“Opening up, letting the day in”, it’s official, Broadway’s back! As the world ‘moves on’ from the COVID-19 pandemic, normalities are returning, including the reopening of theatres across the country. Curtains closed and the final lights turned down on March 12, 2020 on the assumption that Broadway would return very soon. Of course weeks turned into months, and it took a toll on the nation to miss this huge part of the Arts in the US.
On September 9, 2021, two of the most popular pre-pandemic shows were the first to have the curtains rise again. Hadestown, the last production to win Best Musical, and Waitress, starring Sara Bareilles, have resumed. Along with those, smash hits like Hamilton, Chicago, Wicked, and many others are coming back in the month of September.
It might seem to some that these dates are too soon amidst the massive spread of the newer COVID variants, but they have been pushed back multiple times over the past year and a half. Now, the owners and operators of all 41 Broadway theatres believe they have come up with a safe way for all to enjoy theater again. Each of the theatres have put in their own COVID-19 guidelines to help protect audience members and back/on stage staff. In theaters in NYC, all audience members are required to wear masks and bring their vaccination cards. There are few exceptions to the fully vaccinated rule: under 12, medical condition, or a ‘closely held religious belief preventing vaccination’. In those cases audience members must present a negative PCR test from within 72 hours of the start of the show, or a negative antigen test from within 6 hours. Backstage actors and crew members must also wear a mask and be vaccinated. Many regional productions are also using these same guidelines, like Frozen (Chicago). Some national tours are following the guidelines put in place by the state at the time of this writing.
Finally we are coming back to some old familiar ways of life, but doing so in a safe way. It’s uplifting to see so many people who lost their jobs during the pandemic able to start up again, while doing what they love and are passionate about. Broadway is a pinnacle in NYC culture and American culture and it’s back and better than ever. Intermission is over folks, and Act II has begun!