The lights of Broadway will officially stay dim for the remainder of 2020 due to the coronavirus, as The Broadway League announced it was extending its suspension of performances through January 3, 2021 due to the ongoing pandemic. Previously, shows were cancelled through the summer as New York struggled to get over its status as the central hotspot for Covid-19, but reports began surfacing last week that the pause would be extended once again as other hotspots emerge throughout the United States.
According to The Broadway League, the plan is to resume performances once producers can operate safely with full audiences.
“The Broadway experience can be deeply personal but it is also, crucially, communal,” said Chairman of the Board of The Broadway League Thomas Schumacher. “The alchemy of 1000 strangers bonding into a single audience fueling each performer on stage and behind the scenes will be possible again when Broadway theatres can safely host full houses. Every single member of our community is eager to get back to work sharing stories that inspire our audience through the transformative power of a shared live experience. The safety of our cast, crew, orchestra and audience is our highest priority and we look forward to returning to our stages only when it’s safe to do so. One thing is for sure, when we return we will be stronger and more needed than ever.”
Broadway has been on hiatus for more than three months, having halted on March 12, 2020. To that point, New York had seen just over 300 confirmed cases of coronavirus, according to worldometers.info. Case numbers soon skyrocketed, reaching 85,000 by the end of March and over 315,000 by April’s end. Numbers have been far better of late – the state hasn’t seen more than 2,000 new cases since late May and has been below 1,000 new cases for 13 of the past 14 days as of Tuesday morning.
Tickets for performances in early 2021 will go on sale in coming weeks, according to the release, which also outlined several ways the industry hopes to reopen safely, from screening and testing of audiences, cleaning and sanitizing, and updated backstage protocols.
“Our membership is working closely with the theatrical unions and in concert with key experts and some of the greatest minds inside and outside of the industry to explore protocols for all aspects of reopening. We are focused on identifying and implementing necessary measures that will enable us to resume performances safely for Broadway audiences and employees,” said Charlotte St. Martin, President of the Broadway League. “We are determined to bring back the people who rely on this industry for their livelihood, and to welcome back all those who love this vital part of New York City, as soon as it is safe to do so. As so many of us in the Broadway community have been saying during this time – We’ll be back, and we have so many more stories to tell.”