Broadway to reopen at 100% capacity in September

Broadway to reopen at 100% capacity in September
Richard Rodgers Theatre. Photo: Robert Cutts.

After over a year of empty seats, stages and dressing rooms, Broadway is slated to make its return this fall. On Wednesday, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced Broadway theaters can reopen at 100% capacity starting Sept. 14, with tickets set to go on sale beginning May 6.

Details for which shows might reopen in September have yet to be announced, though the Broadway League — the national trade association for Broadway — noted that updates can be found on Broadway.org, where information will be added as it becomes available.

During the press conference, Cuomo’s budget director Robert Mujica noted that ticket sales will help gauge the “appetite” of patrons to return to Broadway, which brings in over about $14.7 billion annually to the New York City economy. Specific guidelines and safety protocols required for the return to theaters remain to be negotiated.

“We are thrilled that Governor Cuomo clearly recognizes the impact of Broadway’s return on the city and state’s economy and the complexity of restarting an entire industry that has been dormant for over a year,” Charlotte St. Martin, president of the Broadway League, said. “We remain cautiously optimistic about Broadway’s ability to resume performances this fall and are happy that fans can start buying tickets again.”

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The news follows an announcement by Mayor Bill de Blasio last week that New York City will be fully reopened by July 1. On Monday, Cuomo stated that capacity restrictions in New York would lift May 19, with venues still required to follow CDC guidelines, including social distancing.

Broadway halted performances in its 41 theaters March 12, 2020. Productions are expected to make return announcements on a rolling basis, with The New York Times reporting that the high-grossing shows “Hamilton,” “The Lion King” and “Wicked” are planning to reveal a mid-September reopen next week.

“Broadway is at the core of our New York identity, and a big part of our economy which employees countless performers and show creators,” Cuomo said. “And beginning this September, the show will go on.”

Top Image: Richard Rodgers Theatre. Photo: Robert Cutts.