The Return to The Stage


Photo by Walter McBride

Lines outside of the smash-hit “Hamilton”

After shutting down in March of 2020 due to the pandemic, many shows will be returning to the Broadway stages in New York throughout the fall and winter of 2021 as well as the spring of 2022. The first round of shows coming back to theaters include some returners and a new feature.  On September 14th we will see the return of the shows “Chicago,” “Hamilton,” “Wicked,” and “The Lion King,” as well as the debut of a new show titled “Lackawanna Blues.”  Some shows, however, will not be returning to the Broadway stages, as they closed permanently during the shutdown, such as “Mean Girls” and “Frozen on Broadway”. Some more shows that will be returning to the stage throughout September and October include “Come From Away,” “Moulin Rouge,” “Aladdin,” “Tina – The Tina Turner Musical,” “Caroline, or Change,” “Ain’t Too Proud,” “Jagged Little Pill,” and the Broadway classic “The Phantom of the Opera.”  

Many people, such as frequent audience members, Broadway fanatics, actors, and musicians, have been eagerly waiting for the return to the theaters since they were first shut down over a year ago, so the reopening is very important to them.  The reopening of Broadway is also a big occasion for the city of New York because it allows for tourists to come back to the city to experience the shows.  Broadway shows are a main source of entertainment for tourists coming to visit the city, so the return of Broadway allows for these tourists to come back into the city.

The shutdown of Broadway in 2020 put many young actors living in New York out of work. In January of 2021, a group of actors and musicians from television, movies, and Broadway came together virtually to create a show with the goals of benefitting out-of-work actors, and so “Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical” was born.  It was a smash hit among younger audiences, due to its anticipation coming from TikTok.  The premiere of the show raised over 2 million dollars for The Actors Fund, which works to help benefit actors who are out-of-work and others involved in the theater industry.

Since we are still living in a pandemic, certain safety measures have been made in the Broadway theaters to ensure that everyone involved in both the production and the viewing of Broadway shows is kept safe and is at low risk of getting COVID-19.  The owners and operators of the Broadway theaters across New York City have required that all audience members,

performers, backstage crew, and theater staff are to be fully vaccinated to be able to attend or take part in a Broadway show.  The city of New York has recently begun to require all patrons of indoor shows, restaurants, and other facilities, over the age of 12 to show proof of vaccination to be able to enter these facilities, and Broadway is following along with these guidelines.  For those who cannot be vaccinated, theaters are requiring proof of a negative COVID-19 test prior to the show.  Regardless of vaccination status, all audience and crew members must remain masked at all times, except for when eating or drinking, as per the rules agreed upon by the owners and operators of the Broadway theaters throughout the city.  Broadway is doing what it can to ensure that the experience in the theater is as safe as possible for everyone involved.  Although the return to the theaters being a major step towards a sense of normalcy, there is no telling what other obstacles everyone involved will have to face.