Broadway has officially closed its doors for the rest of the year. Some plays and musicals will return safely once possible, others will remain shutdown forever. It’s a huge financial blow, as Broadway generates jobs for the city and gigantic revenue from tourism — but safety first.
Broadway officially closed its doors on March 12th. All 41 of Broadway’s theaters won’t return until January, 2021. Since the virus isn’t slowing down in the United States, The Broadway League gave up on temporary delays, recognized the facts, and announced no more shows until next year. Any tickets for shows booked before January 3rd, 2021, will be refunded.
The Broadway League is the national trade association for the Broadway industry. Their chairman, Thomas Schumacher, made the announcement:
“The Broadway experience can be deeply personal but it is also, crucially, communal. The alchemy of 1000 strangers bonding into a single audience fueling each performer on stage and behind the scenes will be possible again when Broadway theatres can safely host full houses. Every single member of our community is eager to get back to work sharing stories that inspire our audience through the transformative power of a shared live experience. The safety of our cast, crew, orchestra and audience is our highest priority and we look forward to returning to our stages only when it’s safe to do so. One thing is for sure, when we return we will be stronger and more needed than ever.”
Charlotte St. Martin, who’s the President of the Broadway League, added:
“Our membership is working closely with the theatrical unions and in concert with key experts and some of the greatest minds inside and outside of the industry to explore protocols for all aspects of reopening. We are focused on identifying and implementing necessary measures that will enable us to resume performances safely for Broadway audiences and employees. We are determined to bring back the people who rely on this industry for their livelihood, and to welcome back all those who love this vital part of New York City, as soon as it is safe to do so. As so many of us in the Broadway community have been saying during this time – We’ll be back, and we have so many more stories to tell.”
The Longest Shutdown
Following 9/11, Broadway was shut down. The gigantic tourist attraction for the city, however, has never closed for this long. Countless jobs have been lost. How much money will be lost is another question. When Broadway was first shut down in March, it was reported between then and Easter over $100 million would be lost in ticket sales. Insurance will help some theaters survive, of course, but others will struggle. At the time of the closing, there were only around 60 confirmed cases of the coronavirus. Now, there are over 215,000 cases and 17,000 deaths.
Until Los Angeles recently took over as the biggest hotspot in the country, New York City had the most cases. The city now has plans to slow down reopening. Even movie theaters, for example, are no longer in the Phase 4 of reopening, meaning movie theaters may remain closed longer than expected as well. Then again, most movie theaters aren’t as big as Broadway’s biggest theaters, so who knows? As New York City has seen, not everyone is following the social distancing rules.
Over a Billion Lost for Broadway
Between 2017-2018, Broadway made over 1.7 billion dollars. It’s a major part of New York City’s economy, producing jobs and tax money. Without question, over a billion dollars will be lost for the industry this year.