Come From Away producer Sue Frost said back in August that “it’s not New York without Broadway.” Well, we now have an official date for Broadway’s comeback. Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a press conference earlier today that theaters will reopen at 100% capacity beginning on September 14 and tickets will be available as early as tomorrow, May 6.
“Anticipated dates for each returning and new Broadway production will be announced in coming weeks on a show-by-show basis, as individual productions and their producers determine the performance schedules and timelines for their respective shows,” the Broadway League shared in a press release. Box office hits like Hamilton, The Lion King, and Wicked are expected to announce their official reopenings next week, according to the New York Times.
“Nothing beats Broadway,” said Charlotte St. Martin, President of the Broadway League. “The theatre owners, producers, and other League members will continue to work with the NY State Department of Health and the Governor to coordinate the industry’s return and the related health and safety protocols required to do so.”
The precise protocols around mask wearing, stage door autographs, frequency of performances, and vaccination requirements are yet to be ironed out. Governor Cuomo said he would prefer mandatory vaccines but ultimately the decision will be made by the theater industry.
“I know there will only be a few shows back at first but honestly, I’m just so excited to have the lights shining on Broadway again,” Broadway leading man Max von Essen told us. “It will be a long and slow road but New Yorkers are resilient and this city just isn’t this city without Broadway, so we’ll get there!”
Sue Frost, producer of Come From Away told us: “This is such encouraging news from the Governor! Our company cannot wait to be back on West 45th Street. We have missed our neighbors and our friends in Hell’s Kitchen and look forward to eating, drinking and shopping again in our ‘hood!”
“Today’s news means we are one step closer to the safe reopening of not just Broadway, but jobs for thousands of workers in the New York area,” said Mary McColl, executive director of Actors’ Equity Association. “We look forward to continuing our conversations with the Broadway League about a safe reopening and know that soon the time will come when members can go back to doing what they do best, creating world-class theatre.”
This announcement also gives the green light for off-Broadway productions. “It’s been one of the hardest times for our industry and Broadway’s return is a beacon for us all,” said Blake West, Executive Director of MCC Theater on W52nd Street. “We’re all looking forward to doing our part for a safe and strong rebound from the last year. MCC will be back in action, live and in person, with productions in October and education programs for the school year and we can’t wait to welcome audiences back into our home and we’ll be cheering on all of our friends at all of the great theaters around the city as they come back, too.”
All Broadway performances were suspended on March 12, 2020. At that time, 31 productions were running, including 8 new shows in previews and 8 productions in rehearsals preparing to open later that spring.
We’ve seen glimmers of Broadway’s indefatigable spirit since then, in outdoor pop-up events like last October’s “A Moment for Broadway.” In March, actors and drag queens came together in Times Square for an emotional event commemorating Broadway’s lost year, and last month, fashion designer Michael Kors activated 45th Street with a special, 40th-anniversary runway show.