Starting today, Broadway can start selling tickets for shows that can open or reopen at full capacity beginning September 14. That was what New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced yesterday, just two days after proclaiming May 19th as the date in which they would be “a significant easing of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions” related to “businesses, venues and gatherings,” explicitly including theater and Broadway.
There are several disconnects here:
- Between what the governor proclaims and what COVID-19 will allow.
In the governor’s press release yesterday (Governor Cuomo Announces Broadway to Fully Reopen Its Doors This September), there is this significant sentence: “If performances need to be postponed due to the public health conditions, theaters have planned to offer customer-friendly refunds and exchange policies. “
- Between what the pandemic will allow and what Broadway producers – and the basic machinery of Broadway – can do.
“About 30 shows are currently planning to begin performances on Broadway before the end of 2021 — approximately half starting in September,” according to yesterday’s article about the reopening in the New York Times. These include the three top grossing musicals, “Hamilton,” “The Lion King” and “Wicked,” who reportedly plan an announcement in a few days.
“The Phantom of the Opera” beat them to it, announcing Wednesday evening that tickets would go on sale on Friday for performances beginning October 22 — to patrons who can show proof that they’ve been vaccinated or have tested negative for the virus.
3. Between what the Broadway machinery can do and what theater workers and (potential) Broadway theatergoers feel comfortable doing.
This mixed reaction extends to the numerous announcements of new Broadway shows, which would in pre-pandemic times have elicited nothing but excitement.
The most recent announcement, from Lincoln Center Theater: “Our production of PASS OVER by Antoinette Chinonye Nwandu (@anwandu) and directed by Danya Taymor will move to Broadway later this year! Details about the upcoming limited engagement at the August Wilson Theatre to be available shortly!”
Presumably these shows will announce specific dates soon. But until then: