Read about NYC's best theatre and dance productions and watch video interviews with innovative artists
Although it's been rumored for a while and isn't a surprise, today The Broadway League officially announced that all Broadway shows are suspended through Sunday, January 3, 2021 due to the pandemic. Although arts and entertainment had long been scheduled to reopen in phase four of New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's plan, it seems NYC will reach that milestone long before theatres can safely start up due to continued restrictions on large gatherings. In other words, no one knows when Broadway will reopen, and the January 3, 2021 date is about keeping the industry afloat in terms of finances and hope. The logistics of ensuring a thousand-plus people are safe in enclosed spaces are complicated, and artists and audiences alike have many concerns. But Charlotte St. Martin, the president of the Broadway League, promises the industry is working on a comeback. "Our membership is working closely with the theatrical unions and in concert with key experts and some of the greatest minds inside and outside of the industry to explore protocols for all aspects of reopening. We are focused on identifying and implementing necessary measures that will enable us to resume performances safely for Broadway audiences and employees."
Broadway shut down on March 12 with an original reopening date of April 13. But as the COVID-19 crisis intensified, it became clear that was out of the question, thus the suspension date has been moved multiple times. Many Broadway shows scheduled to open in 2020 have pushed their productions to spring 2021, including the revival of The Music Man starring Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster, Flying Over Sunset at Lincoln Center Theater and the revival of Plaza Suite with real-life couple Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker.
Happily, individual theatre artists and smaller companies are finding innovative ways of presenting live in-person theatre in New York during this challenging time, including performance art in a storefront window, an outdoor walk-through experience and tearing out seats in tiny venues to ensure physical distancing. The theatres beyond Broadway will certainly be back before the big ones.
Top image: TDF's Times Square TKTS Booth.