Outside a dressing room one recent afternoon in the Walter Kerr Theatre, a line of people waited to roll up their sleeves. Inside was a man with latex gloves, a big smile and a needle filled with this year's flu vaccine. “Hi, come on in,” says Dr. Barry Kohn, a familiar and beloved figure in the theater community. His unofficial nickname: “The best jab on Broadway.”
Outliers: Just call him Doc Broadway
For the past 16 years, Kohn, 66, has been lugging around a duffel bag of syringes and administering free flu shots to actors and crew members at Broadway theaters, off-Broadway houses and theater offices. This year, he told the Associated Press, he'll give 5,000 shots.
“Although the family doctor no longer makes a house call, Dr. Barry makes a stage-door call,” says producer Thomas Schumacher, president of Disney Theatrical Productions and a fan of the physician. “I can call him and say, 'My leading lady has the sniffles,' 'My leading man has this' or 'I have an ensemble member with that,' and he'll turn up at the theater.”
The free shots are sponsored by the union Actors' Equity and funded by BroadwayCares/Equity Fights AIDS, which gives Kohnan annual grant to pay for the vaccine. He gets paid nothing.
Over the years, Kohn has jabbed people in some odd locations, from the lobby of the Neil Simon Theatre to the bathroom of Sardi's restaurant. He's also there to give B-12 shots, prescribe Tamiflu if the flu vaccines don't work or help theater folks with allergies.
“He's the real deal,” Schumacher says.
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