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amBroadway | Special Tony Award winners announced, ‘Springsteen on Broadway’ updates vaccine requirements and more

(L to R) Aneesa Folds, Wayne Brady, Arthur Lewis, and Daveed Diggs in Freestyle Love Supreme at The Booth Theatre.
Photo by Joan Marcus

Special Tony Award winners announced

While the Tony Awards for the truncated 2019-2020 season will not be announced until September, it has now been confirmed that Special Tony Awards will go to David Byrne’s ensemble mega-concert “American Utopia” (which was filmed for HBO and will return to Broadway in the fall), the hip-hop improv comedy jam “Freestyle Love Supreme” (which was the subject of a recent Hulu documentary and will also return to Broadway) and the Broadway Advocacy Coalition (an organization founded in 2016 which brings together artists and professionals to address policy issues).

Public Theater increases theater capacity for ‘Merry Wives’

Your odds of scoring a free ticket to the upcoming Shakespeare in the Park production of “Merry Wives” just significantly increased. Earlier this month, the Public Theater advised that in order to comply with social distancing requirements, attendance at the production would be limited to 428 seats (25 percent of the Delacorte Theatre’s capacity). However, according to an update on the Public Theater website, in light of the recent loosening of COVID-19 restrictions for performing arts venues by Governor Cuomo, they are “currently working to increase the Delacorte’s capacity and update our health and safety protocols.” According to an email from the theater, the theater will be at “nearly full capacity, with limited sections of physically distanced seating” and “all audience members will be asked to wear a mask.”’

‘Springsteen on Broadway’ updates vaccine requirements

When the encore run of “Springsteen on Broadway” was announced two weeks ago, the show’s producers warned that audience members could only attend if they had been received an FDA-approved vaccine (i.e. Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, Johnson & Johnson).  This led to a bit of uproar from those who received the AstraZeneca vaccine outside the U.S. In response, the policy has been amended to allow entry to those who have received a vaccine approved by either the Food and Drug Administration or the World Health Organization. Exceptions to the vaccine requirement will be made for “children under the age of 16, or those who need reasonable accommodations due to a disability or sincerely held religious belief” and who test negative in advance. 

Scott Rudin shows moving on without him

Slowly but surely, progress is being made in bringing the shows produced by Scott Rudin (who has been sidelined following allegations of repeated workplace harassment) back to Broadway. New plans have now been announced for “The Music Man” (which is sure to be a huge hit thanks to Hugh Jackman’s star power and the beloved title), “To Kill a Mockingbird” (with Jeff Daniels and Celia Keenan-Bolger returning to the cast), “The Book of Mormon” and “The Lehman Trilogy” – all of which involve other producers taking over Rudin’s responsibilities. The final holdout is the splashily avant-garde revival of “West Side Story,” which opened at the Broadway Theatre shortly before the pandemic began. Compared to the other shows, bringing “West Side Story” back would appear to be more financially risky. The upcoming film remake of “West Side Story” may also be a factor in the decision. 

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