To reopen the New York economy, Governor Andrew Cuomo has compiled a task force of more than 100 civic, community, academic and business leaders. But leaders from one of the state’s hardest-hit industries were surprisingly left out of the discussions.
Broadway, which is facing at least a three-month shutdown, sees no representation on Cuomo’s New York Forward Re-Opening Advisory Board. The council features a myriad of professionals across the sports and entertainment industries, financial institutions, universities, real estate firms and more. However, no ranking Broadway officials were invited to join the advisory board.
“I was shocked to see that Broadway didn’t have a seat at this important table, considering how our industry is not only an economic engine for the city and state, but it’s also an important symbol of the health of New York to the rest of our country and to the world,” shared producer Ken Davenport via Forbes.
This isn’t the first time Cuomo has dismissed the word of those on the Great White Way. Upon the Broadway League’s announcement that theaters would remain closed through June 7, the governor said that date was not to be used as a measure for economic bounce-back. Broadway League president Charlotte St. Martin responded by noting shows will likely stay shuttered for longer.
“We just said that we were exchanging and refunding tickets up to June 7,” St. Martin shared with Deadline. “I mean, every couple of days our guesstimates go further out. As late as two weeks ago we were thinking that with any luck we might be up by July and that a worst case scenario might be September. Now the best guesses are that unless there’s serious testing and information that we don’t currently have, we’re probably looking at September or later.”
Despite Broadway’s absence on New York’s economic task force, there is no denying the power of the industry. Renowned productions draw in millions of patrons each year, racking up about $14.7 billion towards the local economy and employing nearly 100,000. But an unprecedented shutdown has left a dire impact on standard operations. Theater owner the Shubert Organization furloughed a portion of its workforce while the Theatre Development Fund, a non-profit which runs primarily on discounted Broadway ticket sales, launched a “lifeline” campaign to raise funds.