Canada markets closed
  • S&P/TSX

    21,216.15
    +3.76 (+0.02%)
     
  • S&P 500

    4,544.90
    -4.88 (-0.11%)
     
  • DOW

    35,677.02
    +73.94 (+0.21%)
     
  • CAD/USD

    0.8091
    +0.0007 (+0.09%)
     
  • CRUDE OIL

    83.98
    +1.48 (+1.79%)
     
  • BTC-CAD

    75,606.14
    -361.95 (-0.48%)
     
  • CMC Crypto 200

    1,453.34
    -49.69 (-3.31%)
     
  • GOLD FUTURES

    1,793.10
    +11.20 (+0.63%)
     
  • RUSSELL 2000

    2,291.27
    -4.92 (-0.21%)
     
  • 10-Yr Bond

    1.6550
    -0.0210 (-1.25%)
     
  • NASDAQ

    15,090.20
    -125.50 (-0.82%)
     
  • VOLATILITY

    15.43
    +0.42 (+2.80%)
     
  • FTSE

    7,204.55
    +14.25 (+0.20%)
     
  • NIKKEI 225

    28,804.85
    +96.27 (+0.34%)
     
  • CAD/EUR

    0.6942
    -0.0010 (-0.14%)
     

Broadway's return is a time for celebration, but what happens next?

·3 min read

Following a curtain call that capped off thunderous applause and appreciative ovations that peppered the re-opening performance of "Wicked" Tuesday night, the curtain came down.

And no one left.

The audience remained fixed in place, basking in the moment, not ready to let go of the magic the return to live theater on Broadway brought after 18 months away.

Minutes passed. The applause and cheers only grew louder.

And then the curtain was raised once more. The cast took another bow, the exchange between audience and company speaking volumes.

It's been a hard road to get to this moment, filled with sacrifice, heartache, sweat, tears and logistics on the parts of so many.

The re-opening night of "Chicago" on Sept.14, 2021.
The re-opening night of "Chicago" on Sept.14, 2021.

Yet the work to sustain an industry that itself sustains so much of the lifeblood of New York City has in many ways also just begun.

The future is a question mark in a world still facing a pandemic that surges and mutates. As a result, keeping Broadway companies and audiences safe presents several challenges.

Nanny’s Band (Ayode Maakheru on vocals/guitar, Booker King on bass, Barry Harrison on drums, Matthew Skoller on harmonica) plays outside the theater before the first performance of "Lackawanna Blues" on Sept. 14, 2021.
Nanny’s Band (Ayode Maakheru on vocals/guitar, Booker King on bass, Barry Harrison on drums, Matthew Skoller on harmonica) plays outside the theater before the first performance of "Lackawanna Blues" on Sept. 14, 2021.

Looking forward

Broadway officially returned last month, with the new play "Pass Over." At the start of September, it was joined by the returning musicals "Waitress" and "Hadestown." "Hamilton," "Wicked," "Chicago," "The Lion King" and "Lackawanna Blues" held their first performances on Sept. 14, and more productions will join the ranks throughout the next few months and into early 2022.

Junior Mack and Ruben Santiago-Hudson during the first performance of "Lackawanna Blues" on Sept. 14, 2021.
Junior Mack and Ruben Santiago-Hudson during the first performance of "Lackawanna Blues" on Sept. 14, 2021.

The early openings, as well as touring companies across the country getting underway, have given the Broadway League reasons for optimism regarding ticket demand and production safety protocols, St. Martin said.

More: Broadway to require COVID vaccination for audiences in the fall

"Well, I have a very cloudy crystal ball," she said. "Because we don't know (what the future holds). What we know right now is that ticket sales are great for September, and many shows in October."

The re-opening night of "Chicago" on Sept.14, 2021.
The re-opening night of "Chicago" on Sept.14, 2021.

St. Martin said ticket sales so far, combined with the success of COVID-19 protocols, are promising signs for the industry.

Broadway: Norbert Leo Butz chats 'Debris', journeys and the power of 'Rent'

"Our very, very thorough and strict protocols, so far — I'm knocking on wood, by the way — have not led to any outbreaks. We have had one show open for six weeks, and several more for a couple of weeks. A couple of weeks from now, (if) there are no outbreaks, I think what we're feeling is that our protocols are working. We spent 18 months developing them with our colleagues in the union, to ensure that the audience, the cast and the crew are safe. I say to everyone, as much as we would like to have opened in two weeks, that we would not open until we felt assured that we were delivering the best possible safety that could be delivered."

New York State Sen. Brad Hoylman (from left), Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney, Manhattan Theatre Club Executive Producer Barry Grove, S. Epatha Merkerson, Brian Stokes Mitchell, MTC Board Chairman David Hodgson, NYC Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Vicki Been, New York State Council on the Arts Executive Director Mara Manus, Commissioner of the New York City Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment Anne Del Castillo, President and CEO of New York & Company Fred Dixon and President of Times Square Alliance Tom Harris take part in a ribbon-cutting ceremony outside the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre before the first performance of "Lackawanna Blues" on Sept. 14, 2021.
New York State Sen. Brad Hoylman (from left), Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney, Manhattan Theatre Club Executive Producer Barry Grove, S. Epatha Merkerson, Brian Stokes Mitchell, MTC Board Chairman David Hodgson, NYC Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Vicki Been, New York State Council on the Arts Executive Director Mara Manus, Commissioner of the New York City Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment Anne Del Castillo, President and CEO of New York & Company Fred Dixon and President of Times Square Alliance Tom Harris take part in a ribbon-cutting ceremony outside the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre before the first performance of "Lackawanna Blues" on Sept. 14, 2021.

She said the industry is keeping a close eye as things develop.

"We're watching it, we're not sticking our heads in the sand acting like everything is hunky dory," she said. "But we're cautiously optimistic based on what we're seeing."

This article originally appeared on Asbury Park Press: Broadway is back, but how do we ensure it stays open?

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting