“Major Reopening” is what New York Governor Andrew Cuomo headlined the announcement from all three governors of the tri-state region that starting May 19th there will be “a significant easing of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions” related to “businesses, venues and gatherings.”
That includes theaters, even Broadway….but there’s a catch.
It doesn’t take a seasoned politico to see this as Cuomo’s effort to upstage his political rival Mayor Bill de Blasio, who last week announced a target date of July 1 for “fully reopening.“
But, for all the charts both politicians presented for their jolly announcements (see the video of the governor’s press presentation below), both come with the same caveats. 1. Such a reopening, to last, depends on the vaccination rates remaining high and the infection rates remaining low. 2. If Broadway, and other theaters, are technically permitted to open later this month, most are not practically able to do so; the target date for Broadway at the moment is September, which even the Broadway League acknowledges: “We look forward to reopening at full capacity and are working to safely welcome audiences and employees back to Broadway theatres this fall,” it said in a statement.
This has to do with time needed for preparation, promotion, and ticket sales, but also a result of the restricted capacity. “Performing arts and live entertainment,” the governor said, “can exceed the social gathering limits of …250 people indoors if all attendees over the age of four present either proof of full vaccination status or recent negative COVID-19 test result and the required social distancing can be accommodated.” All of Broadway has made it clear they cannot break even at such a limited capacity and social distancing.
“The May date bears no relationship to reopening reality,” the Washington Post reports, “which even Cuomo acknowledged at his Albany news conference on Monday.”
So, for all the exciting headlines, the month of May is turning out for theatergoers to be a time for waiting — as it is during most Mays, although this year instead of waiting for the theater awards, we are waiting for theater reopenings. See the opening number dreaming about reopening in the video of last weekend’s 2021 Lucille Lortel Awards below — which is a generic celebration of Off-Broadway this year instead of giving awards to the many digital offerings from Off-Broadway theaters since the shutdown. For theater makers, May is shaping up as a time for preparing, and, as always, promoting.
Meanwhile, in other cities, thousands gather — a “pilot concert” in Barcelona, Spain with 4,500 who had passed a COVID-19 screening “produced no significant transmission of the coronavirus” (that “significant” worries me); a “trial event” in Liverpool, England with 3,000 “massless and sweaty” clubbers.
May Theater Openings, Week 1: John Leguizamo, Ethan Hawke in Beckett. Céline Dion Sinking. Gabourey Sidibe at Billie Holiday.Sierra Boggess at the Secret Garden.
The Week in Reviews
A Mother’s Rite
The Week in Theater News
Florence Welch of Florence + the Machine will write the lyrics for the new “Great Gatsby” stage musical, which will feature a book by Pulitzer Prize-winner Martyna Majok and direction by Rebecca Frecknall, associate director at London’s Almeida Theatre.
Sondheim’s new musical Bunuel? Not happening, says the Public Theater
“Revolution Rent, a documentary that follows director/actor Andy Señor Jr. to Cuba as he stages a production of Jonathan Larson’s Rent that marks the first American company of a Broadway musical there in more than half a century, will debut on HBO June 15.
In The Heights will open the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival on June 9, and will debut in theaters and on HBO Max June 11
Rest in Peace
Olympia Dukakis, 89, Academy Award winning actress for her role in “Moonstruck,” and five-time Broadway veteran. “Despite the awards and her other screen successes, Ms. Dukakis never gave up theater work. “
The Week in Theater Videos
A new trailer for the movie adaptation of J. T. Rogers’ Tony-winning play Oslo. (my review of the play)