Broadway Readies Ticket Sales for a Fall Reopening

by Mark Kennedy

Associated Press

Wednesday May 5, 2021

Broadway posters hang outside the Richard Rodgers Theatre during Covid-19 lockdown in New York.
Broadway posters hang outside the Richard Rodgers Theatre during Covid-19 lockdown in New York.  (Source:Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Many Broadway productions are scrambling to resume ticket sales in the coming days to welcome theater-goers this fall after city and state leaders have green-lit a reopening of the Great White Way at full capacity by mid-September.

"We remain cautiously optimistic about Broadway's ability to resume performances this fall and are happy that fans can start buying tickets again," Charlotte St. Martin, president of the Broadway League, said in a statement Wednesday.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Broadway theaters can reopen Sept. 14 and will be allowed to decide their own entry requirements, like whether people must prove they've been vaccinated to attend a show. Selling tickets will allow theaters to gauge interest before stages open, said Robert Mujica, Cuomo's budget director.

The Broadway that reopens will look different. In May, the big budget Disney musical "Frozen" decided not to reopen when Broadway theaters restart, marking the first time an established show had been felled by the coronavirus pandemic. Producers of "Mean Girls" also decided not to restart.

But there will be new shows, including Antoinette Chinonye Nwandu's "Pass Over" that is slated to reopen the August Wilson Theatre, the same venue "Mean Girls" has vacated. And a Shubert theater has been promised for playwright Keenan Scott II's play "Thoughts of a Colored Man."

The lifting of all capacity restrictions has long been considered by the industry as crucial to any reopening plan since Broadway economics demand full venue capacity. Some off-Broadway shows have opened with limited capacity.

All city theaters abruptly closed on March 12, 2020, knocking out all shows, including 16 that were still scheduled to open.

Some scheduled spring 2020 shows — like a musical about Michael Jackson and a revival of Neil Simon's "Plaza Suite" starring Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker — pushed their productions to 2021. But others abandoned their plans, including "Hangmen" and a revival of Edward Albee's "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?"

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