ALBANY, N.Y. — The lights will go back on Broadway.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Broadway shows will resume Sept. 14, and tickets will go on sale starting Thursday.
The move comes after New York lifted capacity restrictions on arts venues and restaurants, but there still may be some limit on attendance to ensure social distancing.
Nonetheless, tickets for the shows this fall will be sold at 100% capacity, according to Cuomo, and any seating limits will be addressed in the coming months.
Broadway shuttered more than a year ago as the COVID-19 pandemic swept through New York City, which was one of the the first virus hot spots.
“They have to have a play to put on, and they are in the process of doing that,” Cuomo said.
The Broadway League said Tuesday that it is preparing shows, and the specific plays and their reopenings will be announced in the coming weeks.
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“We are thrilled that Governor Cuomo clearly recognizes the impact of Broadway’s return on the city and state’s economy and the complexity of restarting an entire industry that has been dormant for over a year,” said Charlotte St. Martin, president of the Broadway League.
“Nothing beats Broadway.”
Broadway performances were initially suspended due to COVID 19 on March 12, 2020.
At that time, 31 productions were running, including eight new shows in previews. Additionally, eight productions were in rehearsals preparing to open in the spring.
New York is loosening COVID restrictions as infection rates fall. The positivity rate fell to 1.49% on Tuesday, the lowest level since late October.
Broadway employs nearly 100,000 people and is a critical part of New York City’s economy and tourism sector.
Before the pandemic, almost 250,000 people were seeing a Broadway show every week.
Mask wearing will still likely be required at shows, and the state may also identify other safety steps, such as health screenings, testing, enhanced air filtration and ventilation, and disinfection of seats and common areas.
It is still unclear which shows will open and when.
Some have indicated they could open over the last few months of 2021, while others may not return until 2022.
For example, the only Broadway show to announce official plans to reopen was “Diana: The Musical,” which is hoping to start previews Dec. 1 at the Longacre Theatre.
“Today’s news means we are one step closer to the safe reopening of not just Broadway, but jobs for thousands of workers in the New York area,” said Mary McColl, executive director of the Actors’ Equity Association.
“We look forward to continuing our conversations with the Broadway League about a safe reopening and know that soon the time will come when members can go back to doing what they do best, creating world-class theatre,” she said.
Ilana Keller of the Asbury Park Press contributed to this story.
Joseph Spector is the Government and Politics Editor for the USA TODAY Network’s Atlantic Group, overseeing coverage in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Delaware. He can be reached at [email protected] or followed on Twitter: @GannettAlbany
This article originally appeared on New York State Team: Broadway opening date is Sept. 14. Tickets on sale soon; shows unknown