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

How will Broadway reopen again in 2021?

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

Sophie Thomas
Sophie Thomas

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 have opened from 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 was to May 30, 2021.

How long is it until Broadway opens again?

There's two dates. On May 3, Governor Cuomo stated Broadway theatres could open from as early as May 19. But, on May 5, Cuomo said that Broadway theatres could reopen with full capacity from September 14. But, Pass Over began performances on August 4 and Pass Over tickets are on sale now.

How is the Broadway industry reacting to reopening again? 

Obviously, everyone on Broadway is very excited at the thought of theatres opening in a matter of months. As reported in Broadway News, "theatrical offices have been working to ready Broadway productions... compared to prior campaigns... marketing [will] emphasize the emotional promise of the show, rather than its critical acclaim... without announced reopening dates or set protocols for Broadway's return, much of the work being done now can feel like rushing toward an unknown goal... what's clear thus far is that the gears to reopen the industry are in motion." 

Will I have to wear a mask at the theatre?

Full Covid-19 safety protocols for performances at Broadway theatres are in discussion. In a report from Broadway News, "Broadway leaders are evaluating the protocols for audience members and casts. On Monday [17 May], Cuomo said the state would follow guidance... and lift mask and social distancing requirements for vaccinated individuals in most indoor and outdoor settings. This could allow Broadway houses to reopen this fall to maskless patrons." Specific vaccination requirements for audience members are to be announced. 

In a tweet from Michael Paulson at the New York Times, Actors Equity are ending their requirement for the "testing and offstage masking of actors and stage managers at theaters around the country with fully vaccinated companies." Further details on what this means for Broadway theatres are to be announced. 

Governor Cuomo has stated his preference for theatres to make vaccinations mandatory for all audience members. This would mean you need to have had a Covid vaccination before visiting the theatre. 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. 

Will vaccines be made mandatory for Broadway performers?

The Broadway League and the Actors' Equity Association said on July 29 that Covid vaccinations will be mandatory for their workforce. The vaccine mandate means that, in order to be part of a Broadway show, you will need to be vaccinated, except those who cannot for age or health risk. Performers and crews will also be tested weekly, and shows will need a Covid-19 safety manager.  

Read more about vaccine requirements on Broadway here.

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. 

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.

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.  

Which Broadway theatres are open now as normal?

Currently, St. James Theatre is open with Springsteen on Broadway and Pass Over is at the August Wilson Theatre.

Future theatres to open include Al Hirschfeld Theatre, Ambassador Theatre, American Airlines 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, Stephen Sondheim Theatre, Studio 54, Vivian Beaumont Theater, Walter Kerr Theatre and the Winter Garden Theatre.

Which Broadway shows are opening first?

Many shows have projected a fall 2021 reopening date, including new productions and reopening shows. Discover when all Broadway shows are opening in 2021. 

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

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