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The Apollo, Park Avenue Armory, St. Ann's Warehouse and other theatres are reopening at reduced capacity
On Friday, April 2, multiple NYC performance venues with flexible seating will be able to reopen their doors—albeit at reduced capacity. Lauded and, more importantly, loftlike venues such as The Apollo in Harlem, the Park Avenue Armory, Brooklyn's St. Ann's Warehouse, The Shed, Harlem Stage, La MaMa and the National Black Theatre all received the okay from New York State to host audiences up to 33% of usual capacity, with a maximum of 100 individuals indoors and 200 outdoors. (That capacity can be upped to 150 indoors and 500 outdoors if all attendees are able to be tested.) It's not yet clear whether additional Off and Off-Off Broadway venues with flexible seating can reopen under these guidelines. The Kraine in the East Village, for example, tore out most of its seats late last year and is just waiting for the official go-ahead.
In addition, select Broadway theatres will welcome audiences for the first time since March 12, 2020 with a series of special NY PopsUp performances. (Sorry, no full-fledged Broadway shows just yet!) The safety protocols practiced at these events will serve as a pilot for how Broadway can return in full force, hopefully sometime later this year.
Social distancing and masks will be required, of course, along with other safety measures that were developed by NYPopsUp, an initiative to revive in-person performing arts in NY, in coordination with the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) and Empire State Development (ESD). Considering the arts and recreation sector has been New York's hardest hit industry during the pandemic, this is an exciting step forward for artists and audiences alike.
Stay tuned for info about what you can see at these venues as details are released!
Raven Snook is the Editor of TDF Stages. Follow her at @RavenSnook. Follow TDF at @TDFNYC.