The Broadway League extended the industry’s shutdown through May 30, 2021, bringing theater’s devastating closure to at least 14 months.
The announcement this morning is the fourth time the trade association of theater owners and producers cancelled performances since Broadway was first shuttered in mid-March of 2020. League President Charlotte St. Martin wrote to members that “while we still have no definitive information or confirmed opening date, as productions announce or explore new dates, what is clear is that it won’t be the Spring of 2021.”
The move officially scuttles a second Broadway season and further delays opening nights for several high-profile plays and musicals, including Mrs. Doubtfire, Company, Plaza Suite, The Music Man and MJ the Musical. It comes as schools and business are being closed in parts of Brooklyn and Queens because of rising rates of positive coronavirus test results and is an acknowledgement that the formidable task of reopening Broadway will take time.
The industry’s closure has led to billions of dollars in lost revenue and caused thousands of employees in theater and collateral businesses, such as restaurants, to be furloughed and laid off.
The League had previously cancelled all performances for 2020 and offered refunds through Jan. 3, 2021. There’s no guarantee that this will be the last shutdown extension, which was said to have been decided in consultation with the office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Metropolitan Opera said it will reopen no earlier than the fall of 2021.
St. Martin has noted that Broadway can’t reopen without Cuomo’s permission, and it will be among the last sectors of society to get it. “Our intel in Albany does indicate that they think the mass gatherings may be the last area of business to come back,” she wrote to members back in March.
This post has been updated to reflect the League’s press release.