Broadway is choosing to reopen this fall


Dr. Phillips Center/Courtesy Photo/TNS

The first three shows to be opening again will be Hamilton, Wicked and the Lion King.

Alex Hannah

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Broadway shows dropped the curtain on all production for over a year. Many did not know when these shows would face the public again until now.

On May 5, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo said during a press conference that with increasing vaccination rates and decreasing infection rates, many restrictions will be lifted, including the restrictions on Broadway. But this new information does not necessarily mean that Broadway will start up again like magic.

It takes a lot of time, energy and money to reopen a show. So even some of the first shows to begin opening will be waiting until September. All of these shows will want to open to full capacity, but that means that they will have to wait until proper protocols are set in place, not to mention the fact that they have to re-group their cast, find a theater, re-negotiate actor’s contracts and start rehearsals again. It’s a lot to take on, and time is of the essence.

So who are our frontrunners? The first three shows to be opening again will be Hamilton, Wicked and the Lion King. Each of these shows are well known, popular and will have the money to open up safely. They plan to open Sept. 14, 2021.

Some shows will be closing their doors for good due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Hangman, a new musical, will not be taking the stage again. A revival, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? will also be shutting down. The famous Beetlejuice has closed, along with the Disney hit Frozen. Mean Girls, the musical will not be reopening on Broadway again. And the Tony awards, which is usually a famous event to musical theater fans, has been postponed.

The nice thing is the opening Broadway shows now have a model. On March 27, 2021, Hamilton opened in Australia for the first time in person. This was a huge success for theater during COVID-19. The actors were not masked onstage, but they did take tests beforehand. The audience was completely masked, and had staggered entry times to avoid crowding in the lobby, but they were sitting side-by-side during the actual show.

It is so important that Broadway will be starting to open up, and not just for audience members alone. To put on a full-scale Broadway show requires many different jobs, and supports countless amounts of people such as the actors, directors, choreographers, stage managers, tech crew, ushers, producers, costume designers, makeup teams, set designers and more. So once these shows start, they will begin to support tons of workers. In addition, a large chunk of New York’s tourism revenue comes from Broadway, so it is crucial that these shows start drawing in profits again.

These shows will all have safety protocols in place, and the different shows can decide for themselves how that will look like. So far, the shows will most likely follow Australia’s lead with masks and proof of vaccination. Broadway will not be opening in half capacity at all, but will be jumping straight into full capacity. This is not just for more profit, but for paying expenses such as the theater venue.

The excitement buzzing around the exhilarating day when Broadway lights up once more has already begun. Performers are excited to be stepping back into their roles.

“I feel like this is a call for the community to come together.”  Says L. Steven Taylor, who plays King Mufasa in The Lion King. 

Broadway is back in action this September, the curtains will be rising, the lights shining, and the audience cheering once again.