Broadway Shutdown

Arabella Brown, Staff Writer

The coronavirus pandemic has caused a shift in the way regular life functions for every person in the world. January 21, 2020, was the first day a case of Coronavirus was confirmed in the United States; however, it took over a month and a half for Broadway to eventually shut down. On March 12, 2020, it was announced that all Broadway performances would be canceled through April 12, 2020. As of now, we know that shows are postponed through June 7, 2020, at least, which was also supposed to be the day of the 74th Tony Awards. Due to this, actors, musicians, ushers, stagehands, and thousands of other theater workers in New York state as well as around the world are currently out of work without a definite date of when they’ll be able to go back.
With all these shows closed, a large number of people are out of work. For some shows, this pandemic has sadly cut into their run time on Broadway, leading some shows to be permanently closed. In December of last year it was announced that Beetlejuice would run through June 6, 2020, as it was being evicted due to not the show’s inability to reach a certain amount in sales during the beginning of its run. Due to the pandemic, however, Beetlejuice ended up giving its last performance in early April. Another show, Six, never got the chance to debut. This production was supposed to open on March 12, 2020, the same day the Broadway shutdown was announced. Shows such as Birthday Candles, the revival of Caroline, or Change, and Flying Over Sunset were scheduled to begin previews around this time, but all have been forced to push back these dates. Additionally, numerous off-broadway productions have been closed permanently due to the pandemic. One student, Isabella Nazario (10), had plans to see Hamilton and Miss Saigon at the Fox Theater, but sadly was not able to see them due to the cancellation of shows. Movie musicals, such as the film adaptation of the Broadway show, In The Heights, have had their release dates pushed back to unknown dates. Another student, Ailey Gustafson (10), has season tickets to the Fox, but sadly is not able to see any shows right now.
This pandemic has caused financial stress to all those involved with these productions. These financial losses are definitely hitting Broadway hard this year, considering the financial issues they had last year. In 2019, Broadway investors lost around $100 million due to the closure of over a dozen Broadway productions all at around the same time. Among these shows were Be More Chill, The Prom, and Pretty Woman. While not a lot of information has been released about how the pandemic is affecting investors now, we know it isn’t an excellent time for anyone financially right now. Additionally, there are now hundreds of thousands of theater workers currently unemployed without any way of earning income.
Luckily, musical theater fans don’t have to be worried about not being able to view any productions for months. Streaming sites such as Netflix, Disney +, Amazon Prime, and Broadway HD offer many musicals to stream, a lot of which aren’t on Broadway currently. Additionally, movie musicals, musical soundtracks, and more are available on the Internet and Youtube, ensuring that while we may not be able to see live productions right now, we have no lack of Broadway content to keep us entertained. While Broadway is scheduled to reopen June 7, we don’t know for sure that this will be the reopening date. However, it is better to be safe and healthy than put ourselves and others at risk.