Let There be Music: The Reopening of Broadway


Hannah Bezahler

In March of 2020, all non-essential public spaces were closed amid the Coronavirus outbreak. Unfortunately, Broadway fell under this umbrella and theaters were forced to shut their doors until further notice. Many performers and members of the community lost their creative outlet, as well as their jobs. Broadway deemed 2020 as the “lost year,” but fans will be excited to know that with about 72 million Americans fully vaccinated, theaters are expected to start reopening. The process of reopening is underway keeping COVID guidelines in mind.

Similar to the reopening of all public places, the theaters will open up again slowly. Some of the smaller theaters are reopening now in April 2021, and even more theaters are expected to reopen in the summer. Bill de Blasio, New York City’s mayor, says he intends Broadway to be fully reopened by September 2021. That is of course with many COVID precautions set in place. 

For super fans, there will be no more backstage tours or getting autographs from your favorite performers to limit contact between people. Only expected visitors will be allowed inside the venues. Tickets to popular shows may also become even harder to obtain because the theaters will not be used to full capacity to avoid overcrowding and seats must maintain proper distancing precautions. If you happen to be lucky if enough to get a ticket, you can certainly expect to see open seats and groups seated away from one another.  Fans will be required to wear masks during the show. The audience also must provide proof of a negative COVID test or a vaccination card. The workers are required to have on masks at all times as well. Performers will have masks on once they come off the stage. In addition to masks, all cast members of the play are to be COVID tested regularly to ensure a safe environment for the cast, crew, and audience.

When Broadway shut down there were also some shows that closed. One of those is “Frozen”. The play was introduced to Broadway stages back in 2018 and it was the first popular play to close due to COVID. “Beetlejuice,” the Tony nominated show, was also forced to end after it was moved out of its theatre. Along with “Frozen” and “Beetlejuice,” Broadway’s adaptation of the film “Mean Girls” has come to a close after 805 performances. The producers decided early on in the pandemic that its time was up. While there are shows that have closed, there are also some that were simply postponed. Sarah Jessica Parker and her husband Matthew Broderick’s play called “Plaza Suite” was set to open the day theaters were shut down. It is now playing through July 2021. It opened in February and will continue to play as more theaters reopen. Don’t worry “Dear Evan Hansen” and “Hamilton” fans! Those plays are still on Broadway and will be for hopefully quite some time. 

Mayor de Blasio said, “Broadway needs to come back, and we will move heaven and earth to bring Broadway back.”  To many, this has been a huge pause in the art of theater.