How will Broadway reopen again in 2021?

This is how Broadway theatres are reopening their doors once more in 2021.

Photo credit: Broadway sign (Photo by Jordhan Madec on Unsplash)

The light at the end of a long tunnel is in sight. After a year of Broadway theatres being closed and suspended performances, theatres across New York City are beginning to come out of hibernation, reopening for live performances once more. The Music Box Theatre and cultural spaces like St. Ann’s Warehouse will open again from as early as March 2021. But what does this mean for theatergoers seeing live performances?

It’s likely you have questions about what Broadway reopening will look like in the coming days, weeks and months. Here’s all the latest information on what future theater events in New York will look like, including Coronavirus guidelines and performance dates. This feature will be updated as soon as new information is made available, regarding the future of Broadway shows and Broadway theatres.

When did Broadway theatres first close?

Broadway theatres first closed on Mar. 12, 2020, initially as a precautionary measure to stop the spread of Coronavirus in New York City. At first, theatres were closed for just one month, with a rolling closure date that currently stands at May 30, 2021.

Why are theatres opening in New York in April 2021?

Select theatres, including Broadway and off-Broadway venues will be able to reopen again as part of NY PopsUp, a city-wide festival that’s encouraging people to get out and explore the arts. On March 3, New York City Governor Cuomo confirmed that “flex venues” will open from April 2. Named venues which will be opening from April 2 include The Apollo, Park Avenue Armory, St. Ann’s Warehouse, The SHED, Harlem Stage, La MaMa, National Black theatre, and The Glimmerglass Festival’s Alice Busch Opera Theater.

Prior to the launch of NY PopsUp Festival, no theatres were open in New York City. Instead, performances were taking place via livestreams, or archived recordings of previous productions were being released to the public. NY PopsUp marks the first time that venues will be able to welcome audiences again.

Can I get a Covid vaccine on Broadway?

Yes you can! New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio confirmed a Broadway vaccination site dedicated to the theater industry and its respective workers. Although the vaccination site will open in a few weeks time, the mayor has also spoke of the greater possibility that all Broadway shows will be able to reopen in the fall. 

Are there any shows open in New York now?

Some theatrical events have either opened, or posted an opening date in New York. The Daryl Roth Theatre will reopen with Blindness, a sound installation that premiered at London's Donmar Warehouse in 2020. Blindness performances begin at Daryl Roth Theatre on April 2, running to September 5.

A full list of shows open in April can be found here.

Will Broadway theatres be Covid safe?

Definitely. There’s many caveats producers and creatives are having to adhere to in order to stage a live show. As stated by New York State’s Department of Health: “attendee capacity of any performance must be limited to the lesser of 33% of the maximum occupancy for the particular area or 50 people; exclusive of performers, crew, and other staff who are necessary for the event.” The maximum number of attendees for live theatre performances is 150, with all attendees having to prove they’ve had either a Covid vaccine or a negative Covid test.

There’ll be a number of safety measures installed into all venues, designed for the safety of cast, creative team and audience members. There’ll be hand sanitizing stations, as well as mandatory social distancing inside the theatre.

Do I need a Covid vaccine to see a show in New York?

If you are attending a performance as part of NY PopsUp Festival, you do not need a Covid vaccine to enter the respective premises. However, you will need to prove a negative Covid test that’s taken before the event before entry, meaning you can't just turn up. 

Which Broadway theatres are opening first?

As part of NY PopsUp Festival, certain Broadway theatres will be allowed to reopen for performances on select dates. The only Broadway theatre confirmed so far is the Music Box Theatre, which will open at some point in April.

A list of further Broadway theatres to open as part of NY PopsUp is to be announced at a later date.

Speaking to NBC News, The Broadway League President Charlotte St. Martin said: "At this point we're thinking early fall, perhaps early September. That's the way things are pointing... We believe that some of the longer-running shows may be first to come back, because a lot of the cast has muscle memory." This could mean shows like Wicked, The Lion King and The Phantom of the Opera and Chicago are the first to open again.

The Longacre Theatre will reopen in December with Diana: The Musical

So Broadway shows are back as normal in April?

No. Although Broadway theatres can open again, Broadway shows will not be running just yet. The Music Box Theatre will be open for concert performances and will not be staging Dear Evan Hansen in April. Dear Evan Hansen will reopen at the Music Box Theatre at a later date.

Which Broadway theatres are open now as normal?

Currently, no Broadway theatres are open for Broadway shows to a full capacity. All Broadway theatres will be allowed to reopen once it is deemed safe enough by New York State government officials.

This includes the Al Hirschfeld Theatre, Ambassador Theatre, American Airlines Theatre, August Wilson Theatre, Barrymore Theatre, Belasco Theatre, Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, Booth Theatre, Broadhurst Theatre, Broadway Theatre, Brooks Atkinson Theatre, Circle in the Square Theatre, Cort Theatre, Eugene O’Neill Theatre, Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, Gershwin Theatre, Golden Theatre, Hayes Theater, Hudson Theatre, Imperial Theatre, Longacre Theatre, Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, Lyceum Theatre, Lyric Theatre, Majestic Theatre, Marquis Theatre, Minskoff Theatre, Music Box Theatre, Nederlander Theatre, Neil Simon Theatre, New Amsterdam Theatre, Palace Theatre, Richard Rodgers Theatre, Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, Shubert Theatre, St. James Theatre, Stephen Sondheim Theatre, Studio 54, Vivian Beaumont Theater, Walter Kerr Theatre and the Winter Garden Theatre.

Can I see a NY PopsUp performance on Broadway?

The nature of NY PopsUp performances are that they’re impromptu and meant to take place with a seemingly spontaneous manner, instead of being planned. Details on some performances will not be released until hours before. Check out NY PopsUp online to discover all the upcoming shows. 

How long is it until Broadway opens again?

Hopefully not too much longer. Theatres are shut to May 30, 2021, which means they could reopen from June. Check back on New York Theatre Guide for the latest information regarding Broadway shows and off-Broadway shows.

On 23 March, Dr. Anthony Fauci stated that “if enough people get vaccinated and if we are careful in reopening and resuming activities, based on current projections, I believe we likely could see a return to more fully open movie and Broadway theaters sometime in the fall." Audience members may have to wear masks in the auditorium in the early days of reopening. And with the news of a Broadway dedicated vaccination site, this time period is looking more likely. 

Which Broadway shows are opening first?

At the moment, it’s currently unknown which Broadway shows will open first. Currently, many shows have projected a fall 2021 reopening date, including new productions and reopening shows.

There are rumors that Hamilton will be the first Broadway show to reopen, with performances to a socially distanced audience from Independence Day, July 4. Further details on Hamilton reopening at the Richard Rodgers Theatre are to be announced.

There’s also livestreamed events being filmed across New York City, as well as streamed productions. Or, if you’re missing regular theatre trips, why not check out the best theatre offerings on streaming services, like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+

Photo credit: Broadway sign (Photo by Jordhan Madec on Unsplash)