New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced today that, as part of ongoing efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus epidemic, no gatherings of more than 500 people will be permitted except in the case of schools, hospitals, nursing homes and mass transit. As a result, all Broadway productions are effectively closed immediately. The Broadway League has announced that the ban will be in effect until Sunday, April 12.
“I don’t want to see Broadway go dark if we can avoid it,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said this morning. “I want to see if we can strike some kind of balance.” But as major New York cultural institutions fell like dominos today—including the Metropolitan Opera, the Metropolitan Museum and Carnegie Hall—it has become clear that Broadway would follow soon.
The closures come at the busiest time of the Broadway season, as the industry ramps up to the annual Tony Awards.
Many Broadway productions had been scheduled to open in the next several weeks, including Six (tonight), The Minutes (March 15), Hangmen (March 19), Company (March 22), The Lehman Trilogy (March 26), Diana (March 31), Mrs. Doubtfire (April 5), Caroline, or Change (April 7) and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (April 9).
Productions that had been scheduled to be in previews during this period and open in the two-week period after it include Plaza Suite, American Buffalo, Flying Over Sunset, Sing Street, How I Learned to Drive and Take Me Out.
"Our top priority has been and will continue to be the health and well-being of Broadway theatregoers and the thousands of people who work in the theatre industry every day, including actors, musicians, stagehands, ushers, and many other dedicated professionals,” said Broadway League president Charlotte St. Martin. “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.”
It remains to be seen how these productions will adjust to the closures. According to an estimate in Deadline, the shutdown will cost the industry more than $100 million in lost revenue.