After having its restart date pushed back several times, Broadway shows have now officially been canceled through the end of 2020, according to the Broadway League, continuing the longest production shutdown in history as the U.S. continues to struggle to contain the coronavirus and safety concerns remain around large gatherings.
January 3, 2021, is now the earliest date shows might reopen, according to the Broadway League, a trade association representing the Broadway theater industry.
Broadway theaters are offering refunds or exchanges of tickets purchased for performances up until January 3, 2021, the Broadway League said in a statement.
Broadway theaters officially closed to the public on March 12, 2020, after Gov. Andrew Cuomo put restrictions on large gatherings; shows were originally set to restart on April 12, before being pushed back to June 7 and then September 6 prior to this latest announcement.
The closure of Broadway theaters for the year promises to have a massive economic impact on New York City, as the theaters are one of the biggest drivers of tourism in the city; Deadline reported the initial month-long shutdown may have led to Broadway losing up to $100 million.
While coronavirus cases in New York continue to steadily decrease, most states in the U.S. are experiencing a spike in cases, which has led to the country as a whole recently recording its highest single-day case increases since the coronavirus pandemic began.
Broadway shows bring in large tourist crowds, packing tightly into the notoriously cramped seating in Great White Way theaters—a critical part of the show experience, according to Thomas Schumacher, chairman of the board of the Broadway League, who said “The alchemy of 1,000 strangers bonding into a single audience fueling each performer onstage and behind the scenes will be possible again when Broadway theatres can safely host full houses.”
“We are focused on identifying and implementing necessary measures that will enable us to resume performances safely for Broadway audiences and employees,” said Charlotte St. Martin, president of the Broadway League and also a member of New York City’s Arts, Culture and Tourism Advisory Council. “We are determined to bring back the people who rely on this industry for their livelihood, and to welcome back all those who love this vital part of New York City, as soon as it is safe to do so.”
Broadway productions are now in their longest shutdown in history. There were 31 shows running, with 8 new shows in previews and another 8 in rehearsal when Broadway went dark in March, according to the Broadway League. Health experts are warning against large gatherings, especially for crowded indoor settings.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
Anyone with tickets to a show before January 3, 2021, should expect an email refund or exchange options for their tickets. Anyone who doesn’t receive an email by July 13 should contact their point of purchase for further assistance, the Broadway League said.
WHAT WE DON’T KNOW
Even though shows can restart on January 3, 2021, that doesn’t mean many actually will. Several producers have already suggested they will not restart their shows until months into 2021.