Broadway Theatres Extend Shutdown as Coronavirus Outbreak Looms Over New York City

Broadway News   Broadway Theatres Extend Shutdown as Coronavirus Outbreak Looms Over New York City
 
Shows were initially slated to close through April 12; they’re now hoping to resume in June.
Times Square_Theatre District_Coronavirus Closing_2020_HR
44th Street Playbill Staff

The show will not go on for some time longer. Due to the spread of the coronavirus in New York City, Broadway shows have extended their shutdown. While at first scheduled to resume the week of April 13, productions will now remain dark through June 7 (what was supposed to be the day of the 74th Annual Tony Awards).

The initial closure was mandated by Governor Andrew Cuomo March 12, banning all gatherings of 500 or more people and reducing the capacities of smaller events. The restrictions soon escalated, with the surge of confirmed COVID-19 leading to the state-wide “On PAUSE” executive order, effectively closing all in-person non-essential business. On March 29, Cuomo said he would re-evaluate that stay-at-home order every two weeks; it is currently scheduled to last through April 29, though many industries—Broadway included—are bracing for longer hiatus periods.

“Our top priority continues to be the health and well-being of Broadway theatregoers and the thousands of people who work in the theatre industry every day, including actors, musicians, stagehands, ushers, and many other dedicated professionals.” said Broadway League President Charlotte St. Martin. “Broadway will always be at the very heart of the Big Apple, and we join with artists, theatre professionals, and fans in looking forward to the time when we can once again experience live theatre together.”

READ: How to Support a Theatre Company and Stream a Show While Social Distancing

Though the extension was determined in accordance with the Center for Disease Control and under the guidance of Governor Andrew Cuomo, this date could be pushed back again in the coming weeks. In an April 8 press conference, the governor clarified that projected dates should not be used as industry-wide guidelines, noting that other essential business and providers will have to reopen before theatres and other venues with mass gatherings.

In the weeks since the outbreak, productions have been forced to reconsider their longevity and sustainability. Two shows (the revival of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and Martin McDonagh's Hangmen) announced they would not return once the shutdown concluded. Four Broadway shows produced by non-profit organizations (Flying Over Sunset with Lincoln Center Theater, How I Learned to Drive from Manhattan Theatre Club, and Roundabout Theatre Company’s Birthday Candles and Caroline, or Change) have been moved to later seasons.

As these and 10 other shows had been slated to open within the 2020 Tony Awards eligibility window, the ceremony has been postponed until the theatre industry has a clearer sense of when the curtain will rise again.

One musical from last season, Beetlejuice, had announced in December that it would close June 6 at the Winter Garden Theatre. Due to the shutdown extension, it has effectively ended its run earlier than anticipated. A national tour is still expected to launch in fall 2021, and producers are considering a transfer to another venue once Broadway resumes.

READ: 2020 Tony Awards Put on Hold as Coronavirus Pandemic Causes Broadway Shutdown

Ticket holders for affected performances will be contacted in the coming days regarding exchanges and refunds. Those who do not receive an email by April 12 should reach out to their point of purchase.

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