BROADWAY PREPARES TO REOPEN

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Jordan Pyle, Editor

Broadway first shut down on March 12, 2020 amidst the COVID-19 outbreak. This theatre shutdown was a major financial blow to both the worldwide theatre business and the tourism industries that rely on musicals and shows for a portion of their profit—New York, London, Chicago, etc. This loss of revenue led the New York City government and theatre higher-ups to consider plans to reopen this city staple towards the end of 2021.

The proposed plans to safely reopen the stage doors include extensive COVID testing, socially distanced seating, and proper ventilation systems. Broadway officials have suggested that one of the only issues with this idea is socially distancing audience members while they are seated. The revenue in the theatre business is reliant on audience sizes; the more people that attend a show, the more money that production makes. Broadway officials say it will be difficult to keep shows running for very long with smaller audiences because of this.

Broadway venues are also known for being fairly cramped, and officials are working on making this less daunting to theatergoers in many ways “ranging from making modifications to air-conditioning systems to reducing contact points between theatergoers and theater personnel,” according to the Wall Street Journal.

People are also wondering what shows will be the first to open, and while many expect classics like “Phantom of the Opera,” “Wicked,” and “The Lion King” to be the first shows to open again, theater officials note that these shows have more often than not been dependent on out-of-town audiences. Therefore, it will probably be more difficult to finance these shows in a city full of theatergoers who have already seen them. 

Another issue that closely relates to the shows that will be first to open again is ticket sales. Major stages like Broadway in New York City and the West End in London rely heavily on advance ticket sales because producers have to ensure that they have interest in the show before it opens.

Though there is no guarantee that shows will reopen this year, audiences and frequent fliers of Broadway hope that this artistic industry will reopen smoothly. Broadway officials do expect, however, that the industry will reopen sometime in the fall or winter of this year, and are working to find safe ways to do so. 

Sources: https://www.cnbc.com/2021/02/08/ny-aims-to-reopen-broadway-large-venues-with-covid-testing-cuomo-says.html