Broadway has been around for a considerable amount of time and is located in the theater district in Manhattan. For a performance to be held on Broadway is a mark of success that is considered to be the highest level attainable for commercial theater. Due to the continuous spread of COVID-19, the organization released a devastating announcement.
The Broadway League has announced yet another extension of the stage shutdown in New York City. The organization confirmed that it is suspending ticket sales and performances through May 30, 2021, marking more than a year of COVID-19-induced delays before live theater productions can return, according to an announcement Friday via Twitter. The Broadway League also indicated in their announcement that tickets can be refunded or rescheduled for when Broadway opens again.
Broadway expects productions to resume in June of 2021, but what about the people that make a living performing and working at the theaters? Actors’ Equity Association, the national labor union representing professional stage actors and managers, released the following statement Friday regarding the Broadway League’s “difficult but responsible decision to put the safety and health of their workers and audience first.”
Mary McColl, executive director for Actors’ Equity states that her “heart breaks for everyone who works on Broadway or depends on it to make their living,” McColl continues as she calls out our nation’s leadership and their strategies regarding the virus. “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.”
Broadway performances were suspended on March 12, 2020. At that time, 31 productions were running, including eight new shows in previews. Rehearsals for eight other productions, set to open in the spring, were also shut down. One of the many shows that were shut down was Hugh Jackman’s “The Music Man.”
This not only affects those involved in the performance but New York City as a whole. According to a statement given to the New York Post, Charlotte St. Martin, president of the Broadway League states, “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 continues, “we are working tirelessly with multiple partners on sustaining the industry once we raise our curtains again.”