Actors’ Equity Association says it agrees with the Broadway League’s decision to refund Broadway tickets through September 6, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Today the Broadway League took a difficult but necessary action to put the safety of everyone from the audience to the actors and stage managers first,” said Mary McColl, executive director of Actors’ Equity. “Before our members can safely return to work, we will need new protocols that protect audiences and workers alike.”
The Broadway League announced earlier today that theaters are now offering refunds and exchanges for tickets purchased for performances through September 6, an extension from the previous June 7.
A Broadway reopening date was neither announced nor speculated upon in the League’s statement. Numerous Broadway insiders and sources have told Deadline that they suspect theaters won’t reopen before January 2021.
The League, representing the industry’s theater owners and producers, as well as the various theatrical unions have stated that they will follow state and local government reopening guidelines. The September 6 date is not a planned or suggested reopening date, but rather the latest marker for ticket refunds.
As Deadline has repeatedly reported, various measures are being considered with regard to new theater-going procedures, from mandatory masks for all audience members, temperature checks, and even some combination of in-seat attendance and virtual viewing.
“While all Broadway shows would love to resume performances as soon as possible, we need to ensure the health and well-being of everyone who comes to the theatre – behind the curtain and in front of it – before shows can return,” said Charlotte St. Martin, President of the Broadway League. “The Broadway League’s membership is working in cooperation with the theatrical unions, government officials, and health experts to determine the safest ways to restart our industry.
“Throughout this challenging time, we have been in close communication with Governor Cuomo’s office and are grateful for his support and leadership as we work together to bring back this vital part of New York City’s economy – and spirit.”
Actors’ Equity told Deadline last month that it had hired its own safety consultant, Dr. David Michaels, former administrator of OSHA under President Barack Obama, to advise and help the union develop the steps necessary for reopening Broadway and theaters across the country.
Today, Equity said that Michaels “is key to helping Equity develop a plan where member safety is put first and decisions are made with a clear safety and scientific basis.”
The League has held for weeks that a decision on this year’s Tony Awards – postponement, cancelation, restructuring – wouldn’t likely arrive before a reopening timeline became clearer. No Tony announcement has yet been made.
Ticketholders for performances through September 6 will receive an e-mail from their point of purchase with detailed information regarding refund and exchange options. Any customers holding tickets through September 6 that have not received an e-mail by May 18 are advised to contact their point of purchase for assistance after this date.
Broadway performances were suspended on March 12 due to the coronavirus pandemic. At that time, 31 productions were running, including 8 new shows in previews, with an additional 8 productions in rehearsals for spring openings.
The Broadway League says it will continue to work with city and state officials to determine an appropriate date for performances to resume and will provide updates to the public as decisions are made.
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