Broadway will remain closed until at least May 30, 2021 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The Broadway League, the national trade association for the Broadway industry, said Friday it was continuing to suspend ticket sales for theater shows until that date.
“With nearly 97,000 workers who rely on Broadway for their livelihood and an annual economic impact of $14.8 billion to the city, our membership is committed to re-opening as soon as conditions permit us to do so. We are working tirelessly with multiple partners on sustaining the industry once we raise our curtains again,” Charlotte St. Martin, president of the Broadway League, said in a statement.
The availability and efficacy of a vaccine and the safety of performing and sitting indoors remain the two unknown variables governing Broadway’s return date. Friday’s announcement means Broadway will be shut down for over a year, having been initially shuttered on March 12 because of the pandemic. The extended closure means continued financial hardship for Broadway’s actors and production staff, as outlined by actor Nick Westrate in The Daily Beast in June. The HEROES Act, which would include $10 billion allotted to live venue operators, is currently stalled in the Republican-controlled Senate.
The League said that each returning and new Broadway show will be announced as individual productions determine the performance schedules for their respective shows.
“My heart breaks for everyone who works on Broadway or depends on it to make their living. Today the Broadway League made the difficult but responsible decision to put the safety and health of their workers and audience first. This is a deeply painful time for everyone who depends on the arts for their livelihood. We are at this moment because, seven months into the pandemic, our nation still lacks a coherent national strategy for masks and testing which could help bring the virus under control,” said Mary McColl, executive director for Actors’ Equity Association in a statement.
“Too many in the industry need help now as we face another six months without work. The ongoing lack of work in the arts means we face a critical need for a federal COBRA health insurance subsidies, renewed federal unemployment benefits and arts funding. Washington must act.”