Some of the first Broadway shows to return in the fall will restart gradually.
Six , the pop concert musical that was poised to open when Broadway shut down in March 2020, is offering tickets for six performances a week after it returns on Sept. 17. Exceptions are its first full week of previews — when it’s scheduled for seven performances — and holiday weeks, when it will play seven or eight shows. Its limited performance schedule is through March, according to Ticketmaster, its primary ticket outlet.
Typically, Broadway shows run eight times a week, sometimes adding a ninth performance during peak holiday periods. Producers are concerned that when Broadway restarts, ticket demand will take time to return to pre-Covid levels, especially as international tourists remain scarce and onetime commuters continue to work from home.
The Phantom of the Opera, which opened on Broadway in 1988 and returns on Oct. 22, will be playing six or seven times most weeks, according to its schedule on Telecharge. Chicago, the enduring hit revival that began on Broadway in 1996, will run just five performances most weeks. With the exception of the holidays and its first performance, slated for Tuesday, Sept. 14, when Gov. Andrew Cuomo is permitting Broadway to resume at full capacity, all of its shows are Friday through Sunday.
Broadway’s bestselling shows, including Hamilton, Moulin Rouge, West Side Story and Lion King, haven’t yet announced reopening plans.
Reducing pay and workweeks will require sign-offs from Broadway’s multiple unions. James J. Claffey Jr., president of Local One of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, said he hasn’t struck a deal with the Broadway League, which represents theater owners and producers, for prorating the pay of stagehands for shortened performance weeks. A spokeswoman for the League declined to comment about negotiations with unions.
Since Six went on sale on Thursday, business appears to be brisk, even with premium tickets at $272 — $249 plus online fees. A production spokesman, Adrian Bryan-Brown, didn’t return an email about whether additional performances per week are being considered.
Refund policies have been loosened since pre-Covid-19. The Nederlander Organization, which owns the Brooks Atkinson Theatre, home of Six , said that refunds “will be approved with no questions asked and no additional service fees assessed provided the request meets the terms and conditions outlined herein.” Phantom and Chicago, which are in Shubert Organization venues, said on their sites that for tickets through Jan 17, 2022, “you can either refund or exchange your tickets into any other date until two hours before the performance.”
Theatergoers will return to Broadway at their own risk. According to Ticketmaster’s terms of service, “You assume all risks, hazards, and dangers arising from or relating in any way to the risk of contracting a communicable disease or illness—including, without limitation, exposure to COVID-19 or any other bacteria, virus, or other pathogen capable of causing a communicable disease or illness, whether that exposure occurs before, during, or after the event, and regardless of how caused or contracted—and you hereby waive any and all claims and potential claims against Ticketmaster, Live Nation, and the Event Organizer (as defined in our Purchase Policy)—and against any companies affiliated with Ticketmaster, Live Nation, or the Event Organizer—relating to such risks, hazards, and dangers.”
All the shows say they will follow guidelines of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the state at the time of the performance, and may require masks as well as proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test.