When the light switch was flipped over and Midtown Night lit up the marquees of 41 theaters, there was coverage and industry chatter. Pointed to a possible – and seemingly imminent – reopening. The actors left the dressing rooms, ready to return soon for a long holiday weekend. Here are the opinions for Broadway in 2021!
In the Numbers
The National Endowment for the Arts recently released figures showing the unemployment rate is 8.5 percent and the average actor is 52 percent. Broadway insiders are optimistic that at least some productions will hit theaters in the fall of 2021. At least optimism was revived by the recent announcement of a $1.2 billion investment in the future of Broadway.
There will be no seats, no stage will take over the stage, and all of a sudden I’m thinking of an introduction rather than a resurrection.
Deadline spoke with eight prominent Broadway insiders to get a sense of what will happen if New York Governor Andrew Cuomo gives the go-ahead – before the reopening and when public gatherings will be safe again. What remains of the lessons of the greatest disaster in Broadway’s history? We need to talk about what to do after the first click of the light switch and what needs to be done to ensure that Broadway thrives in the years, if not decades, to come.
Ken Davenport is a Tony winner, with credits including “The Phantom of the Opera,” “Les Miserables” and “Avenue Q.” Russell Granet is the executive director of the New Victory Theater, a nonprofit that has played a key role in the redevelopment of 42nd Street in Times Square since 1990. The program’s signatories include the Broadway Alliance for New York City’s Future, which showcases the New York City Theater on 42st Street and promotes new ideas and artists. He is the author of a recent book on the history and future of Broadway and co-founder and executive vice president of the Center for American Progress.
Current projects include the Tony-winning musical “Hadestown,” and Chris Harper is co-founder and director of the New Victory Theater with his wife Marianne Elliott. Mara Isaacs is a veteran of Broadway theatre, having starred in “Les Miserables,” “Avenue Q” and “The Lion King,” among others. The new production of “George Bernard Shaw’s American Idiot,” directed by Elliott and starring Katrina Lenk and Patti LuPone, was in previews at the Broadway Theatre Company, directed by David O’Hara and Jacob Siegel when the shutdown occurred.
Mary McColl is the chief executive of the Actors’ Equity Association and was a co-founder of Equity, which fights AIDS, and a member of the board of directors of Broadway.
Brian Moreland is a Broadway producer who has performed at the Apollo and Shubert theaters, among others. He also developed the upcoming Prada musical Devil Wears, and Kevin McCollum was one of the musicals, six of which were performed on Broadway the night of Shutdown and Mrs. Doubtfire, which was previewed.
That optimism was short-lived, but it was fulfilled by the extended shutdown, and the news became grimmer and grimmer. Let’s see what the future holds for Broadway in 2021.