Broadway determined to make a big comeback despite reopening stumbles – .

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Broadway determined to make a big comeback despite reopening stumbles – .


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Stepping into Times Square in New York City today means knowing Broadway is back.

The signs are everywhere.

There’s one at the top of the shiny red steps of the neighborhood’s bustling pedestrianized plaza. In bright lights and big letters, it is written: “Broadway is back. “

There’s a steady rotation of people taking selfies at another sign with the Broadway letters stacked in an Instagram-perfect square. The sign sits next to a kiosk selling theater tours and memorabilia.

On 47th Street, the lines are back at the TKTS booth, the popular discount ticket vendor.

Around the block there are even more back proclamations on theater marquees that have been dark since the coronavirus pandemic hit a year and a half ago.

For the first time in 18 months, Manhattan’s Minskoff Theater is once again open for an evening performance of The Lion King. (Kris Reyes/CBC)

“It’s very symbolic,” said Chris Haywood, executive vice president of NYC & Company, the city’s marketing organization. “It was the dinner bell we were waiting for to signify the return from New York. “

It was in March 2020 that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the closure of all shows, marking the start of the longest shutdown in Broadway history.

His long-awaited comeback started with a few shows this summer, including Springsteen à Broadway. But the curtains really started on September 14 when the biggest productions reopened to full capacity: Hamilton, Lion King, Bad and Chicago.

By the end of the year, 38 shows should be operational again. Currently, 15 salons have reopened.

High stakes

After months of rigorous preparation for the reopening, the stakes are high. The Broadway League, the national trade association for the Broadway industry, estimates the economic loss from the shutdown to be at least $ 1.8 billion.

Already there have been setbacks.

One of Broadway’s most popular shows, Aladin, had to cancel its evening performance on Wednesday, a day after it reopened, due to groundbreaking cases of COVID-19 in the cast and crew.

On its website, the show announced that ticket sales would be refunded and that the health of their cast and crew was the top priority. Performances resumed Thursday.

An actress of the musical Waitress tested positive for the virus and was unable to play on opening night Wednesday. An understudy was hired to replace it and the show continued.

“Despite several thousand tests and hundreds of hours of work each week, a revolutionary transmission is inevitable,” said Charlotte St. Martin, president of the Broadway League.

“However, given the rigor of our COVID protocols and a fully immunized workforce and audience, Broadway is proving to be one of the safest activities of daily life, both behind the scenes and for our audience. “

COVID-19 security guards have become a new mainstay of the theater on Broadway, checking all spectators for identification, masks and vaccination cards. (Kris Reyes/CBC)

New York City began reopening in June, but Broadway was months behind schedule as the industry struggled to meet high safety standards.

Theater owners have banded together to hire an epidemiologist to guide their reopening. Each salon has a team of security guards. Cast members should be fully immunized and are tested twice a week.

Each theater has upgraded or renovated its HVAC air filtration system in accordance with guidelines from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Outside the Minskoff Theater, a large crowd recently gathered for a Tuesday night performance of Lion King.

At the theater door, they were greeted by staff members wearing bright yellow T-shirts identifying them as members of the COVID-19 security team.

div>WATCH | The cast of Come from afar goes through a repetition:

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Rehearsals for Come From Away

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