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Sudden Broadway Reopening Announcement Raises the Question … Does Andrew Cuomo Even Know How Broadway Works?

You can't just spring opening back up on Broadway shows.

Meryl Streep drinking a martini during Stephen Sondheim's concert

So NY Governor Andrew Cuomo is ready for Broadway to come back, but is Broadway ready? When the theaters shut down back in March 2020, many shows had their fate sealed, meaning they closed because they were either limited runs or not open yet or just decided to be done with their run with how long the shutdown lasted. (RIP Mean Girls and the production of Martin McDonagh’s Hangmen that I saw starring Dan Stevens. You will be missed.)

Now that we’re trying to open the country back up as vaccinations continue, it means that Broadway is itching to reopen, as well—something that I, personally, have been waiting for. The governor suddenly announced that shows are allowed to reopen in May with limited capacity, and first, let me laugh. Even shows that are still going to reopen can’t do so with less than a month of notice. That’s not how theatre works, and you’d think the governor of New York would know that. (Please also look at Andrew Yang’s plans for Broadway and choose to not vote for him. That man wants there to be season tickets, and I will personally march to his door and demand he buys my ass one if that’s what he’s doing because if I don’t get to see my shows when I want, what was the point of majoring in Performance Theatre and moving to New York City in the FIRST PLACE?!)

But now, this “Men in charge know nothing about theatre” saga continues with Cuomo saying that by September, shows are going to be at 100% capacity and tickets are now back on sale for theatre.

Hold on, I just have to … okay, here is my response:

laughing crying gif

First of all, what shows are opening and selling tickets today? Do we have a list of what didn’t close versus what is trying to reopen?! Or did Cuomo just say, “Okay, that’s a go on TKTS let’s roll!” and not think about anything else? SECOND, is he out of his goddamn mind? First of all, were shows allowed to rehearse during this time? Or no? Because if not, then they probably need at MINIMUM a month to get back into the rhythm of things, and that’s not even in the theatre.

It would probably take, at least, 2 months to fully get these shows ready, and with no indication that these productions were rehearsing, I’d assume that means they wouldn’t even be ready for previews until like August. And again, that’s just the shows reopening. If he expects new productions to be up and ready to go at full capacity by September? Well, that is laughable.

Sure, there are exceptions. The Public is doing Shakespeare in the Park this year, but they also know how to turn shows around quickly, and the annual celebration in Central Park at the Delacorte theatre is its own thing. It’s not a long-running Broadway production that took over a year off without rehearsals, or a new show trying to open.

Theatre is a living artform. Quite literally. It changes with each new performance and grows and shifts depending on the actors and the responses they’re getting. When I saw Pedro Pascal in King Lear, it was a completely different performance than the one my friend saw because it’s theatre. Our Kaila Hale-Stern’s journey to see Oklahoma! multiple times was met with changing moments and new adventures. Why? Because it’s just the beauty of live theatre. It lives in you.

It’s one of my favorite things in this entire world. I yearn to be on a stage again and hear a crowd. I want to be sitting in the audience and feel the laughter or the tears and be a part of the magic. But I also know what it takes to build a show, and clearly, those in charge of New York have no idea how long it can take to get Broadway back.


that's not how the force works theatre joke.



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Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. A writer her whole life but professionally starting back in 2016 who loves all things movies, TV, and classic rock. Resident Spider-Man expert, official Leslie Knope, actually Yelena Belova. Wanda Maximoff has never done anything wrong in her life. Star Wars makes her very happy. New York writer with a passion for all things nerdy. Yes, she has a Pedro Pascal podcast. And also a Harrison Ford one.