Broadway reopens after eighteen month hiatus


“The show must go on” is the slogan most closely associated with Broadway and the prestigious theater’s resilience. Not even during the 1918 flu pandemic did the theater close its doors, and it is a testament to New York’s dedication to the arts that the theater reopened just two days after the events of the September 11th attacks in 2001.
However, one such challenge the playhouse could not conquer was the COVID-19 pandemic. In March of 2020, Broadway infamously closed its doors, with some shows being released virtually, or through streaming platforms such as Disney+.

Despite these substitutions, avid theater fans knew nothing could replace the experience of live performances and seeing these shows first hand.

Since so much work goes into these shows, the amount of staff working to perfect the performances is numerous. During a typical Broadway season, there are often over 1,200 roles to be filled. This number does not take into account the amount of staff working behind the scenes, but regardless proves the shutdown to be devastating for those working for Broadway.

It is estimated that each year Broadway brings in about 15 million dollars for the New York economy, and supports almost 100,000 jobs. The loss of Broadway for around a year and a half proved to be astronomically devastating for all those involved.

Though, at last, it seems with COVID cases decreasing, and vaccinations being readily available to the public, the wait for the long anticipated return of Broadway is finally over.

Eighteen months since closing, many beloved shows have reopened following the longest shutdown Broadway has ever been faced with. “The Lion King,” “Wicked,” and “Hamilton” are just some of the most popular shows that have returned to center stage.

As concerts, museums, and restaurants have begun to reopen in New York City, it is not surprising Broadway has followed suit. Although accommodations have been made to ensure safety regulations regarding COVID-19 are met.
Patrons are required to present proof of vaccination, while children under twelve are expected to provide a negative COVID test. Anyone attending must also wear a mask at all times.

One BHS staff member, Mrs. O’Brien, recently saw the show “Six,” which she described as, “excellent” and “very entertaining.” She reiterated that all viewers were required to wear masks and provide proof of vaccination, but stated these regulations “did not affect (the viewing experience) at all.”

“The energy from the crowd was definitely heightened,” she stated. After so long without these live performances, many viewers felt the performances to be even more special.

It is clear these regulations are not a deterrent for avid Broadway fans. “I would absolutely return. I’m planning to go again in December,” Mrs. O’Brien continued. In fact, most patrons seem to feel safer, and more comfortable returning with these guidelines in place. “I was happy and glad to see that no one had a problem with wearing a mask.”
Broadway opening up appears to be just one more activity that has finally resumed a semblance of normalcy. As theater fans and staff rejoice, it opens up the broader conversation of the world beginning to return to a pre-COVID world, one step at a time.