When the Lights Are Bright Again
Letters and images of loss, hope, and resilience from the theater community
by Andrew Norlen - Photographs by Matthew Murphy
Pub Date 01 Nov 2021 | Archive Date 12 Nov 2021
Rowman & Littlefield, Applause Books
It began as an artist’s desperate desire to express himself inside a worldwide pandemic, but in one year’s time it has grown into a theater industry and country-wide outlet for healing, grief, justice, and hope in the theater community.
The Covid-19 pandemic revealed what a world without live performance looks and feels like. This book captures a small fraction of the powerful and transcendent internal heartbeat that never went away within the theater community. When the Lights Are Bright Again immortalizes the stories, struggles, and successes of an industry that was the first to be shut down and one of the last to return.
Andrew Norlen weaves more than 200 letters from Broadway theater veterans, devout theatergoers, teenage dreamers aching for their day in the spotlight, long-time ushers, designers, creatives, and countless other arts workers with a brand-new, breathtaking photo series by Broadway photographer Matthew Murphy.
Not only has the creation of this book allowed the theater community to grieve and express themselves in a new way, but for every copy purchased, a portion of the profits will directly benefit The Actors Fund. This book will continue to help support arts workers to thrive and receive financial stability for decades to come with every copy sold.
When The Lights Are Bright Again is a love letter to the arts community and every theatergoer, but, above all else, it is a meditation on the human experience. There is something for every broken, tired, and angry soul inside this book: hope.
There is light in all of us—there always has been!
Andrew Norlen, originally from Troutdale, Oregon, is a New York City-based artist. With a BFA from The Boston Conservatory of Music, Norlen was most recently in the closing tour company of Broadway's Kinky Boots. His podcast, Everyday Heroes, is a space where he elevates female identifying voices. Norlen is the creator of When the Lights Are Bright Again and writer of Defining Brave, his memoir. Follow his journey @Anorlen and AndrewNorlen.com.
Matthew Murphy is a New York City-based photographer specializing in theater, dance, and portrait photography. His work is featured in the books Hamilton: The Revolution, Come From Away: Welcome to the Rock, Dear Evan Hansen: Through the Window, and Jagged Little Pill: You Live, You Learn. He travels worldwide photographing productions and lives in New York with his husband and their two dogs.