The State of Broadway: March 2021

Get the scoop on the Tony Awards, the first off-Broadway show returning, which shows won't be back, and more!

By: Mar. 10, 2021

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 March 2021:

How does live theatre fit into New York's re-opening plans?

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced last week the long-awaited return of live indoor performance across New York State will commence April 2, 2021 with the reopening of a significant number of Flexible Venues ("Flex Venues") as part of an ongoing systematic effort to help jumpstart New York's struggling live entertainment sector. New York event, arts and entertainment venues holding less than 10,000 people will be allowed to reopen at 33% capacity beginning April 2. Up to 100 people will be allowed indoors, and 200 people will be allowed outdoors.

In April, select Broadway theaters, beginning with the Music Box on 45th Street, will open their doors to audiences for the first time since March 12, 2020, with a series of special NY PopsUp programs, and will put in motion safety protocols that will eventually be employed for Broadway's return.

Following this news, the first off-Broadway show announced its return this spring. 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, will begin performances on Friday, April 2 at the Daryl Roth Theatre (101 East 15th Street at Union Square East) as one of the first performing arts events to open in New York City.

Cabaret venue The Green Room 42 also announced a return to programming. The lineup of shows for April includes Lillias White, Erika Henningsen, The Skivvies, Kenn Boisinger, Michael Longoria, and Boy Band Brunch.

What is NY PopsUp?

NY PopsUp is an expansive festival featuring hundreds of pop-up performances (many of which are free of charge and all open to the public) that will intersect with the daily lives of New Yorkers. This series of events, intended to revitalize the spirit and emotional well-being of New York citizens with the energy of live performance while jumpstarting New York's struggling live entertainment sector, is a private / public partnership overseen by producers Scott Rudin and Jane Rosenthal, in coordination with the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) and Empire State Development (ESD). Performers who have taken part already include Gavin Creel, Shoshana Bean, Patti Smith, Ayodele Casel, Amanda Castro, Anthony Morigerato, John Manzari, Anastasia Victory, Senfu and more.

How can you find out more about future performances? While the popup events are not announced in advance, you can follow @nypopsup on social media for all the latest!

The State of Broadway: March 2021
Photo Credit: Nina Westervelt

What about other entertainment venues in NYC?

Indoor family entertainment centers and places of amusement can open with a 25% capacity limit beginning Friday, March 26. Outdoor amusement parks can open with a 33% capacity limit beginning Friday, April 9. Large stadiums and arenas, including Madison Square Garden and Barclays Center, opened last month at 10% capacity. NYC movie theaters can now reopen at 25% capacity and a maximum of 50 people per screen.

What is the latest on the Tony Awards?

Voting is currently underway for the much-delayed Tony Awards (originally set to take place last June). Around 784 voters will be able to 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 recently 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?

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.

The State of Broadway: March 2021
Photo Credit: Emilio Madrid-Kuser

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, Company, Dear Evan Hansen, Diana, 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?

At the top of the month, The Shubert Organization began a major restoration and expansion project at the Cort Theatre. In addition to historic refurbishments to the interior and rehabilitation of the NYC historic landmark's façade, the venue will be getting a much-needed 35-foot-wide expansion on its western side. Unlike the historic main theatre, built in 1912 by architect Thomas Lamb, the new annex by Kostow Greenwood Architects will have a thoroughly modern design.

The State of Broadway: March 2021

Also currently 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?)
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)


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