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When Will The Lights Go Back Up On Live Theater?

Attendees exit the lobby following a special NY PopsUp performance for frontline workers at the St. James Theatre in New York City.
Attendees exit the lobby following a special NY PopsUp performance for frontline workers at the St. James Theatre in New York City.

As more Americans are vaccinated, more American cities are reopening. Restaurants, bars, and event spacesare getting ready for the return of their customers.

But one industry that hasn’t delivered a clear reopening plan is that of live theater. It’s been over a year since Broadway was forced to shut down. Now, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is saying that theaters will be open by September. And for workers who have gone without wages and healthcare for over a year now, that date can’t come soon enough.

As Gordon Cox reports for Variety:

“It’s been a long wait for an industry whose shutdown has left most arts workers stranded without wages or health insurance for months on end, scrambling for unemployment benefits or grants from organizations like The Actors Fund. The halt also marks the extended stoppage of a national economic engine: Arts and cultural activity accounts for 4.5% of the country’s gross domestic product, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.”

We discuss how realistic Broadway’s reopening goals are and what theatergoing will look like after a pandemic.

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