Broadway Theaters to Remain Closed Until January 2021

Some shows are likely to open even later in the new year

Eugene O'Neill Theatre
Broadway theaters won't be reopening this year.
Ajay Suresh/Creative Commons

If you’d been thinking about making a return trip to see your favorite play or musical on Broadway in the coming months, you’re going to have to wait a little bit longer. At The New York Times, Michael Paulson reports on a new development in the world of event cancellations and postponements. It’s a big one. The Broadway League announced that theaters will offer refunds and exchanges on tickets for performances scheduled before January 3, 2021.

That doesn’t mean that on January 4, things will return to a pre-coronavirus normal on Broadway, however. Via a statement, the Broadway League said that “[r]eturning productions are currently projected to resume performances over a series of rolling dates in early 2021.”

A number of new productions are currently scheduled to open a few months into the new year. Paulson cites a few high-profile examples:

The earliest date chosen thus far is for “The Minutes,” a new play by Tracy Letts, which hopes to open March 15. A revival of “American Buffalo,” a play by David Mamet, is aiming for April 14; “MJ the Musical,” a new show about Michael Jackson, says it will open April 15, and “The Music Man,” a revival starring Hugh Jackman, plans to open May 20.

The impact of Broadway being closed on New York City’s economy is substantial. In April, after theaters had been closed for several weeks, Mark Harris at Vulture explored the effects of that closure. Harris notes that “Broadway generated more than $1.8 billion in revenue and filled 14.7 million seats last season.” A break of a year or more is likely to have substantial effects on the industry itself, as well as nearby restaurants and bars. The public health concerns that led to this decision indicate that it’s the correct one; nonetheless, the impact will be massive.

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