Broadway theaters, which first closed in mid-March because of the coronavirus pandemic, will stay dark until next May 30. The Broadway League, which represents theater owners and show producers, announced on Friday it was suspending ticket sales to all shows for another seven months.
All 41 Broadway theaters closed on March 12 for one month. At that time, 31 productions were running, including eight new shows in previews and eight in rehearsal. As the threat of the virus persisted, the League extended the suspension through June, again through Labor Day, and then through the end of the year.
The League’s statement on Friday hinted at a slow reopening for theaters. “Dates for each returning and new Broadway show will be announced as individual productions determine the performance schedules for their respective shows,” the statement reads.
Charlotte St. Martin, president of the Broadway League, told the New York Times that it’s hard to know when theaters will be ready to reopen. “Certainly a lot of shows are making their plans, and some think we will open in the summer, and I hope they are right. But I think people’s bets are the fall of next year,” she said.
The closure of Broadway is another hit to the city’s performing arts world. Last month, the Metropolitan Opera canceled its entire 2020-2021, with plans to reopen next September. The Met Opera, the largest performing arts organization in the country, last held performances on March 11. Since April, more than 1,000 full-time employees have been furloughed without pay, as 6sqft previously reported.
“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,” St. Martin said in a statement. “We are working tirelessly with multiple partners on sustaining the industry once we raise our curtains again.”
Despite the challenges that lie ahead, St. Martin told the Times she thinks Broadway will bounce back. “We survived the Great Depression and many other crises,” she told the newspaper. “I just don’t think we live in a country or a world that wants to be without theater.”
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