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Coronavirus pandemic: Broadway has shut down

The bright lights of Broadway have gone dark

This image released by The Public Theater shows Lin-Manuel Miranda, foreground, with the cast during a performance of “Hamilton,” in New York.
Due to the novel coronavirus outbreak, Broadway is shutting down and will remain closed until April 12.
The Public Theater via AP, Joan Marcus

On Tuesday, March 10, several Broadway shows were offering reduced ticket prices to keep the theaters full during the COVID-19 outbreak. But now, two days later, the bright lights of Broadway have gone dark.

What’s going on

  • Due to the novel coronavirus outbreak, Broadway is shutting down and will remain closed until April 12, according to the New York Post.
  • “Our top priority has been and will continue to be the health and well-being of Broadway theatergoers and the thousands of people who work in the theater industry every day, including actors, musicians, stagehands, ushers and many other dedicated professionals,” said Charlotte St. Martin, president of the Broadway League. “Once our stages are lit again, we will welcome fans back with open arms so that they can continue to experience the joy, heart and goodwill that our shows so passionately express every night.”
  • The shutdown comes after remarks from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who called for the closing of all performances at Broadway theaters starting at 5 p.m. ET Thursday, according to the New York Times.
  • Earlier this week, an usher who worked during two major Broadway shows tested positive for COVID-19, according to the Wall Street Journal.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic is the worst crisis Broadway has faced since 9/11, according to the New York Post.

What this means for Broadway shows

  • The shutdown forces a temporary end to the runs of 31 plays and musicals, including crowd favorites like “Hamilton” and “The Lion King,” according to the New York Times.
  • The shutdown comes at a bad time for Broadway — 16 openings were scheduled between March 12 and April 23, the New York Times reported. Several shows will not be able to recover from this setback.
  • “The Minutes,” a new play by Pulitzer Prize-winner Tracy Letts that was set to open Sunday night, is likely to close and never return, the New York Post reported.
  • The new Broadway musical “Six, about the wives of Henry VIII, was scheduled to celebrate its official opening Thursday night. Other shows that were set to open during the shutdown include “Hangmen,” “Company,” “The Lehman Trilogy,” “Diana,” “Mrs. Doubtfire,” “Caroline, or Change” and “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”
  • The new musical “Flying Over Sunset” was supposed to begin previews Thursday night. Rescheduled debut dates are currently unknown, according to Broadway Buzz.
  • April 23 is currently the deadline for shows to open in order to be eligible for the June 7 Tony Awards, according to the New York Times. But that deadline and the date of the Tony Awards may change in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

What it means for the economy

  • The shutdown will likely cost tens of millions of dollars to investors and workers, the New York Times reported.
  • The Broadway industry grossed $1.8 billion and drew 14.8 million patrons last season, according to the Times.

What else

  • Other organizations in New York have announced they are closing, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Metropolitan Opera and Carnegie Hall, according to the New York Times.