In March 2020, when Broadway shows were indefinitely postponed and the venues shuttered, nobody in the theater world knew when they’d return to their careers and livelihoods. Some actors even left their dressing rooms filled with personal items, thinking they would be back within a few weeks to resume performances.
Instead, Broadway shows, plays, and musicals, all NYC theatre tourism, has been on pause for over a year. After incredible success in 2019, one of the highest grossing years for theatre productions, the Broadway box office was estimated to make another 1.8 billion in tickets in 2020. It’s immeasurable, how much has been lost to this year of not performing. A year of darkness for the Broadway theater lights of Times Square.
Now, the wait is finally over. Broadway is back, its doors open and houses finally full. Fall 2021 marks the return of Broadway staples, in addition to the opening of several new musicals and plays. From the must-see shows of this season, to new COVID safety protocols for audiences, here is what theater fans can expect in 2021.
Which Broadway shows will reopen in the fall?
30 shows are scheduled to run through the end of 2021. About half of them will kick off in September, while the rest will be spread out over the final quarter of the year. The Broadway League is being cautious, not wanting to overestimate the amount of theatergoers who are ready to buy tickets for the fall. “Does the pent-up demand explode and then go dormant? If we don’t put our toe in the water, we won’t know,” said Sue Frost, a producer of Come From Away, in the New York Times.
One of the first musicals to reopen on Broadway post-pandemic is Hadestown at the Walter Kerr Theatre. The juggernaut musicals, such as Hamilton, The Lion King, and Wicked are among the first to return, followed shortly by Lackawanna Blues and Moulin Rouge!
When it comes to Broadway reopening this Fall, your options are accruing as the league continues to find it safe enough to perform. Chicago, Aladdin, David Byrne’s American Utopia, Freestyle Love Supreme, and Come From Away will also be among the first productions to light up the Great White Way after over a year of empty theaters.
Ain’t Too Proud- The Life and Times of The Temptations will resume performances at the Imperial Theatre. Another music-bio musical, Girl from the North Country, will resume performances at the Belasco Theatre.
The Book of Mormon will resume later this fall, on November 5th, at the Eugene O’ Neill Theatre. Clyde’s, a new play by Lynn Nottage, the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, and Company, will also open in November.
Will patrons be required to wear masks?
Yes. Through October 31, 2021, audience members will be required to wear a mask. Additionally, all theater-goers will have to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination in order to attend the show. According to the Broadway League, theaters might relax restrictions in November “if the science dictates.”
How long do you have to be vaccinated before attending a Broadway show?
According to the Broadway Direct website, you are a fully vaccinated individual if it’s been:
- at least 14 days since their second dose of an FDA or WHO approved two dose COVID-19 vaccine, or
- at least 14 days since their single dose of an FDA or WHO approved single dose COVID-19 vaccine.
According to Broadway Direct, the only exceptions are:
- guests under the age of 12, who must be accompanied by an adult that meets our Theatres’ vaccination requirements; or
- guests who need reasonable accommodations due to a medical exception or a sincerely held religious belief
This policy had already been tested, and enforced, for Springsteen on Broadway which made its return on June 26th. The show reopened at the St. James Theatre to a sold-out crowd of 1,721 people. “All of New York’s 41 Broadway theaters are mandating documentation of full vaccination before allowing indoor entry to patrons, performers, backstage crew and theater staff for all shows,” Broadway League said in a statement.
The night Hamilton reopened at the Richard Rodgers Theatre, Lin Manuel Miranda stood outside the theater with a bullhorn to lead a group of Broadway performers through a round of the famous song, “New York, New York.” It was a big night for theater, but with some changes.
“Get a mask, get vaccinated, and come see live theater!” Miranda said through the bullhorn to the tourists and New Yorkers gathering around him. The unsaid reality beneath Miranda’s playful moment before the first Hamilton performance in over 18 months: Broadway’s ability to thrive in 2021 is dependent on vaccinated tourists coming to their shows.
How to Find Cheap Theater Tickets
We know how expensive it can be to attend a Broadway show. When you’re already paying hundreds of dollars to see theater, the fees at checkout can be back-breaking.
You don’t want to miss out on the iconic, and emotional, reopening of Broadway after its longest break in history. You also don’t pay more than you have to to be in attendance. Get your Theater Tickets, today.