For hundreds of years The Great White Way has been a staple for performers, NYC natives, and tourists alike. With the recent Covid-19 shutdown shuttering its lights for over a year, the industry has been hit harder than ever. The question is, will Broadway bounce back? This is sadly the question on most industry professional’s minds. According to Vulture, the big-ticket shows will most likely be back as soon as possible, but the new trial shows that were set to open in March 2020, will be permanently closed. The fate of Broadway is in the hands of the people who kept it going in the first place, art lovers and tourists.
This huge disruption to the industry has had a huge impact on the actors and various other industry professionals who have found themselves out of a job for over a year. “I’ve had to find other sources of income for my family,” says NYC-based actor David Lee, “I cannot get back to my line of work until this pandemic disappears completely”. Since Broadway shut its doors, 97,000 actors have been put out of a job and have had to find other ways to make a living. “I’ve started doing virtual escape rooms and murder mystery parties to stay afloat, they pay the bills but do not leave much wiggle room for non-necessity purchases.” Some Broadway actors have even turned to Tv and Tik Tok to keep the arts live in their community.
I can really sympathize with what the actors are going through. Since I was five, I have been enamored by the Broadway community and spent many hours staring at the stage as some of the most talented actors performed a crowd-pleasing performance for a sold-out audience. No TV show or movie could compare to seeing people giving their all in an old New York City theater. Since March of 2020, I have been searching for other forms of entertainment that could compare to Broadway, but everything else has fallen short. The community is so special and tight-knit so watching it struggle has been very hard for me as a theatre lover and performer.
If Broadway does not return full swing, there will be no way for children to experience the magic of live theatre that I was exposed to as a child. Keeping kids exposed to the arts is one of the only ways to keep the industry alive and encourage creativity. Seeing the industry start to open back up and offer smaller gatherings is the first sign of a strong return to normalcy post-pandemic.
On April 3rd, the community saw its first glimmer of hope. Broadway vet and Hollywood actor, Nathan Lane, performed an intimate concert in the St. James theatre with an audience of vaccinated frontline workers. This marks the first performance in a Broadway theatre since March of 2020 and serves as a test for future limited engagements. Since then there have been announcements of pop-up outdoor performances through labor day as test runs for future openings as more people get vaccinated.
As of March 19th, the City of New York announced that it would operate at 75% indoor capacity. In an interview with Broadway League President Charlotte St. Martin, she states, “Broadway cannot reopen at anything less than full capacity,” she said. “If the theaters aren’t at least 75 percent full, the shows won’t last. They’ll have to close.” She also shared that the better-known musicals will be the first to open since they are guaranteed to get a full house, while the newer and more experimental shows will have to wait.
What can you do?
Continue to support aspiring actors on social media platforms as well as supporting small businesses
Donate to emergency actors aid funds like The Actors Fund which provides emergency funding to actors in need.
Buy Broadway Tickets as soon as its safe