Broadway shutdown extended through May 2021 due to COVID-19 pandemic

New York News
NEW YORK CITY — Fans of Broadway will have to wait a little longer for shows to resume – until at least late May.

Although an exact date for various performances to resume has yet to be determined, Broadway producers are now offering refunds and exchanges for tickets purchased for shows through May 30.

“We are working tirelessly with multiple partners on sustaining the industry once we raise our curtains again,” said Charlotte St. Martin, president of the Broadway League, which represents producers.

Related: ‘A Moment for Broadway’: Stars turn out for pop-up event amid COVID pandemic shutdown
Broadway theaters abruptly closed on March 12, knocking out all shows – including 16 that were still scheduled to open – and scrambling the Tony Award schedule. Producers, citing health and city authorities, previously extended the shutdown to June 7, then again to Sept. 6 and again to Jan. 3.

The new timeframe may complicate a clutch of shows that had planned to open in the spring, including “MJ,” “The Music Man,” “Flying Over Sunset,” “Caroline or Change,” “Plaza Suite,” “American Buffalo” and “The Minutes.”

Actor Hugh Jackman took to Twitter on Friday, saying “When Broadway is ready for us … we will be ready for you.”

Related: Nick Cordero’s widow implores Trump to show empathy for families affected by COVID-19

Actors’ Equity Association, the national union that represents actors and stage managers, has urged lawmakers to include arts funding and loans to help those who work in the live performing arts.

“My heart breaks for everyone who works on Broadway or depends on it to make their living,” Equity Executive Director Mary McColl said. “Today, the Broadway League made the difficult but responsible decision to put the safety and health of their workers and audience first. This is a deeply painful time for everyone who depends on the arts for their livelihood. We are at this moment because, seven months into the pandemic, our nation still lacks a coherent national strategy for masks and testing which could help bring the virus under control. Too many in the industry need help now as we face another six months without work. The ongoing lack of work in the arts means we face a critical need for a federal COBRA health insurance subsidies, renewed federal unemployment benefits and arts funding. Washington must act.”

The move by the Broadway League comes less than a month after the Metropolitan Opera said it will skip an entire season for the first time in its nearly 140-year history and intends to return from the pandemic layoff next September.

“I love theater and it’s gone, I never thought it would last this long,” actress Sharon Schiller said.

It’s another setback for already struggling eateries as they have dealt with months of no pre and post show crowds.

“It’s going to be difficult, we are very worried,” Swing 46 manager Michelle Collier said.

Keith Murray, part owners of Tito Murphys, was only in business for a few months before the pandemic hit.

“We understand it’s important to stay safe, we are doing our best with the closed street here,” said Murray.

Broadway has been closed for more than a year, meaning nearly 97,000 people will be out of work at least until next June.

In London, producer Cameron Mackintosh has said his company’s West End productions of “Hamilton,” “The Phantom of the Opera,” “Mary Poppins” and “Les Miserables” won’t reopen until 2021 due to the pandemic. The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., has canceled most previously announced performances and events through the end of 2020, as has the Huntington Theatre Company in Boston.

Related: New legislation seeks federal relief for Broadway

Broadway grossed $1.8 billion last season and attracted a record 15 million people. Producers and labor unions are discussing ways theaters can reopen safely.

WATCH EYEWITNESS TO A PANDEMIC

See more episodes here
The latest extension wipes away many shows planned for the fall. Many have just moved to next year, including a revival of “The Music Man” with Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster that was to start rehearsals on June 29 BUT will now open in May 2021.

Shows that were to open this spring have abandoned their plans, including “Hangmen” and a revival of Edward Albee’s “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” A production of “The Minutes” by Tracy Letts and “American Buffalo” by David Mamet will arrive on Broadway in Spring 2021, opening exactly one year after their originally scheduled opening dates.

MORE CORONAVIRUS COVID-19 COVERAGE

How coronavirus changed the New York region
Do you have coronavirus symptoms?
New York, New Jersey, Connecticut out-of-state travelers quarantine list
COVID-19 Help, Information. Stimulus and Business Updates

UPDATES

New York City
New Jersey
Long Island
Westchester and Hudson Valley
Connecticut

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on coronavirus

Submit a News Tip

Copyright © 2020 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

Leave a Reply