Broadway theaters to remain off-limits to audiences through May 2021 due to COVID-19

Broadway theaters to remain closed until January 2021 in New York
A man walks past the shuttered Minskoff Theatre

Theaters on the Great White Way will remain closed to audiences through at least the end of next May due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Broadway League announced Friday morning.

All ticket sales for Broadway performances will remain suspended through at least May 30, 2021. Individual productions will determine the performance schedules for their shows thereafter.

Broadway theaters have been dark since March 12 of this year, when capacity restrictions were imposed due to the growing pandemic in New York City. The pandemic brought the curtain down on 31 active productions, including eight shows in previews. It also stopped eight other productions that were in rehearsal for a spring opening.

Most Broadway theaters seat more than 1,000 people, often in tight quarters — making social distancing a near-impossibility. 

“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,” said Charlotte St. Martin, president of the Broadway League. “We are working tirelessly with multiple partners on sustaining the industry once we raise our curtains again.”

The Broadway League represents not just the Theater District in Manhattan but hundreds of other theatre owners and operators, producers, presenters and general managers across North America.

The organization is among the supporters of the Save Our Stages Act, a federal bill aimed at providing much-needed financial relief to actors, crew, production companies, venue operators and other sectors of the live entertainment industry impacted by the pandemic.

The head of the union representing Broadway casts, Actors’ Equity, expressed dismay over the news and called for a new round of federal assistance to help struggling thespians.

“This is a deeply painful time for everyone who depends on the arts for their livelihood. We are at this moment because, seven months into the pandemic, our nation still lacks a coherent national strategy for masks and testing which could help bring the virus under control,” said Mary McColl, executive director for Actors’ Equity Association. “Too many in the industry need help now as we face another six months without work. The ongoing lack of work in the arts means we face a critical need for a federal COBRA health insurance subsidies, renewed federal unemployment benefits and arts funding. Washington must act.” 

Anyone who has Broadway show tickets for dates through May 30, 2021 should contact their point of purchase for refund and exchange information, the League noted.