Despite the good weather, this week on Broadway was filled with doom and gloom from the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic which continues to cause hardship
Back in the heady days of March 1, 2020, when the first case of Coronavirus was declared in New York City, the very threat of COVID-19 was just looming and the New York City Mayor was not especially worried. At the time, the Broadway League did not yet know how to spell the word 'Coronavirus COVID-19' and Broadway theatre was on track for another record breaking box office year. The big tip-off that trouble lay ahead should have been the fact that four weeks earlier, on Jan. 31, 2020, President Trump had placed travel restrictions on non-Americans coming from China due to the COVID-19 outbreak, but no-one in NYC yet realized the immensity of the problem and less than a month later, Broadway is now closed for the foreseeable future and New York City is the now the world's epicenter of the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. It may be some time before the New York State Governor allows people to return to Broadway Theatres and this puts the whole industry in jeopardy for the future while we wait for the all-clear.
This Week Has Been One of the Worst Weeks in Broadway History:
Terrence McNally Passes Away
Playwright Terrence McNally died March 24, 2020 in NYC from complications from the Coronavirus COVID-19.
Mark Blum Passes Away
Broadway Actor Mark Blum (Desperately Seeking Susan) dies at 69 from COVID-19 March 25, 2020.
Broadway Theatre Opening Dates Moved
With Coronavirus showing no sign of abatement in NYC, The Broadway League is expected to announce a change to the 4 week closure of all Broadway theatres and amend it to a full 8 weeks. It will announce the reopening from the original date of April 12th, 2020 (Easter Sunday) to the new date May 10th, 2020 (Mothers Day).
TONY Awards Cancelled
The TONY Awards show is now postponed (and most likely cancelled) due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The show was scheduled for June 7, 2020 at 8PM and a new date of September 13, 2020 has been proposed, but not yet confirmed.
Broadway Shows Scuttled
The Coronavirus continues to negatively impact Broadway with new shows scuttled including Hangmen and the esteemed revival of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and Flying Over Sunset - all of which will not open on Broadway.
Broadway Actors Contract Virus
Many members from the cast of “Moulin Rouge” have now tested positive for COVID-19 ” and were some of the earliest infections in NYC, which may be connected to one of the actors recent trips to Italy.
Top Broadway Producers Sick
When Broadway was shuttered on March 12, 2020 top producers and theater executives met at ‘Sardi’s’ to lament the closing and many of them then came away with a COVID-19 infection as one of the party members was infected with COVID-19
Mass Unemployment on Broadway
The Broadway affiliated businesses Show-Score, Theatre Development, Spotco and the Pekoe Group all announce cutbacks that include furlough or redundancies due to the financial hit on the Broadway business from the COVID-19 infection. Situation Interactive reports that they have no layoffs or furloughs at this time. AKA has yet to respond to requests for comment. A spokesperson for Serino Coyne denies that their organization has made any cutbacks, but they continue to monitor the situation. A previous version of this story implied that Serino Coyne may have made cutbacks, but that was not correct at the time of going to press and we would like to issue an apology.
Jimmy Awards Cancelled
The Broadway League cancelled the Jimmy Awards, which are the annual Broadway talent showcase for high school musical performers.
Easter Bonnet Cancelled
The annual Easter Bonnet competition, that is hosted by Broadway Cares / Equity Fights AIDS, has been cancelled this year. The event raises money for men, women and children across the country and was scheduled for April 20 and April 21 at the Minskoff Theatre.
A Couple of Positive Notes from this Week Were:
Rosie O’Donnell Raises $500,000 for the Actors Fund
Rosie O’Donnell hosted a one-night-only streaming version of the 'Rosie O’Donnell Show' in which she brought out dozens of top name Broadway stars. The live-streaming, herky-jerky show raised over $500,000 for the Actors Fund in a 3 ½ hour extravaganza that featured songs, music and chat from the anti-Trump maven herself and a cadre of talented stars beamed live from her garage in Saddle River, NJ.
Broadway League Reached a Deal With The Unions
The Broadway League agreed to provide health insurance to Broadway employees during the COVID-19 pandemic The CBUG Coalition of Broadway Unions and Guilds negotiated the terms of the agreement, which provides three weeks of payment contributions to its staff.