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ABOUT the book

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—and beyond!  


When The Lights Are Bright Again immortalizes the stories, struggles, and successes of an industry that was first to be shut down and one of the last to return.


Andrew Norlen weaves 200+ letters from Broadway theater veterans, devout theater goers, teenage dreamers aching for their day in the spotlight, long-time ushers, designers, creatives and countless other arts workers in tandem 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. 


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 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, angry and hopeless soul inside this book; hope. 


There is light in all of us -- there always has been!



This book will be dedicated in loving memory of Nick Cordero.  






"The Actors Fund fosters stability and resiliency,
and provides a safety net for performing arts
and entertainment professionals over their lifespan."

#WhenTheLightsAreBrightAgain is thrilled to partner with this incredible organization! This historical book we've created together will not only represent the resilience of the theatre community, but a portion of the profits made from the sales of this book will directly benefit The Actors Fund, using our voices of vulnerability to create a lasting piece of art that will tell our story forever, while putting money directly back into the industry, through our partnership with The Actors Fund. 

"Employment in any division of the performing arts and entertainment industry is unpredictable. Work is erratic, security is fleeting and health insurance is often just a dream. For all of these reasons and many more, The Actors Fund is an indispensable and deeply significant part of the entire entertainment community."

-The Actors Fund



Connect here with

creators Andrew Norlen

& Matthew Murphy








ANDREW NORLEN (Creator), 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




MATTHEW MURPHY (Photographer) 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, andJagged Little Pill: You Live, You Learn. He travels worldwide photographing productions and lives in New York with his husband and their two dogs. 




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