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How New York City's Return to Normalcy Hinges on the Return of Broadway

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Broadway accounts for more tickets sold each year than for all of the metropolitan area’s professional sports teams.

How New York City's Return to Normalcy Hinges on the Return of Broadway

The Washington Post has reported on the ways in which the life and economy of New York City hinges upon bringing Broadway back, and how Broadway cannot be brought back until New York City reaches a point of economic and social normalcy in the midst of a global pandemic.

Read the full story HERE.

Broadway shows have been shut down since March 2020, and are currently operating under the plan to re-open in 2021, all the while attempting to figure out the safest way to bring back live theater and large crowds. At the time of the Broadway shutdown in March, 31 productions were running, including 8 new shows in previews. Additionally, 8 productions were in rehearsals preparing to open in the spring.

Of the shows who have announced their plans to return in 2021, The Music Man, starring Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster is, at this moment in time, set to begin previews on Wednesday, April 7, 2021, with opening night scheduled for Thursday, May 20 at the Winter Garden Theatre (1634 Broadway). Rehearsals (which were to have begun June 29), will now commence on Monday, February 8.

Plaza Suite starring Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker will now play Friday, March 19, 2021 through Sunday, July 18, 2021 at Hudson Theatre with an official opening night to be announced.

Sing Street recently announced that performances will now begin between Winter 2021 and 2022 at a Shubert theater to be announced.

In the midst of the uncertainty about the return of Broadway, and on the heels of the massive success of Hamilton on Disney+, Diana: A True Musical Story, which was in previews when Broadway shut down, will premiere on Netflix, ahead of a Broadway opening. Diana now set to open on Broadway on Tuesday, May 25, 2021.

Scott Rudin stated the difficulties in attempting to figure out how to safely and profitably bring theater back to life:

"How many shows come back and at what level of attendance?... What will labor do? What will [theater] owners do? What does working from home mean for the nightlife of New York? What happens to hotels, restaurants, tourism? How many people leave the city and don't come back?"

Broadway accounts for more tickets sold each year than for all of the metropolitan area's professional sports teams, bringing $13 billion annually into the city economy.

People's jobs are continuing to be put on hold, with many in the arts sector moving out of New York City entirely.

Actor and choreographer Warren Adams, who co-created the Black Theatre Coalition with T. Oliver Reid stated:

"In my neighborhood, I'm watching three people move away a day."

Reid added: "I have friends, couples, who are both in the business - people with Tony nominations - their work stopped and they have no money coming in. How are we looking at this as a culture, as an industry?"

The Broadway League has set up 42 task forces to address the crisis. League president Charlotte St. Martin stated: "There are 20 labor task forces, one for each union..."We have developed protocols for over 200 actions...everything down to the minutest protocols, for example, for how to protect wig dressers. And we are talking to the city. They may very well close down some of the side streets [of Times Square] to give us easier theater ingress and egress."

"From our perspective, the top of the list is safety," said Kate Shindle, president of Actors' Equity Association.

Theaters across the country are currently working on producing socially distanced shows, figuring out the safest and best practices.

Jeffrey Seller, lead producer of Hamilton shared his optimism about the return of theater, stating, "There will be an explosion of creativity when we return... I believe in my heart and in my soul that when we feel confident, we're all going to be back together. We need it. We yearn for it."

Check out the full story HERE.


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