With the continued presence of COVID- 19 around the world, industries large and small remain heavily impacted. Among these industries is Broadway, which has been shut down indefinitely since last spring. According to Greg Evans of “Deadline,” the shutdown has led to a 52 percent unemployment rate among working actors in the community.
However, the arrival and subsequent distribution of COVID-19 vaccines have sparked the possibility of a gradual reopening of Broadway within the coming months. However, this outlook does not come without caveats.
According to “New York Theatre Guide,” Broadway is to remain closed through May 30, 2021. The actual reopening of Broadway, when and if that is to take place, is shaping up to be a tricky process. Those working in the industry have shared what they believe to be ways in which Broadway can be further immortalized given the current state of the world.
Lin-Manuel Miranda, the composer and lyricist of “Hamilton,” believes that “producers are going to have to start thinking about how they’re going to capture their work because in capturing it they can actually capture a much larger audience for their live show.”
Even with this knowledge in mind, there is still uncertainty among many about whether or not Broadway will be able to thrive the way it once did, at least as soon as we wish. Josie Gold, a musical theater major, shared her perspective on the matter.
“It will depend on people’s ability to follow health and safety guidelines,” said Gold. “Broadway would definitely have to make changes if they were to return this year.”
As things stand, the future of Broadway remains up in the air. However, that does not mean live performances cannot exist as we know them. Greensboro College’s theater department has already shown throughout the fall semester and with their most recent production, “You Don’t Know Me,” that live theater can continue to be a functioning art medium so long as the necessary guidelines are put in place and adhered to.
Of course, this will severely limit the overall accessibility of live theater for many people.
“Eventually live performances will return,” said Professor Jo Hall. “There may be more streaming of controlled performances until then. But without a live audience, it is not really theater.”
Only time will tell if Broadway will return to what it once was, but we should not lose hope for the performing arts.
By Nicholas Sherbine