The Rockette’s Radio City Christmas Spectacular aired on television recently. It was the first time since 1933 that the Rockettes hadn’t performed at the historic New York City theater.
As we all know by now, Broadway is closed and has been since March to circumvent the spread of COVID-19.
The Broadway League has just announced another extension of the stage shutdown. At least through May 31, 2021. Obviously, hearts and pocketbooks are broken for workers on Broadway from the decision to have NYC productions closed until then.
The hope is to have Broadway reopen before complete devastation of the New York theater scene. There are medium and small theaters that are also in peril. They might not financially make it to a re-opening. For bigger theaters, May 2021 is promising, but probably more realistic would be a series of theater openings in rolling dates for full opening by fall 2021. However, it has been recently announced that the opening night of Hugh Jackman’s revival of “The Music Man” is now planned Feb. 10, 2022.
Charlotte St. Martin, president of the Broadway League, said in a statement, “With nearly 97,000 workers who rely on Broadway for their livelihood and an annual economic impact of $14.8 billion to the city, our membership is committed to re-opening as soon as conditions permit us to do so.”
HMTC is not in New York, but we are being careful too. We are desiring to open when safety allows. Luckily, no one on our staff is depending on our theater for their livelihood.
I have friends and associates who are actors, dancers, playwrights, producers, and casting agents that depend on the New York theater industry. I’m sure they understand the decision. It is still an exceedingly difficult time for these creative people financially. Luckily, to the comfort of many, a vaccine has given hope that life has a chance to return to normal. The question is when is normal going to happen?
Nancy Fliseler wrote an informative article called Getting COVID-19 Vaccine as Fast and as Safely Possible. She states, “The fastest vaccine ever made was four years for the mumps.” This mumps vaccine was introduced in 1967.
The COVID-19 vaccine was made at an extremely rapid pace and introduced 10 months after the Broadway shut down. I am not worried about the fast pace. A lot of medical technology has improved in 53 years. As well, a lot of Broadway has been done since then, too.
HMTC is committed to safety and following the guidelines to protect the public. Our eye is on what is happening in NYC. If theater opens there, HMTC can follow suit.
As the country veers towards hope and economic repair with the COVID-19 vaccine, the new job for theater companies will be to bring people back to live theater. Experts say normalcy should return by Fall 2021. Theater people hope this is true.
Silvia Gonzalez Scherer is the Executive Artistic Director and co-founder of the Hanford Multicultural Theater Company. She is also a playwright and an actress.
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