UPDATE, with specific show details Broadway will remain closed through June 7, a two-month extension of the current coronavirus shutdown that could mean the retroactive end of the 2019-2020 Broadway season to the March 12 shutdown.
No mention was made in the Broadway League’s announcement today of officially closing the Broadway season – theoretically, at least, the 2019-2020 season could be extended into the summer but the logistics would make that a difficult option. And if, as sources tell Deadline, additional incremental extensions of the shutdown are possible, even likely, through the summer, the 2019-2020 season will have ended on March 11.
The extension announcement was made today by the Broadway League, the trade group representing theater owners and producers, which had been in discussions with theatrical unions this week.
Earlier today, New York’s Drama Desk Awards – always an important event in the lead-up to the Tonys – announced that it would announce its winners online on May 31, skipping the annual get-together of critics and the city’s Broadway and Off Broadway communities, and only shows that opened prior to the March 12 shutdown would be eligible for nominations. That decision shortens the 2019-2020 theater season by nearly two months and, obviously, leaving the 16 planned Broadway productions and various Off Broadway shows out of contention.
“Our top priority continues 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.” said Charlotte St. Martin, President of the Broadway League. “Broadway will always be at the very heart of the Big Apple, and we join with artists, theatre professionals, and fans in looking forward to the time when we can once again experience live theatre together.”
Thirty-one productions went dark on March 12, some having just begun previews. In all, 16 productions had been set to open this spring – including the musical Six, which was to open on the evening of March 12 – a schedule that was scuttled by the shutdown.
Those holding tickets for performances through June 7, 2020 will receive an e-mail from their point of purchase with information regarding exchanges or refunds. Any customers holding tickets through June 7, 2020 that have not received an e-mail by April 12 should reach out to their point of purchase for information regarding exchanges or refunds.
Within an hour of the League’s announcement, some shows were confirming that tickets remained on sale for performances after June 7, including Mean Girls, Moulin Rouge! The Musical, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the upcoming return David Bryne’s American Utopia, Chicago, Six and Mrs. Doubtfire.
The June 7 date carries a special meaning for Broadway: That date had been marked for the now indefinitely postponed 74th Annual Tony Awards. Though the official end of any Broadway season arrives with the Tony Awards eligibility cutoff date (originally April 23 this year), the actual Tonys ceremony is the symbolic capstone to Broadway’s year.
Broadway’s busy spring season was to have seen the openings of some of the year’s most anticipated productions, some of which have already announced postponements until next season or outright cancellations. Since the March 12 shutdown, Martin McDonagh’s Hangmen, starring Downton Abbey‘s Dan Stevens and Game of Thrones‘ Mark Addy, has been canceled, as has been director Joe Mantello’s staging of Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? starring Laurie Metcalf and Rupert Everett.
Other shows that had been scheduled to open this spring are Six, the hit pop musical from London and Chicago about the wives of Henry VIII; Tracy Letts’ The Minutes; the Jerry Zaks-directed musical adaptation of Mrs. Doubtfire; director Sam Mendes’ The Lehman Trilogy; the Princess Di musical Diana; Company, the gender-switched revival of the classic Sondheim musical starring Katrina Lenk and Patti LuPone; Plaza Suite starring Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker; David Mamet’s American Buffalo starring Laurence Fishburne, Sam Rockwell and Darren Criss; the Off Broadway transfer of New York Theatre Workshop’s musical Sing Street; and the revival of Richard Greenberg’s Take Me Out starring Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Jesse Williams and Patrick J. Adams.
Exactly what will happen to those productions – as well as shows that were up and running prior to the pandemic – is uncertain. Broadway insiders say most shows, for now anyway, are sticking with the June 7 target, with tickets being sold for that date and after.
But the extension will no doubt have ripple effects. For example, the popular Beetlejuice Broadway run is over, with a planned, if brief, return to the Winter Garden Theater now scotched (the sleeper hit was set to vacate the venue on June 6 to make way for this fall’s The Music Man starring Hugh Jackman). Beetlejuice could feasibly find another venue when Broadway re-opens, but the scramble for theaters – always a take-no-prisoners competition – should be even more chaotic than ever. (A Beetlejuice national tour will launch in fall 2021).
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