Broadway will remain shut down at least through May 30, 2021, The Broadway League announced today., the fifth implicit target date for reopening since Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered the theaters shut down back in March 12, 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This throws out the planned 2020-2021 Broadway season in which at least a half dozen shows had rescheduled specific opening dates, including “The Music Man,” “MJ The Michael Jackson Musical,” and “The Minutes.”
“The Music Man” producers Scott Rudin, Barry Diller and David Geffen quickly announced the rescheduling of the musical revival starring Hugh Jackman, with previews beginning at Broadway’s Winter Garden Theatre on Monday, December 20, 2021, and opening night scheduled for Thursday, February 10, 2022. “MJ the Musical” followed with the news it “will now arrive on Broadway in September 2021.”
“With nearly 97,000 workers who rely on Broadway for their livelihood and an annual economic impact of $14.8 billion to the city, our membership is committed to re-opening as soon as conditions permit us to do so. We are working tirelessly with multiple partners on sustaining the industry once we raise our curtains again,” said Charlotte St. Martin, President of the Broadway League, the trade organization of Broadway producers and theater owners, said in a statement on its website.
Officially, the League is announcing that ticket sales for Broadway performances in NYC are now suspended through May 30, 2021, and offering refunds for any tickets purchased for dates before then. But the date comes with an implicit promise that Broadway will reopen afterward. Yet skeptics (including producers) see the new target date as a sign that Broadway may not reopen until the Fall of 2021 or later. When Broadway first shut down, at a time when 39 productions were either running or scheduled to open, it was supposed to be for a month, until April 13. On April 8, the shutdown was extended to June 7; then in May to September 6., then once again, at the end of June, to January, 2021.
The League announced yesterday that nominations for the 2019-2020 Tony Awards (original scheduled for last Spring) will be announced on its YouTube channel on October 15.
In a statement, Mary McColl, executive director for Actors’ Equity Association, praised the “difficult but responsible decision” and added: “We are at this moment because, seven months into the pandemic, our nation still lacks a coherent national strategy for masks and testing which could help bring the virus under control. Too many in the industry need help now as we face another six months without work. The ongoing lack of work in the arts means we face a critical need for a federal COBRA health insurance subsidies, renewed federal unemployment benefits and arts funding. Washington must act.”
If we’re talking about English-language theatre, then you have to go back to the time of Oliver Cromwell. London theatres were closed from 1642 to 1660. One of the first things King Charles II did after being restored to the throne was to open them again.
— Peter Schmitz (@schmeterpitz) October 9, 2020