Story at a glance

  • Trade organization The Broadway League confirmed theaters in New York will be shut down until May 2021.
  • The sector contributes millions of dollars into the state economy.

New York’s famed theater strip Broadway is set to be closed until May 2021, according to The New York Times, having been shut down by the COVID-19 pandemic since March 12 as the virus hit the states. 

The Broadway League, a trade organization that represents producers and theater owners across all 41 theaters in the district, announced on Friday that it would suspend all ticket sales until May 30, 2021. 

In an interview, League president Charlotte St. Martin, said that the date remains fairly tenuous. She noted that producers and theater owners will work to determine reopening dates. 


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“Certainly a lot of shows are making their plans, and some think we will open in the summer, and I hope they are right,” she said. “But I think people’s bets are the fall of next year.”

The League’s formal statement reflected less of a uniform approach and more of a staggering to reopening schedules of individual 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 explained.

Several productions pushed their opening dates back to the fall and winter of 2021 following the announcement. 

Broadway is one of the industries severely impacted by the COVID-19 shutdowns, with millions in revenue from opening weekends lost due to cancellations. The Times previously reported that the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis found that the arts and culture sector of New York state’s economy contributed $120 billion annually prior to the pandemic, amounting to 7.5 percent of the total economic output. 

The shutdowns have led to layoffs and furloughs for the bevy of artists and professionals who work on Broadway. 

Initially, theaters were only meant to be closed until April 12, but continued to extend cancellations through Jan. 3 as the virus continued to surge. 

“There would be nothing better for everyone than if we had a date certain, but there isn’t one — this is a global pandemic,” St. Martin said to reporters. “Do you think I like putting out these statements four times? No! And God, I hope we only have to do it one more time. But we don’t know.”

Other famed artistic outlets, including the Metropolitan Opera, are also closed until 2021. For St. Martin, Broadway and its contemporaries will only be ready to open once there is a solid and safe treatment.

“There has to be a medical or scientific change,” St. Martin said. “We’re hoping for complete reliability of rapid testing, combined with other medical or scientific enhancements for the audience and the cast and crew. Many products are being tested which are promising, and a combination of those would bring us back. And yes, we’d love a vaccine.”


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Published on Oct 09, 2020