After a year and a half of dimmed lights and empty seats, Broadway theaters finally raised their curtains once again. On Sep. 14, a stacked lineup of hit shows like Hamilton, The Lion King, Wicked and Chicago kicked off to celebrate the Theater District’s long-awaited reopening.
On March 12, 2020, Broadway made the tough decision to close its doors due to the pandemic’s uncertain nature. This isn’t the first time Broadway has faced the need to shut down during its long history. One notable shutdown occurred after the tragic events of Sep. 11, resulting in the theaters closing for two days. But Broadway has never suffered from a shutdown as long as this most recent one. While they were only supposed to close for 32 days, the theaters remained empty for a long 18 months.
Performers, crew members, guests and the entire city of New York have been waiting for the reopening of the Theater District. Jordan Roth, the president of Jujamcyn Theaters, shared his excitement, stating, “For so long, this is what we’ve all been dreaming about, hoping for, planning and replanning for. Being together safely in celebration and in community. Because that’s what makes New York New York. That’s what makes living living. That dream is finally here, and we are all so ready!”
Coronavirus is still a grave concern 18 months later, but the Theater District has found ways to entertain audiences, once again, in a safe manner. They have new protocols that require all guests, performers, backstage crew members and theater staff to be fully vaccinated. Audience members must wear masks while inside the theaters unless they are eating or drinking in a designated location. Children under 12 and anyone with a condition that prevents vaccination will be required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken 72 hours before the show. All 41 Broadway theaters in New York City will follow the same procedures to ensure the performers, crew members and audiences are protected against COVID-19.
The whole world has felt the effects of this pandemic, but New York City’s massive population combined with the notorious tight living spaces has made navigating this virus extra challenging. The busy streets, bright lights and exciting energy are what draw so many people into the city in the first place. For over a year, “The City That Never Sleeps” has been forced to quiet down. Broadway’s reopening not only signifies a new way to maneuver live shows during a pandemic, but it also displays the resilience of New Yorkers.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said, “This is about who we are as New Yorkers. We are the arts and culture capital. Broadway, and all of the arts and culture of the city, express the life, the energy, the diversity, the spirit of New York City.”
If you’re ready to be back in the city, head down to the heart of the Theater District to watch one of the many live shows they have to offer! Come with a mask on your face, a vaccine in your arm and excitement for a safe way to experience the magic of Broadway!