Theaters could remain closed until as late as June.
When the COVID-19 pandemic first started ramping up in the States back in March, all of New York’s famous Broadway theaters were forced to close their doors indefinitely for health and safety reasons. Back in June, the Broadway League, the governing body of the theaters, ballparked a reopening by January 2021. Unfortunately, as of their most recent estimate, it could be a lot longer than that.
The Broadway League officially announced today that all theater productions will remain on hold until at least May 30, 2021. The League clarified that this new date is not when shows are guaranteed to resume, but rather the latest possible date productions will be able to offer refunds and exchanges to existing ticket holders. Many shows were hoping to reopen by spring of 2021, but as this date is right on the cusp of summer, new plans will need to be drawn up.
“With nearly 97,000 workers who rely on Broadway for their livelihood and an annual economic impact of $14.8 billion to the city, our membership is committed to re-opening as soon as conditions permit us to do so,” said League President Charlotte St. Martin. “We are working tirelessly with multiple partners on sustaining the industry once we raise our curtains again.”
In the meantime, the League has been voicing their support for “Save Our Stages,” an aid bill that’s supposed to be included in the HEROES Act currently stalled out in Congress. If this bill were passed, approximately $10 billion in grants would be allocated to the owners and operators of theaters, which would allow them to pay rent, utilities, and cast and staff payroll until the shutdown can be safely lifted.
The League is also teaming up with the American Theater Wing to put on a virtual presentation of the 2020 Tony Awards. Nominations are scheduled to be announced next Thursday, though the lack of any shows since March may complicate the process somewhat.