Broadway officially closes until at least January 2021

The lights went out on Broadway on March 12 in the early days of the pandemic, after ushers at multiple theaters tested positive for COVID-19. Initially, it was announced that productions would close at least until April 13; then they delayed it until June 7; Then they said that the earliest would be September. All of those tentative start dates were an illusion, because today Broadway has officially announced that all performances will be canceled at least for the remainder of the year.

The Broadway League, the trade group representing theater owners and producers, made the announcement Monday, saying theaters are now offering refunds and exchanges for purchased tickets to all shows through Jan. 3, 2021.

“The Broadway experience can be deeply personal, but it is also crucially community-based,” said Thomas Schumacher, chairman of the Board of The Broadway League, in a statement. “The alchemy of 1,000 strangers coming together in a single audience feeding each artist on stage and behind the scenes will be possible again when Broadway theaters can safely house entire houses. Every member of our community is eager to return to work sharing stories that inspire our audience through the transformative power of a shared live experience. The safety of our cast, crew, orchestra and audience is our top priority and we hope to return to our stages only when it is safe to do so. One thing is for sure. When we return we will be stronger and more needy than ever. “

There were 31 shows in production, including eight new trailer shows, when Broadway closed in March. Some of them, including the Disney musical. Frozen, a new work by Martin McDonagh called Hangedand a revival of Edward Albee Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, I have announced that they will not reopen. Others have already announced tentative new start dates in the spring of 2021, including those of Tracy Letts. The minutes (March 15), a revival of David Mamet American buffalo (April 14), and The music man starring Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster (May 20).

Broadway has darkened before, but never during this long period of time. After September 11, the theaters closed for 48 hours before reopening. In 2007, there was an 18-day strike on stage against the Shubert, Jujamcyn and Nederlander theaters, and in 2003 there was a four-day Broadway musicians strike that impacted many musicals.

In early March, the industry was initially reluctant to close due to a desire to keep people employed in its productions, and also because if a Broadway production voluntarily cancels its presentation, it will not receive insurance coverage for loss of income. Once there was a government mandate to close, the losses suffered after two closed shows were covered.