The Broadway shutdown will continue, with the Great White Way’s lights remaining out through the end of May, the Broadway League announced Friday. With theaters shuttered since March 12 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this new extension of closures means it will have been more than a year between performances when they are finally able to return. The latest announcement moves the reopening date from January 2021 to June 1, 2021.
“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. 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.
Rumors of the extension of the closure of New York’s multi-billion dollar theater industry began swirling Thursday night, but weren’t official until Friday morning when the Broadway League made its announcement. This marks the second time the date for a planned reopening of the Great White Way has been pushed back. After the initial closure, it was hoped that performances might resume in the fall of 2020. That date was moved to January 2021 over the summer, and is now pushed past Memorial Day.
At least three shows – Frozen, Hangmen and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf – have announced they will not be returning when shows are permitted once again. New shows including the anticipated Hugh Jackman-led Music Man revival must also wait another four months at minimum to see their curtain raised.
New York was the early epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States, particularly in the densely populated city. Case numbers have decreased dramatically from that initial spike, but numbers have been trending upwards in the state of late. After seeing its 7-day moving average of new cases remain below 1,000 from mid-June, that number went back above that benchmark at the end of September and has risen to 1,518 as of Thursday, according to tracking statistics kept at worldometers.info. That number is still far below the early peak, which saw 11,661 new cases reported on its highest day – April 15.
Organizations have been dramatically impacted by the Broadway shutdown, which have cost billions across the spectrum of the business. Its leadership has been vocal in its calls for government aid in the form of the $10 billion Save Our Stages act, which is included in the most recent iteration of federal aid passed by the House of Representatives but under negotiation between democrats and the republican leadership of the senate and White House. President Trump has vacillated between saying all dealmaking attempts are done until after the election and calling for aid to be passed now in the past week, so it is unclear when any financial aid may arrive, if ever.
Those holding tickets to Broadway events prior to June 1 of next year should contact their point of purchase to find out if they are eligible for a refund or an exchange to a new date once shows are permitted.