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Broadway Shutters Amid COVID-19 Pandemic


It's the first time Broadway has gone dark for more than a few days since the stagehands' strike in 2007. 

Broadway is set to go dark under orders from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo amid the COVID-19 pandemic, effective as of 5 p.m. Eastern on March 12, according to

The closure of Broadway's storied theaters is another in the long line of cancellations and postponements of events where hundreds and thousands of people gather that kicked into gear last week when SXSW, the festival held annually in Austin, Texas, was canceled last week. The NBA's season was suspended Wednesday when a Utah Jazz player tested positive for the virus. Broadway will remain dark until April 13.

"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," President of the Broadway League Charlotte St. Martin said in a statement.

"Broadway has the power to inspire, enrich and entertain, and together we are committed to making that vital spirit a reality," she said. "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."

In a press conference, Cuomo ordered that gatherings of 500 people or more would be banned. That order makes exceptions for schools, hospitals, mass transit, and nursing homes. All 41 Broadway theaters seat 500 to 1,000 people.

The move to close Broadway altogether came in part from concern from Actors' Equity Association, which represents actors and stagehands, about the safety of its members, according to The New York Times.

Closure of Broadway theaters for the next month affects the openings of 16 shows, including Six, about Henry the VIII's wives, which was slated to open tonight. Matthew Lopez's gay-themed play The Inheritance was set to give its final performance on March 15.

Broadway was closed for 19 days during the stagehands' strike in 2007, in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, and for 25 days during the musicians' strike in 1975, the New York Times reported.

Ticketholders are encouraged to contact their "point of purchase" to inquire about refunds and exchanges, according to Playbill.

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Tracy E. Gilchrist