer. A live event emcee, moderator, and "Voice of God" at events and award ceremonies, Valerie has joined The Story Plant Entertainment Company and is currently working on a film and Broadway play. Visit her website at www.valeriesmaldone.com

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