Broadway has turned to Oprah Winfrey for a little extra push to get theater lovers in seats this fall.
The short two-and-a-half-minute piece draws in contemporary and archival performance footage from 99 Broadway shows, including “Hamilton,” “A Chorus Line,” “The Lion King,” “Dear Evan Hanson,” “Sweet Charity” and more. As the clips and photos of beloved productions and performers roll by, Winfrey promises to viewers: “This is the return of something truly spectacular.”
In addition to a wide campaign online and across public screens in New York City, the “This Is Broadway” campaign comprises a website that culls together Broadway shows to create a theatrical hub for info and tickets.
Upon clicking on the site, visitors are greeted with the Winfrey-narrated video (“This is Broadway, where time stops every time a show starts,” she says during the short’s open). Scrolling down, there are links to shows, special events and safety protocols. The site is punctuated by testimonials from Viola Davis, Hugh Jackman, Scarlett Johansson, Idina Menzel, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Chita Rivera.
The campaign is set to run through the end of the year.
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Broadway’s much-awaited return comes as performance venues adjust to new safety protocols amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In July, the Broadway League announced that all 41 Broadway theaters will require full COVID-19 vaccinations for both audience and crew. Additionally, audience members must wear masks. The requirement is currently in effect through October 2021.
“As we get ready for Broadway’s big comeback, the entire theatre community is committed to the highest level of public health standards,” Nick Scandalios of the Nederlander Organization said on behalf of theater owners in the July announcement. “We’re all eager to welcome our many patrons and fans back to the magic of Broadway.”
Earlier this month, the Broadway League revealed plans for the three-day outdoor festival “Curtain Up!” Slated for Sept. 17-19 and presented in partnership with Playbill, the event will take place in Times Square and will include concerts, performances and panels to welcome back Broadway.