The Broadway League announced Monday that all shows will be closed through the end of 2020.
Ticket refunds will be processed through Jan. 3. As previously reported, the Jan. 3 date is not intended as a return date but rather a means to process ticket refunds.
Returning productions are currently expected to reopen “over a series of rolling dates in early 2021,” according to the League. Other commercial productions, including “The Minutes,” “American Buffalo,” “The Music Man” and “Caroline, or Change” have already announced opening dates in the spring.
As the League envisions it, the return of theater will involve “full houses,” suggesting that social distancing measures are not in consideration.
“The alchemy of 1000 strangers bonding into a single audience fueling each performer on stage and behind the scenes will be possible again when Broadway theatres can safely host full houses,” said Thomas Schumacher, chairman of the Broadway League and president and producer of Disney Theatrical Productions.
In the meantime, the League said it is working with city and state officials as well as health experts on protocols for reopening. The League is considering screening and testing for audience members and employees, as well as cleaning and sanitizing inside theaters.
“Our membership is working closely with the theatrical unions and in concert with key experts and some of the greatest minds inside and outside of the industry to explore protocols for all aspects of reopening. We are focused on identifying and implementing necessary measures that will enable us to resume performances safely for Broadway audiences and employees,” Charlotte St. Martin, president of the Broadway League, said in a release.
Actors’ Equity praised the decision to keep the theaters closed, but given the extended closure, urged legislators to include arts funding in the upcoming relief packages.
“While the HEROES Act has important provisions on unemployment and health insurance subsidies, what is sadly missing is arts funding and loans that will enable the live performing arts to quickly reopen and help the economy grow,” said Brandon Lorenz, director of communications for Actors’ Equity.