Broadway

Police officers patrol New York's Times Square on foot, Wednesday night, April 29, 2020, during the coronavirus pandemic. The New York City immortalized in song and scene has been swapped out for the last few months with the virus version. 

NEW YORK — The shutdown of Broadway has been extended again — until at least early January.

Although an exact date for performances to resume has yet to be determined, Broadway producers are now offering refunds and exchanges for tickets purchased for shows through Jan. 3.

“The Broadway experience can be deeply personal but it is also, crucially, communal,” said Thomas Schumacher, chairman of the board of The Broadway League, which represents producers.

“The alchemy of 1,000 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," he added. “The safety of our cast, crew, orchestra and audience is our highest priority and we look forward to returning to our stages only when it’s safe to do so.”

Broadway theaters abruptly closed on March 12, knocking out all shows — including 16 that were still scheduled to open — and postponing indefinitely the Tony Award schedule. Producers, citing health and city authorities, previously extended the shutdown to June 7 and then again to Sept. 6.

Actors’ Equity Association, the national union that represents actors and stage managers, noted the closure extension and urged lawmakers to include arts funding and loans to help those who work in the live performing arts.

The association is pushing for an emergency $4 billion in supplemental funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities and Corporation for Public Broadcasting, low interest loans for theaters that do not qualify for NEA funding, restoring the business tax deduction for the purchase of live entertainment tickets and the passage of the bipartisan Performing Artist Tax Parity Act.

Broadway grossed $1.8 billion last season and attracted a record 15 million people. Producers and labor unions are discussing ways theaters can reopen safely.

The latest extension wipes away many shows planned for the fall. Many have just moved to next year, including a revival of “The Music Man” with Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster that was to start rehearsals on June 29 BUT will now open in May 2021.

Shows that were to open this spring have abandoned their plans, including “Hangmen” and a revival of Edward Albee’s “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”

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