Lights Up On Broadway

(From left) Andrew Burnap, Mary-Louise Parker, Aaron Tveit, and Adrienne Warren won Tonys for their various performances in musicals and plays. Theo Warger, Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions

Rebecca LeMoult, Staff Writer

After eighteen months of waiting, Broadway has finally reopened! Like most of the country, Broadway shut down abruptly on March 13, 2020, in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The shutdown had temporary and permanent consequences: Six’s opening night was postponed hours before it was due to begin; Beetlejuice’s planned closure was three months earlier than anticipated, and Mean Girls was closed mid-pandemic. Finally, however, shows have reopened. September 14th was the official opening date for Broadway, however, some shows – such as Springsteen on Broadway, Waitress, and Tony Award winner Hadestown all opened prior to this date (NPR). 

In order to celebrate Broadway’s reopening, an event called Curtains Up was organized in Manhattan. Taking place in and around Times Square, Broadway was celebrated. Whether it was Playbill selling merchandise in a tent or performances by Broadway actors on an outdoor stage, the event was lively and joyous, filled to the brim with those who love theatre. “Broadway has a tremendous impact on the arts in this country and the reopening of Broadway was a huge step forward for both the arts and live entertainment,” says one staff member. The love for theatre and the impact it has on America was clear to see at Curtains Up.

All of this is not to say, however, that Broadway will continue on as normal. Masks must be worn by audiences at all times, and audiences must provide vaccination cards and photo identification in order to be admitted to the venue. Opinions have been split on whether or not this practice should continue. Senior Taline Banks presented her own opinion on the issue: “I think the restrictions and safety protocols are extremely reasonable and I’m 110% willing to comply. Showing proof of vaccination and ID isn’t unreasonable by any stretch of the imagination – it’s like showing your passport at the airport.” Others, however, have argued that those who are not vaccinated should not be denied at theatres, in order to preserve freedom.

Despite controversies, there is still much cause to celebrate. Due to Broadway’s return, the 2020 Tony Awards have finally happened. Moulin Rouge! The Musical and The Inheritance won the night’s biggest awards – Best New Musical and Best New Play, respectively. Jagged Little Pill, A Christmas Carol, and A Soldier’s Play, among others, also won awards.

Finally, it is worth noting that not all Broadway shows have opened just yet. The satirical musical The Book Of Mormon will open on November 5, while a gender-swapped version of Company will resume performances on November 15. Smash hit Dear Evan Hansen will open December 11. Meanwhile, Beetlejuice will reopen next year, in April 2022. So buy your tickets, practice your jazz hands and get ready to go back to Broadway!