Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic has closed Broadway theatres from March 12th to April 12th, 2020. The ruling was made by the New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo
Due to the growing infection rate of the Covid-19 Coronavirus, it was previously reported that Broadway theatres are going dark for at-least four weeks to control the spread of the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. All Broadway shows were cancelled starting Thursday, March 12th at 5:00 PM and the initial reopen date was Sunday, April 12th 2020. The new reopen date has not yet been established and is dependent on a decision by the New York State Governor and the federal government on when the CDC COVID-19 guidelines can be relaxed.
This is the first time that Broadway has been closed down since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, which shook the City back in September 2001. The unprecedented decision to close was made by the New York State Governor, Andrew Cuomo on Thursday March 12th 2020, at 2:40 PM. His edict was that “All gatherings of more than 500 people are banned from happening in New York State”. The ‘500 person’ limit was specifically set with Broadway theatres in mind as the smallest Broadway theatre is the Helen Hayes Theatre with just 597 seats. The ban will greatly impact all Broadway shows that were scheduled to perform this season and may do irreparable damage to the Broadway industry.
Which Broadway Shows Will Be Most Affected By The Coronavirus Cancelations?
The newer and smaller Broadway shows will be taking the financial brunt of the Broadway ban. The financials for these smaller shows may only be a drop in the ocean when compared to the bigger Broadway shows, but without a lifeline they may all fail and leave the Broadway stage for good. Shows like Hamilton, The Lion King and Wicked have significant profits and rich benefactors that will keep the shows alive through these tough times, but smaller and newer shows may meet their demise.
The Broadway show Flying Over Sunset which was written by Tony Award winner James Lapine, was set to open in-previews the night of March 12th 2020, but the opening has now been canceled. The show was only scheduled for a 15-week Broadway performance run and the entire schedule will likely be shifted back so it can perform for an equivalent amount of time once Broadway reopens its theatres in mid-April. The Minutes a politically-charged comedy from the Pulitzer Prize winner Tracy Letts, was scheduled to have its red-carpet opening at the Cort Theatre on Sunday, March 15th 2020. The show has most likely lost its chance to perform on Broadway at all because the political material may not be relevant once NYC recovers from the alarming Coronavirus pandemic.
All of the Broadway shows produced by the big-time Broadway producer Scott Rudin had a ticket fire sale that began less than three hours before the announcement from the New York State Governor to close all Broadway theatres. Rudin made the last-minute decision to sell all remaining tickets for his shows for just $50 each, in an attempt to counteract the loss of ticket sale revenues from the Coronavirus Covid19 pandemic. The quick-thinking compromise from Rudin to try and save his shows was ultimately all for naught, because of the Broadway ban that came into effect on the same day, just hours after his ticket sale began. Kudos to Rudin for trying to beat the tik-tok of the Covid19 doomsday clock. Rudin’s shows: The Book of Mormon, To Kill a Mockingbird, West Side Story, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and The Lehman Trilogy (which ironically is about the 2008 stock market crash), will all now have to languish in darkness with the rest of the Broadway shows.
What Broadway Productions Will Do With Pre-Purchased Show Tickets
It is still unclear what show producers will do to reimburse current Broadway show ticket holders for their canceled shows. Producers will have the choice to give current ticket holders new Broadway show tickets for the same show, but on a later date, or refund current ticket holders the full amount they paid for their tickets. As news materializes this story will be updated.