Broadway in a Post Pandemic World
Out of most popular professions that were affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, most people do not realize the effect the pandemic had on the world of the arts. Not only is the field composed of mostly independent musicians, artists and performers, but of both Broadway and off-Broadway actors who rely on live performances to further their careers and earn an income. When the world shut down in March of 2020, some people had the opportunity to continue working from home as some may have more flexible professions that allow them to work remotely, without physically going into an office everyday of the week. Some of these professions included; digital marketing specialists, social media managers, medical billing representatives, customer service agents, etc. However, a majority of the professions that require in-person activity and presence suffered immensely due to the outcome of the shutdown.
One of the work forces that was most greatly affected by the pandemic was the world of theater, specifically Broadway performers in New York City were key targets. Obviously, because such a fast spreading and contagious virus strictly took over the U.S. for nearly two years until restrictions were lifted, in person theater was not something accessible that had the ability to continue throughout the course of the most strenuous lockdown period. In fact, it took much longer to ease into getting back into a full house theater without any social distancing. Only recently, did Broadway lift both their mask and vaccine mandates.
On March 12, 2020, all 41 Broadway theaters were forced to shut their doors to the public, and finally reopened in September of 2021. Historically, the longest running Broadway show is The Phantom of the Opera. Running on Broadway for 35 years, the show is unfortunately shutting down in February of 2023, after not being able to sell enough tickets to cover the weekly costs of sustaining the production. Something that no one ever expected, considering it has been a fan favorite show for years. However, it has now succumbed to joining the list of other phenomenal shows which failed to remain running post-pandemic, such as; Mean Girls, Frozen, Dear Evan Hansen, Come From Away, Tina, Beetlejuice, and other wonderful productions which are greatly missed in the theater world. Not only has the pandemic affected long-running shows, but it also plays into newer shows and their running time. For instance, A Strange Loop, a spectacular production praised for its portrayal of Black and queer experiences, led a short run and was forced to close in January of 2023. Another show being the popular The Music Man starring Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster, which originally kicked out the show Beetlejuice at the Winter Garden Theater to produce their production, was forced to close in early January of this year as well.
Over all, the impact that the Covid-19 pandemic had on the world of Broadway immensely affected the workers in that field, including; actors, directors, costume designers, makeup artists, and stage managers. However, Broadway has now come back strong and it continues to provide the public with wonderful new and old productions. Some must see shows are; Six: The Musical, Chicago, Moulin Rouge, Wicked, A Beautiful Noise, and more!