Skip to main content Skip to footer site map



Thoughts on Theater 5 months into The Shutdown

Braniff Forever
Featured Actor
joined:6/27/15
Featured Actor
joined:
6/27/15

So what are you feeling about theater at this point and specifically Broadway?

For the last 5 years I have probably spent $2000 a year on tickets seeing on average 18-20 shows a year. I was even on Broadway two nights before the  shutdown seeing The Minutes (I loved it). But fast forward to now.

Now, I feel my love affair with theater and Broadway slipping. It’s like a relationship ending. Its part of my identity with my friends (especially with friends on FB), but now, now I dont know. Do I really want to go back to NYC and spend $2000 a year and all that time chasing the next show? Maybe, and then, maybe not.

About a month ago I started listening to the New Yorker Fiction Podcast and the New Yorker Writers on Writing Podcast and in a weird way, listening to the short stories read aloud , it kind of feels like a theatrical experience. They are short, to the point and some of them are amazing! Of course, I can listen from anywhere. It even prompted me to get a subscription to the New Yorker Magazine so I could visit their archives and read as many past stories as I want to. Will that be enough for me in the future when Broadway reopens? I dont know its hard to tell. But since Broadway may not open until March 2021, I dont know if Ive lost my steam to put forth the money and effort to get myself to NYC to see the next show and the next show and the next show?

Of course its too early to tell really, but what have you been doing in the meantime to satisfy yourself with storytelling? I love Broadway but do I love it enough to start going back? Plus so many negative stories are in the media about the violence in NYC now. Is it safe to go back? To walk in the streets? Im not really a scared person and have always felt comfortable walking in Manhattan.

Updated On: 8/26/20 at 10:40 PM
BLs68
Understudy
joined:7/29/18
Understudy
joined:
7/29/18
The virus itself would not stop me from seeing a Broadway show if Broadway reopened tomorrow. What IS stopping me is the reported rising crime rates. It is concerning and often I ask myself is going to NYC worth the risk?

I could be very wrong on this but I do not think the news media is properly reporting on the rising crime rates. I’m not from NYC so I’m relying on whatever the national news stations report on. And from what I’m seeing is that they are just reporting a very broad statement of “New York City has rising violent crime rates” and not stating where the crimes occur and in which of the five boroughs.

That said, I’ve been tracking the reported crime via NYC’s CompStat. I believe this is only reported crimes that are mapped in real-time so the map and stats are going to be somewhat inaccurate. Each dot is a reported crime: location, type of offense (robbery, homicide, etc), and offense date. Looking at some of these crimes, the offense date is January and February of this year, around the last times I was in NYC (2/1 and 2/8). A homicide occurred in Feb around Penn Station. What has changed then to now?

Going back to my question- my answer is I don’t know if it’s worth the risk. I think the only way to answer that question is to go and get a feel of the environment. Is violent crime rising, yes, supposedly. But there was already violent crime in and around the theatre district just a few months ago.

Sorry for the lengthy post- I work in the civilian side of law enforcement so this topic is something I’m focused on. I’m already very cautious and aware of my surroundings as I go to NYC solo at least once or twice a month. Well, prior to the virus that is.

To answer your part 2, I didn’t realize how much I spent on tickets. Train is a different story. When I got refunds I easily got $1600+ back. I know for future shows, I will not be spending what I did. I’ll probably stick with $79-$99 tickets and rear Mezz. Plus, my train costs almost $100 from outside Philly to NYC round trip. Costs alone- I will probably only go once every other month and only see show once instead of multiple times. I may look at touring shows. I can save on transportation (and it takes only 35min driving to Philly vs. 2.5hr train), but the show ticket is probably going to be about the same.
Braniff Forever
Featured Actor
joined:6/27/15
Featured Actor
joined:
6/27/15
Yes, I hear you when you talk about the rising violence. I think you might have to consider your news source. The New York Post is a conservative paper, so the sky is falling when it comes to crime. Homeless people wander the streets, people are shot and murdered at an alarming rate. Now on the other hand, my liberal FB who are connected with the theater industry, say, they are staying put, that NYC will get through this. I think it’s probably a blend of the two,

I did go to NYC in July and went jogging and it all seemed ok to me. I went jogging all the way from Grand Central to the Dakota and it was daylight and I was moving moving fast lol!

I definitely am more aware of what I spent in the theatre, now that I have the money to spend on other things. Do I really want to go back to NYC to spend money on theater? I believe I will, but I guess but who knows what will happen in NYC, the virus and the world in 7 months?
Theatrefanboy1
Broadway Star
joined:8/2/15
Broadway Star
joined:
8/2/15
I have been fully ready to return toNew York theatre up until a couple weeks ago. And now it’s on hold for me for a number of reasons probably in this order as well :

1) Crime (I have a number of friends from the city and they’ve warned me of all the rioting and violence. Many have moved out those that have stayed have said this is not the New York that they once knew or loved. It’s now a dirty, violent place reminiscent of what it was around 1990. )
2) Ticket Savings ( I too spend some around 2000 for theatre in a year. And it’s been nice to have that extra money in these times)
3) Normality (I could get heat for these next two but I’m just being honest. I don’t want to go see a show in a 25% theatre or wear a mask in a show or not have the freedom to stagedoor if I choose or use a washroom. What I loved so much about theatre was that community. And I would stay away from it until it’s back. From me it would become no different than seeing a movie. At a fraction of the price)
4) Politics. ( recently there have been a number of things that have been said and done by some performers or company’s that for me have been too political. Which I do believe for me is a turn off seeing that and I find it difficult to find them believable in their own roles. This for me I call the Meryl Streep effect. )
5) Uncertainty with shows ( while I would gladly go see phantom I want to know that it’s the same original. Or that shows like Six or Diana or Company are going to return. Right now everything is so unknown there’s a difficulty to develop any excitement on who or what is coming up. And really where some shows by now would be announcing plans for 2021-22 or even 23. There’s been really nothing “new” announced and it’s been more of the renouncements on shows but with so much uncertainty .
unclevictor
Chorus Member
joined:6/2/15
Chorus Member
joined:
6/2/15
Oh please.
The city is fine, it’s safe, and Broadway will eventually comeback.
And done!
iluvtheatertrash
Broadway Legend
joined:11/9/04
Broadway Legend
joined:
11/9/04
If you think the city is “fine” in month 5 of a global pandemic that has decimated our economy, you’re delusional.
"I know now that theatre saved my life." - Susan Stroman
unclevictor
Chorus Member
joined:6/2/15
Chorus Member
joined:
6/2/15

iluvtheatertrash said: "If you think the city is “fine” in month 5 of a global pandemic that has decimated our economy, you’re delusional."

No, you’re delusional. 

i think my eyes just rolled outta my head!

Artsylady10
Swing
joined:2/29/20
Swing
joined:
2/29/20
I also have to chime in to say “oh please” in response to expressed fears of rising crime. Please stop consuming only the news and making judgments solely based on that — news is written to create a story, which may not even be a true story. I’m a New Yorker - fled the city in late March, was consumed by news reports of New York’s death and was terrified of what awaited me upon my return. Returned in late June, and aside from folks wearing masks, a slower pace (which I’ve actually found to be delightful), and outdoor dining (which I also find delightful), I really don’t notice any difference (I live in midtown Manhattan, for context, but have visited probably the majority of Manhattan neighborhoods since I’ve returned). Many things may keep you away from the theater for awhile, but please do not let the overblown narrative of “rising crime” be one of them because it is simply NOT accurate to say that the city has devolved back to its 1970s/80s state! I’m a single female, extremely cautious of my surroundings, and I do not feel remotely unsafe here.
Pashacar
Leading Actor
joined:11/2/18
Leading Actor
joined:
11/2/18

I have been in the city throughout the pandemic, and the "rising crime" narrative has been skewed and overblown to play into suburbanites' racist fears.

As always, the vast, vast majority of incidents are taking place nowhere near the theatre district or where a tourist would visit (which is its own issue and discussion). And if you look at all serious crimes, the numbers are also still comparatively low by modern NY standards.

That said, these unfounded fears will certainly prevent people from coming in for a bit, for theater or whatever else.

SeanD2
Stand-by
joined:5/2/17
Stand-by
joined:
5/2/17

I understand where you're coming from. I don't find myself missing theater at all really (much like I don't miss going to the movie theater). That said, I think I will start missing it again once it actually comes back and I have that "fear of missing out" that kids are always talking about. 

Broadway61004
Broadway Star
joined:4/14/11
Broadway Star
joined:
4/14/11

Regarding crime, as someone living in NYC, I can assure you that regardless of what you may have heard, Times Square is absolutely nothing like it was in the early 1990s right now.  Yes, there have been an increased numbers of shootings this summer in all 5 boroughs.  Yes, there has been rioting like there has in every other major city.  No, it's not as safe as it was last year at this time.  But that doesn't mean it's unsafe or anything like the war zone that it resembled 30 years ago.  That being said, of course if it makes you uncomfortable you shouldn't come.  But it's really not that much less safe than it was last summer.

Broadway Joe Profile PhotoBroadway Joe Profile Photo
Broadway Joe
Broadway Legend
joined:6/15/10
Broadway Legend
joined:
6/15/10
I live here so I try to see everything that opens on Broadway so I'm saving a lot of money even though I usually see shows through a discount of some nature anyway. I usually go into most shows blind or only knowing a very small idea of what they are about, I find it easier to be more open minded by not heading into a show with any preconceived notion in my head already.

With that being said while I really do miss good theatre I really don't miss sitting through awful/shows I hated which ends up being a larger amount of shows than I would like it to be since I see so many. It definitely has me leaning towards maybe not just seeing everything in the future and perhaps reading reviews and opinions here first instead but my thoughts might change on that in the future anyway.

I'm personally not rushing right back into a theatre whenever they open so I'll probably be missing a lot of shows for awhile anyway.
LizzieCurry Profile PhotoLizzieCurry Profile Photo
LizzieCurry
Broadway Legend
joined:3/7/05
Broadway Legend
joined:
3/7/05
I live in Queens and have been a NYC resident for 9 years. I don't feel any less safe (other than possibly being a victim of a covid-related hate crime, as I'm Chinese American). What kind of media are you paranoids consuming?

I do feel more bored, but also grateful to be working from home full-time through this whole thing. I don't miss theatre as much as I thought I would, probably because about 7 years in I realized I was being either more picky or things weren't sticking out to me as special and must-see as often anymore. When I do miss theatre, it's usually somewhat misguided or specific nostalgia that might've bubbled up even pre-covid.

Yeah, I wish I'd seen Six when I could have and I wish Caroline, or Change had opened — but I've never been hit with pangs or pains or yearning for Broadway, which has surprised even me. It would be NICE to see live theatre, and I'm sure I'll see an outdoor performance first at some point, but I'm not going to be the first one back for anything indoors.
"This thread reads like a series of White House memos." — Mister Matt
kaykordeath
Stand-by
joined:4/14/17
Stand-by
joined:
4/14/17
You have to realize, all of these things are interconnected.

The rise in street homelessness and rise in crime are direct results of there being fewer people out on the streets. No longer are there millions of people coming and going to work and meetings and lunches. And hundreds of thousands of tourists coming and going from hotels to restaurants to shows to museums.

So there are simply fewer eyeballs out there making it easier/more comfortable (for lack of a better word) for this downturn to street life.

It's tragic, but temporary.

And I don't think the change back is going to be as quick as the flip over to the current situation.

Things closed and people just disappeared. Everyone stayed home. As it should have been.

As things slowly ramp back up and Broadway eventually comes back, it'll still take time for the hotels to fill and the restaurants to come up to capacity and the offices to be as lively and the tourists to return and so on.
Wick3 Profile PhotoWick3 Profile Photo
Wick3
Broadway Legend
joined:8/5/14
Broadway Legend
joined:
8/5/14
I live in midtown Manhattan and have been here throughout the pandemic. There have always been homeless/mentally ill/odd folks walking the streets of NYC but it may be easier to see them nowadays without all the tourists/business folks.
I still feel safe walking through the city. I did hear that 20% of NYC hotels are housing people at homeless shelters and a good number of hotels are located near Times Sq.
As far as theatre goes, I miss it so much.
AuroratheGeek
Chorus Member
joined:3/16/17
Chorus Member
joined:
3/16/17

As a New Yorker, this is very interesting. I've been here the whole pandemic and for me and friends who are in the same position, COVID is far and away the biggest fear. My biggest concern for theater coming back (before a vaccine), would be worrying whether everyone in the audience would actually keep their masks on or if tourists from elsewhere would decide that it isn't needed and take it off. I miss theater tremendously, but it would be a question of risk tolerance for me. For instance, I still don't see anyone inside, just meet up with friends out of doors and 6 feet distanced, and have yet to eat at a restaurant. That being said, I miss it so much that theater will probably push me to take more risks than I would for anything else. 

The crime did increase a while back, mainly because people were unemployed and thus stressed and had time to get really angry at people they knew. The violence seems to be along the lines of "You disrespected me for the last time" or "If you're dead you can't turn me into the police for fraud." It's gone down the last couple of weeks it seems, or at least in my neighborhood. I assume because people are getting to go back to work. And it seems like it's been a while since the cops tear gassed people. 

Jordan Catalano Profile PhotoJordan Catalano Profile Photo
Jordan Catalano
Broadway Legend
joined:10/9/05
Broadway Legend
joined:
10/9/05
I haven’t left midtown since March except twice to go to Trader Joe’s. I also live around the corner from one of the hotels that was transformed into a shelter so I do understand how the city that I’ve never felt unsafe in doesn’t feel safe for people now. I’ve stopped waking the dog at night because there are people passed out with needles in their arms next to my building. There’s prostitution and large groups of people setting up makeshift “apartments” just on my block who scream at you when you walk by. Photos of people openly masturbating and having sex on the sidewalk on my street have been circulating.
JBroadway Profile PhotoJBroadway Profile Photo
JBroadway
Broadway Legend
joined:4/6/12
Broadway Legend
joined:
4/6/12

I can understand and relate to the feeling of being nervous when passing by homeless people, people on drugs, mentally ill people who scream at you, etc. I definitely find myself nervous in those situations - it's hard not to. But I think all of us (including myself) should really stop and reflect about how sad it is that we see people like this on the street, and our first thought is to be scared for our own safety, and not consider the safety of those individuals on the street. While there are certainly cases of mentally ill people attacking passers by, those cases are by far the exception. In most cases, the worst that will happen is that someone will scream at you, and you just walk on by. Meanwhile, all of these people are fighting for their lives every day.

unclevictor
Chorus Member
joined:6/2/15
Chorus Member
joined:
6/2/15

Jordan Catalano said: "I haven’t left midtown since March except twice to go to Trader Joe’s. I also live around the corner from one of the hotels that was transformed into a shelter so I do understand how the city that I’ve never felt unsafe in doesn’t feel safe for people now. I’ve stopped waking the dog at night because there are people passed out with needles in their arms next to my building. There’s prostitution and large groups of people setting up makeshift “apartments” just on my block who scream at you when you walk by. Photos of people openly masturbating and having sex on the sidewalk on my street have been circulating. "

Sounds like fun! What street u on...

LizzieCurry Profile PhotoLizzieCurry Profile Photo
LizzieCurry
Broadway Legend
joined:3/7/05
Broadway Legend
joined:
3/7/05

Maybe it's because I'm from the Bay Area and prior to moving to NYC in 2011 I worked in downtown San Francisco for many years, but seeing homeless people around here doesn't get my hackles up. It's unfortunate and sad and in the winter I often leave ziploc bags for them (with a handwarmer, toothbrush, kleenex, sometimes a packet of peanut butter). But I don't find them alarming to me as an individual.

I've gone into Manhattan three times since March, for what it's worth, and I've slept in my own bed here the whole time.

"This thread reads like a series of White House memos." — Mister Matt
itsjustmejonhotmailcom Profile Photoitsjustmejonhotmailcom Profile Photo
itsjustmejonhotmailcom
Leading Actor
joined:5/29/13
Leading Actor
joined:
5/29/13

Crime has increased, but it's still a fraction of what it was in the 80's, and plenty of people still saw Broadway shows in the 80's.

Sutton Ross Profile PhotoSutton Ross Profile Photo
Sutton Ross
Broadway Legend
joined:7/20/13
Broadway Legend
joined:
7/20/13

Crime has increased in most major cities, it isn't specific to New York. Due to this pandemic, millions of people out of work, people becoming newly homeless and the massive budget cuts, the city is hurting. I think because of the lack of tourists and people out in general, it's easier to focus on people blowing someone or shooting up in the street. 

There was an interesting article in the NYT regarding how the parks have declined due to their $84 million in budget cuts and 45% less staff than before this all happened. The trash and lack of security in the park has people concerned. The green in parks is all that most New Yorkers have. If there is trash everywhere, and crime occurring, the image of a post 90s NYC goes away. I was walking past the Delacorte the other day and the image of trash bags and random crap around that gorgeous theater that has brought me so much joy a year ago actually made me cry. 

People actually do believe the NY Post (which is run by conservative Republicans that endorse Trump) when they tell them that the city is now this dangerous cesspool of needles, murder and feces everywhere. Why would people come here without the ability to eat in a restaurant or watch a show? Broadway won't open with any social distance measures. Tons of restaurants have closed, and no one knows if they will have indoor dining which is pretty crucial as we approach Fall. It's a dismal time but it will improve, slowly and surely.

She/Her
Updated On: 8/27/20 at 02:47 PM
LizzieCurry Profile PhotoLizzieCurry Profile Photo
LizzieCurry
Broadway Legend
joined:3/7/05
Broadway Legend
joined:
3/7/05

I was just reading that parks story today. Here:
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/27/nyregion/nyc-parks-trash.html

Back to theatre, the fact that I haven't missed it terribly has made me question my own identity as a theatre fan at times. But maybe it's just that it's something I love that I can be away from for periods of time. It just took being forced to be away from it to realize it.

"This thread reads like a series of White House memos." — Mister Matt
Updated On: 8/27/20 at 03:10 PM
Sutton Ross Profile PhotoSutton Ross Profile Photo
Sutton Ross
Broadway Legend
joined:7/20/13
Broadway Legend
joined:
7/20/13

lolz

She/Her
Dollypop
Broadway Legend
joined:5/15/03
Broadway Legend
joined:
5/15/03
"Long live God!" (GODSPELL)
Updated On: 8/27/20 at 03:44 PM