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Broadway will remain closed at least through May

New York

BROADWAY is going to remain closed at least through May 30, which is 444 days after all 41 theatres went dark as part of New York's effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

On Friday, the Broadway League, a trade organisation representing producers and theater owners, announced that it was suspending all ticket sales through that date. But when will Broadway actually reopen?

"That's the question of the hour and the day and the month and the year, because we truly don't know," Charlotte St Martin, the League's president, said on Friday. "Certainly a lot of shows are making their plans, and some think we will open in the summer, and I hope they are right. But I think people's bets are the fall of next year." A League statement suggested that producers imagine a staggered reopening, rather than all theatres opening at once.

"Dates for each returning and new Broadway show will be announced as individual productions determine the performance schedules for their respective shows," the statement explained.

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Ms St Martin said the reopening dates will be determined by producers working with theatre owners.

Soon after the statement was released, MJ, a Michael Jackson biomusical that had planned to open this summer and then next spring, announced that performances would now begin next September. And the revival of The Music Man, starring Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster, which was initially scheduled to open next week, then on May 20, will now begin performances on Dec 20, 2021 and open on Feb 10, 2022.

Several other shows that had rescheduled opening nights for next spring will now need to go back to the drawing board, including the new play The Minutes and revivals of American Buffalo and Take Me Out.

With no clear path to reopening, the shutdown is costing huge amounts of money, not only to producers and performers, but also to backstage workers, Times Square restaurants and the city itself in the form of lost tax revenue. The shutdown is also endangering the careers of artists, and the prospects of artistic works, as the nation's premiere stages are stilled indefinitely. NYTIMES

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