After announcing that most COVID-19 capacity restrictions will be lifted in New York and New Jersey beginning on May 19, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said today that Broadway can reopen at 100 percent capacity beginning on September 14.
“Broadway is at the core of our New York identity, and a big part of our economy which employs countless performers and show creators, and beginning this September, the show will go on,” he said during his announcement on May 5. “The simplest formula? 100 percent vaccinated. You want to come to a theater? 100 percent vaccinated. The theaters will have to make those decisions. You want to open with 100 percent vaccinated? God bless.”
Theaters will be subject to the state’s final approval of each theater operator’s health and safety protocols. Ticket sales are aiming to resume this month.
“We are thrilled that Governor Cuomo clearly recognizes the impact of Broadway’s return on the city and state’s economy and the complexity of restarting an entire industry that has been dormant for over a year,” said Charlotte St. Martin, President of the Broadway League, in a statement. “We remain cautiously optimistic about Broadway’s ability to resume performances this fall and are happy that fans can start buying tickets again.”
The Actors’ Equity Association also responded to the announcement. “Today’s news means we are one step closer to the safe reopening of not just Broadway, but jobs for thousands of workers in the New York area,” said Mary McColl, executive director of AEA. “We look forward to continuing our conversations with the Broadway League about a safe reopening and know that soon the time will come when members can go back to doing what they do best: creating world-class theater.”
Broadway theaters shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic on March 12, 2020. At that time, 31 productions were running, including eight new shows in previews. Additionally, eight productions were in rehearsals preparing to open that spring. Shows were initially set to be shut down through April 12, 2020 then through June 7, 2020 then through September 6, 2020 and then through January 3, 2021. May 30 was the most recent target date for Broadway’s reopening.
Off-Broadway, Blindness, Perfect Crime and The Office! A Musical Parody have already begun performances with COVID-19 safety procedures in place as well as reduced capacity. Broadway’s Diana is set to begin performances on December 1 and The Music Man is scheduled to begin performances on December 20.