Governor Cuomo Has Given Approval for Broadway Shows to Reopen on September 14, 2021, But When Will Broadway Audiences Return?
The Broadway reopening has been caught up in a confusing fight between NY Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio. Cuomo says that while all NYC capacity restrictions will be eased on May 18, 2021, clearly Broadway is not ready to go. Mayor Bill de Blasio wants to reopen NYC on July 1 and Broadway theatre on July 15th, but he has done little to set it all up.
Cooler heads have prevailed and Tuesday, September 14, 2021 is now the target opening date that all parties can seem to agree on. The 4 month delay gives time for the Broadway productions to get all the parts of the shows working again and to attend to all the changes that they have to make to the aging Broadway theatres and operational protocols in an emerging post-pandemic world.
Broadway Still Drives the NYC Economy
The biggest commercial driver in NYC is clearly Broadway theatre. The industry drives tourism, restaurants, hotels and a huge number of other industries. Broadway is clearly far from ready to actually reopen anytime soon. September 14, 2021 is the new date for the reopening, provided all the logistics with COVID protocols can be met when it comes to protecting actors, crew and the audience. The unions are also going to need a lot of coaxing before they approve anything.
Broadway tickets are going on sale on Thursday, May 6, 2021 for an expected 100% reopening scheduled for Sept. 14, 2021.
Some NYC locals are still here. Many have left the city. There are no tourists. Who is the Broadway audience now?
It's no secret that tourists drive Broadway ticket sales, with as much as 75% of all Broadway ticket going to visitors. With Times Square still looking like an empty shell of its former self, who is going to see Broadway shows after reopening? Many New Yorkers have also moved out of town, which considerably reduces the number of potential Broadway show clients.
Hotels all over NYC are bankrupt and many remain derelict, so even if visitors wanted to come into NYC, where are they going to stay? Even existing hotels gave started to increase their room prices, as there is considerably less room inventory available. So many New Yorkers have moved out of town, especially the ones with 2nd homes. This means that these big spenders are not around anymore to support Broadway. The NYC economy looks pretty bleak in the short-term.
NYC & Company Organization Gets $50 Million Ad-Spend
The NYC & Company Organization bigwigs, Fred Dixon and Charles Flateman, have been given $50 Million by Mayor Bill de Blasio to spend on marketing NYC. This is to attempt to convince tourists that NYC is safe again and that they should return. But in reality, NYC is still a bit of a mess and every out of towner still sees NYC as the epicenter of the pandemic, despite what one of Charles Flateman's ads may want to say.
Broadway Does Not Return Without Tourists and Vice Versa
Even if Broadway reopened today at 100%, it is clear that although the shows would be packed for a few weeks, they would then quickly become empty as the industry would run out of potential clients. The success of Broadway clearly falls into the realm of the return of tourists. NYC & Company leaders Fred Dixon and Charles Flateman may not be up to the task of convincing tourists that Times Square is not the hell hole that it became under their watch.
With ongoing city violence still raging out of control, NYC gun deaths at an all time high and anti-Asian violence permeating across the city, it is a going to be a hard pitch to get tourists to return. NYC hopes for a return to normality soon, but with Mayor de Blasio still on his disastrous "defund the police" strategy, the honorable NYC cops just aren't going to be motivated.
Tuesday, September 14, 2021 could be a new day in Broadway history, and for many, that day cannot come soon enough.