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Performing artists taking their talents online as pandemic shutters venues

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Posted at 1:43 PM, Dec 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-29 13:46:19-05

Part of the new $900 billion stimulus package will be given to the performing arts. The Save Our Stages Act will receive $15 billion. That money will go to funding for live venues, independent movie theaters, and Broadway theaters.

For the last 9 months, though, many performers have been without a job.

With live theaters empty and theme parks laying off employees, Todd Zimmerman knew he would have to come up with something creative to keep his theater business alive through the pandemic.

"We sat our employees down and said, listen, we want to take our performance virtual," said Zimmerman.

He and his wife are the founders of Odd-o-Ts' Entertainment, a performance-based company in Central Florida.

"When the pandemic started, we were hit pretty hard as an industry and live performances effectively dried up. So, this was a program we put together with some of our employees to allow them to continue to do what they love," said Zimmerman.

And that program, The Secret Library, is an interactive escape room-style game that you can play with family and friends all around the world on your computer. The show starts with an introduction into the game by the characters who guide you through the experience.

The performers come from a variety of backgrounds. They’re musicians, improv performers, theme park characters, Shakespearian trained actors. And they each have a certain role in the game.

"There are multiple rooms in our virtual mansion that you get to explore with your friends, your family, other participants. In those rooms, you’re going to meet those characters. It’s where some of the clue are laid out," said Zimmerman.

There are about 30 performers within The Secret Library project. That’s 30 people who were working on Broadway, in theme parks, on cruise ships, who now have a place to perform.

"We live for this. We live for the chance to perform. It’s not just a paycheck. It really is something that fills our soul, and we hope we’re doing the same for you," said Zimmerman.

And the mystery of The Secret Library? That’s something you’ll just have to find out for yourself. You can find show times and tickets here: The Secret Library.