Because the night belongs to the vaccinated.
Following the lead of Springsteen on Broadway, which is halfway through its summer run at the Walter Kerr, the Broadway League said it’s requiring audiences to show proof of vaccination at the district’s 41 theaters.
The mandate by the trade association of theater owners and producers coincides with Covid cases rising around the country, fueled by the highly-transmittable Delta variant and uneven vaccination rates. The protocols are in place through October. “We will, as always, keep you updated with changes,” League President Charlotte St. Martin wrote to members on Friday. Masks will also be required inside the theatre, except while eating or drinking in designated locations.
On Thursday, Actors’ Equity Association circulated new protocols, agreed upon by the League, requiring Broadway actors, stage managers and backstage staff to be fully vaccinated. The requirement didn’t extend to audiences; now it does.
“This makes it MUCH more likely that I will get to see a show in the fall,” Howard Forman, a professor of public health, economics and other subjects at Yale University, tweeted after the announcement on Friday. (Dr. Forman is my cousin.)
Bruce Springsteen’s show, which runs through Sept. 4, and Pass Over, a play co-produced by Lincoln Center Theater that begins previews on Aug. 4, previously required audiences be vaccinated.
As at Springsteen and Pass Over, the League will make an exception for children under 12 and adults with a medical condition or closely held religious belief that prevents vaccination. Those theatergoers must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of the performance start time, or a negative COVID-19 antigen test taken within 6 hours of the performance start time.
Broadway is to reopen in earnest this fall. Shows include David Byrne’s American Utopia and the musicals Waitress, Caroline, or Change and Mrs. Doubtfire.