In the words of Hamilton, “the world turned upside down.”
That was the song the British played as they marched defeated in front of Washington’s army after the Battle of Yorktown.
Up is down. Left is right.
And life as we know it? Halted before our eyes.
COVID-19, better known as the Coronavirus, has taken the world by hurricane. Stores are being ransacked of hand sanitizer, the affected are being quarantined, and any and every public establishment is shutting its doors.
Unfortunately, the same can now be said for Broadway. As two Broadway ushers tested positive for the virus, the Great White Way has dimmed its lights.
This is the first time Broadway theatres closed since the stagehand strike of 2007, when theatres were shuttered for 19 days. Other times include the musicians strike in 1975, after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, as well as after Hurricane Sandy in 2012. The current dimming will be the longest ever in Broadway history.
By order of Governor Andrew Cuomo, Broadway closed its doors on March 12, with performances resuming the week of April 13th. He announced in a press conference, due to rising concerns about the global pandemic, that no gatherings of more than 500 people will be allowed.
President of the Broadway League, Charlotte St. Martin, said in a statement, “Our top priority has been and will continue to be the health and well-being of Broadway theatre-goers and the thousands of people who work in the theatre industry every day, including actors, musicians, stagehands, ushers and many other dedicated professionals.”
This announcement has caught many people off guard. Some Broadway performers found out about the dimming from articles, before their managers told them anything. “Frankenstein” performer Marc Christopher said on Facebook that “the moment when your career of uncertain work becomes almost definite uncertain work.” Many actors are now out of jobs for the next month.
Not only has this caught actors off guard, the shows and attendees were caught off guard as well. “Six,” the concert-style musical sharing the stories of Henry VIII’s six wives, was scheduled to open March 12th.
Now, like many other Broadway shows, most postpone all performances. Additionally, any ticket holders during this dark period now have to contact their point of purchase in regards to refunds or purchases.
Despite the darkening of the Broadway lights due to COVID-19, the Broadway spirit still sings on. Charlotte St. Martin continued her statement saying that “Broadway has the power to inspire, enrich and entertain, and together we are committed to making that vital spirit a reality.”
Once our stages are lit again, we will welcome fans back with open arms so that they can continue to experience the joy, heart, and goodwill that our shows so passionately express every night.”
But for now, give my regards to Broadway!