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How Is the Broadway Theatre Schedule Affected by the Pandemic?

July 21st, 2020 by Irwin Fletcher Comments

There is not a single industry that has not been affected by the pandemic this year. Some, like medical branches, have been hit hard, while others, like IT, have only been slightly affected. In any case, we had to adapt, and many industries have simply moved everything they do online to protect both the staff and customers. But what about the industries whose whole brand relies on them being live and working with people – but aren’t essential? That’s right, the live entertainment industry has been hit pretty hard, and there are few places where we can see that better than on Broadway.

Who Has Been Affected?

While the audience may only see a couple of people working within the theatre and several actors on stage, Broadway shows are huge productions with hundreds of people working tirelessly behind the scenes. From lights and music to costume design and choreography, it’s a big operation happening every day. And all of those people need to work together and rehearse to keep a show going. So the first priority was, of course, to make sure all of those people are safe, and in the times of social distancing, that is a challenge, and a lot of things had to be put on hold because people simply could not safely do their job in the theatre. Hopefully, this isolation has at least given writers some time and inspiration to focus on new pieces we’ll be seeing in the following seasons.

What Are The Plans?

Times are very uncertain, and it’s hard for the best experts in the world to predict where we’re heading in the next few months. Many things have been rescheduled multiple times, and everyone is keeping an eye on the situation and the newest updates to plan out the future. If you take a look at the Broadway theatre schedule, you can see that there are shows scheduled for September, when we’ll hopefully be able to see our favorite tunes performed on stage. But will this be the same theatre we all remember from last year?

How Will Things Be Different?

When we next enter the theatre, it probably won’t be as glamorous as we remember it – everyone will be wearing masks and gloves, and there might be mandatory temperature checks on the door for everyone’s safety. Perhaps the theaters will be leaving every other seat empty to make sure there’s enough distance between people to keep everyone safe. Perhaps we will even see the actors on stage wearing masks – perhaps carefully stylized to be parts of a costume? There will definitely be changes in place to ensure everyone’s safety, and nobody knows how long we will actually have to live this way and whether this is just the “new normal”.

Ticket Prices

One of the big ways the pandemic has affected people is in the job market, where thousands of people lost their jobs because they just couldn’t be done in the pandemic. This has affected their buying power, because with less money, people won’t be prioritizing Broadway shows that are notoriously pricey. This has affected every for-profit industry across the globe, and this, combined with potentially less available seats due to distancing leaves us all asking – how will the prices change? Is there any middle ground where theatres can keep their doors open while keeping the prices reasonable in the new economy?

Should Broadway Reopen?

Many will argue and say that in the middle of the pandemic, how can we even think about potentially spreading the virus by going to the theatre when that is not anywhere on the priority list? How can we justify going to see a play when social distancing means saving lives? Well, let’s pose a counterpoint – what is the one thing that got us through this pandemic? During the quarantines and police hours, when we had to spend days and weeks inside, often isolated from any social contact? Entertainment. We’ve binged shows, watched YouTube for hours without end and seen every show cable TV has to offer.

And through it all, actors from around the world have been posting content to keep us entertained. This industry helped many to survive isolation, so if there is a way we can go back to seeing them on stage and reliving that little part of our lives in a safe way – we should welcome it wholeheartedly.

How the theatres will develop their plans and adapt to the new normal we are all in – nobody can say. Perhaps we will be separated from the stage with a big glass panel, making the theatre into a big live television program. But once they do reopen their doors, make sure you stay responsible and follow all the rules they set in place to keep us all safe.

I'm an LA journalist who really lives for his profession. I have also published work as Jane Doe in various mags and newspapers across the globe. I normally write articles that can cause trouble but now I write for FTN because Nerds are never angry, so I feel safe.