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Broadway will remain shut until at least January 2021 due to coronavirus fears

Broadway will remain closed for at least early January, with many shows signalling they do not anticipate a return to the stage until late winter or early spring.  

The Broadway League, which represents producers in the theatre industry, said Monday that refunds and exchanges will now be issued for tickets previously purchased for shows through January 3.

With no end to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic in sight, the league said it was not yet ready to provide a specific date for exactly when shows will reopen in the iconic Manhattan theatre district. 

‘The Broadway experience can be deeply personal but it is also, crucially, communal,’ said Thomas Schumacher, chairman of the board of The Broadway League, which represents producers.

‘The alchemy of 1,000 strangers bonding into a single audience fueling each performer on stage and behind the scenes will be possible again when Broadway theatres can safely host full houses,’ he added. ‘The safety of our cast, crew, orchestra and audience is our highest priority and we look forward to returning to our stages only when it’s safe to do so.’

Although an exact date for performances to resume has yet to be determined, Broadway producers are now offering refunds and exchanges for tickets purchased for shows through January 3

 Although an exact date for performances to resume has yet to be determined, Broadway producers are now offering refunds and exchanges for tickets purchased for shows through January 3

Broadway theaters abruptly closed on March 12, amassing losses of a predicted $34 million every week since.

At the time, there were 31 shows running, including eight still in previews; another eight were in rehearsals before beginning previews.

Producers, citing health and city authorities, previously extended the shutdown to June 7 and then again to September 6.

‘Returning productions are currently projected to resume performances over a series of rolling dates in early 2021,’ the League said in a statement, adding they’re currently in discussion with medical officials regarding a series of logistical issues, including: ‘screening and testing, cleaning and sanitizing, wayfinding inside theaters, backstage protocols and much more.’  

President of the League, Charlotte St. Martin, told the Daily Beast that though she ‘doesn’t have a crystal ball’ she remains optimistic that shows will reopen in January 2021.

For St. Martin, any post-pandemic reopening of Broadway means safety protocols will have to be put into place to ensure audience members can still set next to each other as they did before.

‘We know that we cannot socially distance within theaters with the present financial models we have,’ she told the outlet, saying that audience members will likely have to wear masks during the first reopening phase.

In London, producer Cameron Mackintosh has said his company’s West End productions of Hamilton, The Phantom of the Opera, Mary Poppins and Les Miserables won’t reopen until 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., has canceled most previously announced performances and events through the end of 2020, as has the Huntington Theatre Company in Boston.

Broadway grossed $1.8 billion last season and attracted a record 15 million people. Producers and labor unions are discussing ways theaters can reopen safely.

The latest extension wipes away many shows planned for the fall. Many have just moved to next year, including a revival of The Music Man with Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster that was to start rehearsals on June 29 BUT will now open in May 2021.

Shows that were to open this spring have abandoned their plans, including Hangmen and a revival of Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? 

A production of The Minutes by Tracy Letts and American Buffalo by David Mamet will arrive on Broadway in Spring 2021, opening exactly one year after their originally scheduled opening dates.

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Written by Angle News

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