Though there is no word yet on when Broadway performances will resume, the Broadway League has confirmed it won't be until at least June 2021—over a full year since the curtain came down on the Theatre District.
The trade association has announced that all Broadway productions will remain closed through May 30, officially extending the hiatus that was previously scheduled through January 3. Just as the last extension, the news was expected among the industry, particularly as health experts ponder the feasibility of a potential vaccine rollout.
According to the League, these dates are not actual signals of when productions might resume, but rather a determination of how late productions will offer refunds and exchanges. Some shows, such as The Music Man, MJ the Musical, Diana, The Minutes, and American Buffalo, had previously moved their openings to spring of next year in light of earlier closure periods. All five shows—as well as any other productions hoping to help welcome theatregoers back—will now have to replan.
Broadway productions and most New York City performing arts institutions shuttered March 12 in response to the coronavirus pandemic, and have all remained dark since. While some theatre companies across the United States have found ways to present socially distant productions (mostly in open-air spaces), there is little telling when indoor productions will be able to welcome in an audience at a capacity close to that before the pandemic—a necessity for a financially viable commercial production.
In the interim, the League has rallied behind congress' Save Our Stages bill, included in the House of Representatives' current Heroes Act, which remains stalled on the Republican-controlled senate floor. The act would authorize $10 billion in grants to live venue operators to cover rent, payroll, and more during the extended shutdown. Initiatives like the Be An #ArtsHero campaign have underscored the economic contribution the arts provides and the need for relief to arts workers now unemployed or facing income loss.
"With nearly 97,000 workers who rely on Broadway for their livelihood and an annual economic impact of $14.8 billion to the city, our membership is committed to re-opening as soon as conditions permit us to do so," assures League President Charlotte St. Martin. "We are working tirelessly with multiple partners on sustaining the industry once we raise our curtains again."
Additionally, in a move aimed to keep morale high and celebrate a theatre season cut short, the League and the American Theatre Wing are moving forward with a digital presentation of the 2020 Tony Awards; nominations will be announced October 15.