The State of Broadway: April 2021

Check out the latest on how NYC is recovering, when Broadway will be back, and more!

By: Apr. 03, 2021
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It's no secret that the state of the world has had a major impact on the theatre industry over the past year. Broadway, which usually brings in $14 billion to New York City's yearly revenue, has been shuttered since last March, leaving the futures of many artists and shows in limbo. While many of those productions move forward with plans to reopen when Broadway officially returns, some have already announced that they will not open again.

But hope is on the horizon! With the acceleration of vaccine distribution and a new timetable to begin reopening NYC, some of the first re-openings have recently been announced.

We've rounded up all of the latest news on the current state of Broadway for April 2021:

When will Broadway be back?

The short answer- we don't know yet. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is keen on getting the theatre district up and running again as he recently revealed that reopening in fall 2021 is still the goal. In an interview with The Points Guy, Broadway League President Charlotte St. Martin confirmed that intended timeline. She reveals that some shows are "tentatively holding September dates for reopening or opening," with a several others planning on October and November.

"If some miracle happened - the [COVID-19] incidence rate went down dramatically, the vaccination rate went up dramatically - [Broadway's return] could be sooner," she added. "But as of right now, we're looking at September."Dr. Anthony S. Fauci also confirmed his optimism for fall in a webinar hosted by the National Endowment for the Arts. "If enough people get vaccinated and if we are careful in reopening and resuming activities, based on current projections, I believe we likely could see a return to more fully reopened movie and Broadway theatres sometime in the fall. This is no guarantee. And at least initially, we may still need to wear masks."

Will the theatre industry be vaccinated and ready in time?

Earlier this week, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo opened up vaccine eligibility to New York residents age 30+. Starting April 6 (8am), residents 16+ will also be eligible.

Mayor De Blasio also plans to make the vaccine more accessible to the theatre industry. In the coming weeks there are plans for a dedicated vaccination site on Broadway for the theater industry, a mobile unit for off-Broadway, pop-up COVID testing sites by theatres, and plans underway to manage crowds before and after shows.

On April 7, Actors' Equity Association will host a webinar for workers to learn more about the COVID-19 vaccines in partnership with the Adult Vaccine Access Coalition (AVAC). "The broad availability of COVID vaccines is already impacting the landscape of reopening the American theatre industry. And as we know, the recovery of live performance will reinvigorate local and state economies across the country," said Kate Shindle, AEA president. "That said, we know that our members have reasonable, thoughtful questions about the process and the science. So we are grateful to AVAC for connecting us with world-class experts in the field who can help us understand the development, safety and efficacy of the vaccines, as well as discuss initial vaccination experiences and the work being done to ensure equitable distribution."

How will audiences prove their vaccine status when Broadway returns?

One option being considered for proving vaccination status upon Broadway's return is the Excelsior Pass, a free, voluntary platform developed in partnership with IBM, which utilizes proven, secure technology to confirm an individual's recent negative PCR or antigen test result or proof of vaccination to help fast-track the reopening of businesses and event venues in accordance with New York State Department of Health guidelines. Similar to a mobile airline boarding pass, individuals will be able to either print out their pass or store it on their smartphones using the Excelsior Pass Wallet app. Each Pass will have a secure QR code, which participating businesses and venues can scan using a companion app to verify proof of COVID-19 negative test results or proof of vaccination. An individual's data is kept secure and confidential at all times.

The State of Broadway: April 2021

Are other shows in NYC opening soon?

Yes, but slowly. NYC entertainment venues are currently allowed to open at 33% capacity and you can now read all about Actors Equity's current guidelines for reopening here.

Blindness, the acclaimed Donmar Warehouse production of Nobel Prize-winner José Saramago's dystopian novel written by Tony Award winner Simon Stephens and directed by Walter Meierjohann, just began performances at the Daryl Roth Theatre.

Blindless is also the first in-person New York show to utilize BroadwayWorld's Stage Mag. Learn more and read their Mag here.

In July, The Public Theater will return to Central Park's Delacorte Theatre this summer for Free Shakespeare in the Park. MERRY WIVES, a fresh and joyous adaptation, by Jocelyn Bioh, of Shakespeare's MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR will be directed by Associate Artistic Director and Resident Director Saheem Ali. Set in South Harlem amidst a vibrant and eclectic community of West African immigrants, MERRY WIVES will be a celebration of Black joy, laughter, and vitality. A New York story about the tricks of the heart, performed in the heart of the City.

Check out a full list of returning productions.

What is the latest on the Tony Awards?

Voting is now complete for the much-delayed Tony Awards (originally set to take place last June). Around 784 voters cast their votes for the season that began in April 2019 and ended, prematurely, in February 2020. Broadway theaters had been shut down mid-March due to the pandemic, but Tony administrators decided that only shows which opened by Feb. 19 would be eligible for awards because not enough voters had seen the shows that opened later.

The Broadway League and the American Theater Wing revealed that the delayed Tony Awards ceremony will be scheduled in coordination with the reopening of Broadway.

Which Broadway shows are not coming back?

Mean Girls and Frozen have both announced that they will not return when Broadway reopens. The same goes for Hangmen and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf- both of which never officially opened. A Soldier's Play, Beetlejuice and The Inheritance have also played their final performances, as all three had previously announced closing dates for late Spring 2020.

Which Broadway shows are expected to return?

Last week, Company revealed that it will indeed be returning to Broadway. The show was previously set to open on Broadway on March 22, 2020 at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre. An official resume date for Broadway shows has yet to be announced.

The State of Broadway: April 2021
Scene from Company. Photo Credit: Brinkhoff/Moegenburg

Diana will soon get a royal welcome- on Broadway and Netflix. The musical was filmed in its home at the Longacre Theatre and will officially air on Netflix on October 1. The show will then open on Broadway on December 16, 2021, with previews beginning on December 1.

Thoughts of a Colored Man, the new play by Keenan Scott II, directed by Steve H. Broadnax III, will play Broadway's Golden Theatre. Casting, first preview, opening night, and ticket information for Thoughts of a Colored Man will be announced in the coming weeks.

It was also announced that Samuel L. Jackson, Danielle Brooks, and John David Washington will star in a Broadway revival of August Wilson's Pulitzer Prize-winning play The Piano Lesson in 2022. The production will be directed by LaTanya Richard Jackson. A theatre and timeline have not yet been announced.

Roundabout Theatre Company still plans to open Jeanine Tesori and Tony Kushner's Caroline, Or Change at Studio 54, As well as Alice Childress's Trouble in the Mind, directed by Charles Randolph-Wright, at the American Airlines Theatre. Coming to Broadway in Spring 2022 will be 1776, directed by Jeffrey L. Page and Diane Paulus. Plans for Noah Haidle's Birthday Candles, starring Debra Messing, are still to be determined.

In the winter of 2022, Manhattan Theatre Club will present the Broadway premiere of Skeleton Crew, written by Tony Award nominee Dominique Morisseau and directed by Tony Award winner Ruben Santiago-Hudson at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre. MTC's planned 2021-2022 season also includes the Broadway premiere of Lackawanna Blues, written, performed, and directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson with original music by Bill Sims Jr. in Fall 2021 and the Broadway premiere of the Pulitzer Prize-winning How I Learned to Drive, written by Paula Vogel and directed by Mark Brokaw in Spring 2022 at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre.

Lincoln Center Theater has announced that the new musical Flying Over Sunset will open at the Vivian Beaumont Theater in the fall of 2021.

David Byrne's American Utopia plans to return to Broadway on September 17, 2021.

Tracy Letts' The Minutes has been rescheduled to open on March 15, 2022.

As of June 2020, The Lehman Trilogy was still hoping to open on Broadway, but in a different theatre.

As of August 2020, Sing Street will now begin performances between Winter 2021 and 2022 at a Shubert theater to be announced.

As of October 2020, the premiere of MJ The Musical has been postponed until Fall 2021.

The Music Man has announced that previews will begin December 20, 2021 and will open on February 10, 2022.

Tickets are on sale for Jagged Little Pill starting June 1, 2021.

Tickets are on sale for Mrs. Doubtfire starting June 1, 2021.

Many shows are expected to return, but have not yet made official announcements, including: Ain't Too Proud, Aladdin, The Book of Mormon, Chicago, Come From Away, Dear Evan Hansen, Girl from the North Country, Hadestown, Hamilton, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, The Lion King, Moulin Rouge!, The Phantom of the Opera, Plaza Suite, Six, Take Me Out, Tina, To Kill a Mockingbird, West Side Story, and Wicked.

Which Broadway theatres are vacant?

August Wilson Theatre (former home of Mean Girls)
Barrymore Theatre (former home of The Inheritance)
Booth Theatre (former home of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?)
Cort Theatre (planned renovations)
Lyceum Theatre (former home of Sing Street)
Nederlander Theatre (former home of The Lehman Trilogy)
Palace Theatre (planned renovations)
St. James Theatre (former home of Frozen)