Following Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s surprise announcement last week that Broadway is tentatively slated (depending, of course, on the future rate of vaccinations and positive COVID findings) to reopen at full capacity in September, a surprisingly large number of Broadway shows have confirmed that they will resume performances over the course of the fall.
The following long-running and newly-opened Broadway shows have confirmed fall reopening dates: “Hamilton” (Sept. 14), “Wicked” (Sept. 14), “The Lion King” (Sept. 14), “Chicago” (Sept. 14), “Come From Away” (Sept. 21), “Aladdin” (Sept. 28), “Tina: The Tina Turner Musical” (Oct. 8), “Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of The Temptations” (Oct. 16), “Jagged Little Pill” (Oct. 21) and “The Phantom of the Opera” (Oct. 22).
New shows that will return to Broadway include “Six” (Sept. 17), “Caroline, Or Change” (Oct. 8), “Mrs. Doubtfire” (Oct. 21), “Diana” (Dec. 16) and “Company” (Dec. 20). “MJ” (the Michael Jackson bio musical) and the revival of “The Music Man” (starring Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster) will both begin previews in December and open in February. As per earlier reports, “American Utopia,” “Plaza Suite,” “The Minutes” and “American Buffalo” are also expected to return.
Several shows produced by Scott Rudin (who has come under fire in recent weeks following allegations of workplace harassment) have still not announced reopening plans including “The Book of Mormon,” “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “West Side Story.” We are also still waiting for updates on “Dear Evan Hansen,” “Hadestown,” “Girl from the North Country,” “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” “The Lehman Trilogy,” “Moulin Rouge!” and “Sing Street.”
All shows are expected to strictly observe federal and state health and safety guidelines in effect at the time of performance, including those relating to air filtration, sanitization, health screenings and mask enforcement measures. At this time, it is unclear whether theatrical employees and/or audience members will need to be vaccinated or at least have proof of a recent negative COVID test. All audience members will likely be required to wear masks.
Many, if not all, shows plan to relaunch by presenting less than eight performances a week, assumedly out of concern that it will take time for audience demand to return to pre-pandemic levels.
In order to encourage people to buy tickets, most shows will allow audience members to exchange or cancel tickets up to two hours prior to curtain time. Disney will even cover all Ticketmaster service and order fees for “The Lion King” and “Aladdin.” However, ticket prices generally appear to be unchanged.
Few shows have announced casting details because producers still need to determine who is and is not returning and new contracts are needed.
Surprisingly, almost no major Off-Broadway theaters have announced plans to present any shows prior to September. If not much else, the Public Theater (which is already set to bring back Shakespeare in the Park this summer with a modern adaptation of “The Merry Wives of Windsor”) will also produce “A Thousand Ways (Part Two): An Encounter,” a live, private, one-on-one theatrical experience, beginning June 8.