Two weeks ago the Metropolitan Opera announced that it was cancelling its entire 2020/21 season. Today, the Broadway League announced that Broadway performances would remain suspended through the end of May 2021. Charlotte St. Martin, President of the Broadway League, said,
With nearly 97,000 workers who rely on Broadway for their livelihood and an annual economic impact of $14.8 billion to the city, our membership is committed to re-opening as soon as conditions permit us to do so. We are working tirelessly with multiple partners on sustaining the industry once we raise our curtains again
The announcement effectively cancels the 2020/21 Broadway season leaving a question about what will happen with next year’s Tony Awards. More importantly is the question of what will happen to all of the artists and technicians who work on Broadway whose 39 weeks of extended unemployment benefits will run out in December of this year.
If you care about the future of the performing arts in America, contact your Senator and Representative and urge them to pass The Save Our Stages Act (S. 4258) which has been trapped in committee in the Senate since July 7th. Introduced by Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), it provides vital support for performing arts venues that have lost nearly 100% of their revenue since the pandemic began in March. The companion bill in the House (H.R. 7806) is led by Representatives Peter Welch (D-VT) and Roger Williams (R-TX).
Today the American Theatre Wing and the Broadway League, who jointly present the Tony Awards, announced that they will go forward with an online ceremony this fall. The Antoinette Perry “Tony” Award, which was founded by the American Theatre Wing in 1947, is bestowed annually on theatre professionals for distinguished achievement on Broadway. Eligibility and a presentation date will be announced soon. The American Theatre Wing press release notes:
“Though unprecedented events cut the 2019-2020 Broadway season short, it was a year full of extraordinary work that deserves to be recognized,” said Charlotte St. Martin, President of the Broadway League, and Heather Hitchens, President & CEO of the American Theatre Wing. “We are thrilled not only to have found a way to properly celebrate our artists’ incredible achievements this season, but also to be able to uplift the entire theatre community and show the world what makes our Broadway family so special at this difficult time. The show must go on, no matter what – and it will.”
Many of us have suspected it, but it’s now official – Broadway will not reopen in 2020. The press release says that, “The Broadway League announced today that Broadway performances in New York City will be suspended through the remainder of 2020 due to COVID-19.”
“The Broadway experience can be deeply personal but it is also, crucially, communal,” said Chairman of the Board of The Broadway League Thomas Schumacher. “The alchemy of 1000 strangers bonding into a single audience fueling each performer on stage and behind the scenes will be possible again when Broadway theatres can safely host full houses. Every single member of our community is eager to get back to work sharing stories that inspire our audience through the transformative power of a shared live experience. The safety of our cast, crew, orchestra and audience is our highest priority and we look forward to returning to our stages only when it’s safe to do so. One thing is for sure, when we return we will be stronger and more needed than ever.”
You can read the full press release here.