As the first New York theaters reopen at reduced capacity this coming Friday, the hope for a wider reopening rests on a stepping up of vaccinations. To that end, there was good news on the federal, state and local level: Joe Biden at the first formal press conference of his presidency announced that 100 million Americans had been vaccinated by day 58 of his presidency, so the goal is now 200 million by Day 100 – April 30th. Also on Thursday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced: Theater Workers To Get Their Own Vaccination Sites, both for Broadway workers, and mobile sites for Off-Broadway workers. And today, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that all New Yorkers age 30 and older will be eligible for the vaccine starting tomorrow, and 16 and over starting April 6.
Many well-known “theater workers” have already been vaccinated — including (above) Sir Ian McKellen, Alan Alda, Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, Ed Asner, Mandy Patinkin, Rosario Dawson and Joel Grey — as well as Patrick Stewart, Bette Midler, Dame Judi Dench, Carole King, Whoopi Goldberg, Samuel L. Jackson, Kate Mulgrew….
Earlier in March, Biden had set a goal of having all adult Americanss eligible for the vaccine by May 1 – which several theater power players called “the game changer,” according to Lee Seymour in his article in Forbes on what it will take to bring back Broadway. “American theater is seeing reason to hope,” Seymour writes. “The path ahead remains precarious, with many unanswered questions about safety, economics, and equity, but it’s no longer the bleak vista it was even a month ago…there had been no way to predict when vaccines might be widespread enough to make large gatherings safe. But now we know…”
At the National Endowment for the Arts webinar, “The Art of Reopening: A Virtual Conversation on Reengaging Arts Audiences in Physical Spaces,” Dr. Anthony Fauci said that the “three extraordinarily safe and efficacious Covid-19 vaccines authorized” and the fact that “both our vaccine supply and our rate of vaccination are accelerating steadily.” Could mean that Broadway will reopen in the Fall. “Like a multi-act play, however, pandemics are dynamic events.,” he cautions. “And in this Covid-19 pandemic, the behavior of the coronavirus as well as the people affected by it are the star players in how things will ultimately turn out.”
But the show HAS gone on, in various ways. As panelist Rebecca Read Medrano of GALA Hispanic Theater put it, “we thought it was really necessary to engage on all levels, to not disappear…”
For the 60th World Theatre Day, Helen Mirren was selected to deliver the message: “The creative urge of writers, designers, dancers, singers, actors, musicians, directors, will never be suffocated and in the very near future will flourish again with a new energy and a new understanding of the world we all share.”
The Week in Reviews
The Week in Theater News
(see also video below)
En Garde Arts will present Dozen Dreams, an immersive installation at Brookfield Place in May, with the answer of a dozen women theater artists’ answer to the question: “What are you dreaming right now?” Theirs is the latest theater as installation/display. Irish Repertory Theater is presenting Poetic Reflections: Words Upon the Window Pane, three films in their lobby windows over the next month
“Ain’t Supposed to Die a Natural Death,” the 1971 musical by Melvin Van Peebles that explores the negative aspects of street life, announces plans for a Broadway run with son Mario Van Peebles as creative producer, and Kenny Leon as director.
Broadway’s Best Shows producers, through their publicist, is refusing to allow press access to review their Spotlight on Plays series, in a remarkable snub of an entire profession.
Rest in Peace
Jessica Walter, 80, screen actress best known for Arrested Development, but also a six-time Broadway veteran from Advise and Consent in 1961 to Anything Goes in 2012
Pat Collins, lighting designer
Craig muMs Grant, 52 actor and slam poet. Although known best for his screen acting in shows like “Oz,” he was a slam poet at the Nuyorican Poets Café and a member of the Labyrinth Theater Company.