With the coronavirus outbreak, Broadway is dealing with its worst disaster since 9/11. However it acquired a lifeline, albeit a skinny one, from Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who yesterday prohibited gatherings of greater than 500 folks. That ruling permits Broadway producers, whose reveals have been shut down by way of April 12, to gather insurance coverage cash. The funds gained’t cowl the whole lot — and plenty of reveals might shut or not even open — however as one producer mentioned, “It’s one thing.”
As the week started, Broadway appeared decided to stay to the previous adage, “The present should go on.” However as the virus — and the panic — unfold, producers had been shocked to see so many theatergoers clamoring for refunds or new dates. (Telecharge will robotically refund bought tickets for performances between March 12 and April 12.)
After President Trump introduced that he was prohibiting flights from Europe to America, the backside fell out. Vacationers purchase almost 65 p.c of the tickets bought on Broadway, particularly in the spring and summer season.
Till the coronavirus abates, only a few folks will be touring anyplace. Actors Fairness, which represents Broadway performers, advocated for a shutdown. An actor in “Moulin Rouge!” stayed house with a fever, and everyone backstage was frightened of his situation. It’s not been decided if he has the virus.
Broadway producers met Thursday at midday to resolve what to do, and everyone was “calm,” a supply mentioned. The producers realized Broadway needed to shut, however consider the business can bounce again as soon as the worry has abated.
Whether or not a few of its new reveals will survive stays to be seen. Just a few reveals in previews don’t have sufficient money reserves to see them by way of this storm. Tracy Letts’ new play “The Minutes,” which was to open on Sunday, was rumored to be in bother. However a spokesman insists: “‘The Minutes’ will reopen on April 13.”
Martin McDonagh’s “Hangmen,” which gained nice critiques when it performed off-Broadway, was additionally in previews and will discover itself in bother. However its producer Robert Fox says: “We will be taking a look at the state of affairs, and if there may be potential to reopen, we will reopen together with the different performs which might be in the identical state of affairs.”
There have been rumors that Broadway’s longest operating present — “The Phantom of the Opera” — might have to shut down for good. After 32 years, it’s depending on the vacationer commerce, which will be skinny for the subsequent few months. However Andrew Lloyd Webber tells me that he has no intention of closing it. There are “big plans to remarket and refresh it,” says Lloyd Webber, who plans to maintain it open one other 30 years.
Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker had been because of start previews Friday in “Plaza Suite.” They each acquired sick with flu in Boston throughout the out-of-town tryout, and had been understandably anxious about opening throughout the coronavirus outbreak. (Broderick’s sister was simply recognized with the virus.) However they’re each troopers and have let or not it’s identified that when Broadway is up and operating once more, they’ll be able to carry out.
At the finish of the day, that spirit is what will save Broadway. Not solely has the Nice White Method weathered 9/11, however it additionally survived the Nice Despair, the monetary crises of the 1970s and 2008 and one other virus extra lethal than coronavirus: AIDS.
That one worn out untold numbers of theater folks.
Broadway will come again, one press agent says, as a result of “we’re good at staging comebacks.”
And when it does, I see Patti LuPone, the star of the upcoming revival of “Firm,” Broderick, Parker, Hugh Jackman and the casts of “Moulin Rouge!,” “The E book of Mormon,” “Depraved,” “Pricey Evan Hansen” and “Hamilton” main the cost.
If solely Elaine Stritch may very well be there to guide everyone in “I’m Nonetheless Right here,” Broadway’s true anthem, now and perpetually.
“Len Berman and Michael Riedel in the Morning” airs weekdays on WOR Radio 710.