The Lights To Stay Out On Broadway For Another Few Weeks Due To COVID-19

Credit: Playbill

“Empty spaces, what are we living for?
Abandoned places, I guess we know the score, on and on
Does anybody know what we are looking for?…
…The show must go on
The show must go on, yeah
Inside my heart is breaking
My makeup may be flaking
But my smile, still, stays on.”

So laments Freddie Mercury in the Queen classic, but for Broadway fans, it’s going to be just that little bit longer before the show can go on.

In an unprecedented move, the Broadway League, the trade organisation that represents Broadway producers and theatre owners, shut down all productions from March 12 due to the coronavirus pandemic. In an effort to reduce the spread of the virus and following advice from medical experts and government restrictions imposed by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on social distancing and limits on crowd gatherings, theatres were to be dark until next Monday (April 13). However, the shutdown has now been extended.

As the number of infected New Yorkers and the death toll continues to climb, it came as no surprise that on Wednesday (April 8), the Broadway League made the announcement that the current shutdown will continue another eight weeks till June 7.

“Our top priority continues to be the health and well-being of Broadway theatregoers and the thousands of people who work in the theatre industry every day, including actors, musicians, stagehands, ushers, and many other dedicated professionals.” said Charlotte St. Martin, President of the Broadway League. “Broadway will always be at the very heart of the Big Apple, and we join with artists, theatre professionals, and fans in looking forward to the time when we can once again experience live theatre together.”

While many within the industry and fans alike are hoping that business will then be able to return to some kind of normality, we should prepare ourselves that that might not be the case and the shutdown could be further extended depending on how the next few months play out. “We’re hopeful that the restrictions will be lifted by June 7,” St Martin said in a New York Times interview. “If they’re not, we will continue to monitor government restrictions and will advise ticket holders as soon as we know what those restrictions are.”

The extended shutdown leaves a number of productions in doubt, or having finished their runs earlier than anticipated. In the current shutdown period, 16 shows were scheduled to open. Ticket holders for cancelled performances are being contacted in regard to refunds and exchanges (I have already been contacted by Telecharge about my ticket for American Buffalo). If you haven’t received an email from your point of purchase by April 12, you are advised to contact them for information on refunds and exchanges.

Clare Sidoti
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