Though Broadway as an industry has yet to definitively rule on whether Covid vaccinations will be required of audience members this fall, a second production – Lincoln Center Theater’s production of Pass Over at the Jujamcyn-owned August Wilson Theatre – has announced that the policy will be enforced when the play begins previews next month.
With the announcement, Pass Over becomes the second Broadway production to require audience vaccinations, following the arrival in June of Springsteen on Broadway at the Jujamcyn-owned St. James Theatre. The two-show trend could suggest how Broadway, in general, will deal with the ongoing Covid situation when many more shows return in September.
The Pass Over production, which begins previews Aug. 4 and officially opens Sept. 12, indicated that producers will “revisit” the policy for possible revision in September “or sooner,” if necessary. The vaccination policy, for now, will be in effect for the month of August.
The policies were devised jointly by the producers and Jujamcyn Theaters in consultation with Dr. Blythe Adamson, an infectious disease epidemiologist who served on the White House Covid Task Force.
In its announcement today, the Pass Over production said that proof of full Covid-19 vaccination with an FDA or WHO authorized vaccine will be required for entry. Guests under the age of 16 who are unvaccinated and those guests who are unvaccinated due to a disability or “sincerely held religious belief” will be required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of the performance start time, or a negative COVID-19 antigen test taken within 6 hours of the performance start time in order to enter the venue.
Masks will be required until audience members reach their seats, at which point masks are optional. Whenever audiences are moving within the theater or in lobby or restroom spaces, masks will be required. The announcement noted that the August Wilson Theatre “meets or exceeds all current standards for COVID safety with regards to ventilation and the circulation of fresh air.”
The policy is nearly identical to the one adopted by Springsteen on Broadway last month, though, at least on opening night, masks were not required even upon entry in the venue. An FAQ on Jujamcyn’s website currently states that vaccinated guests at Springsteen on Broadway “are invited to wear or not wear a mask as is most comfortable for them.” Unvaccinated audience members, either due to age, disability or religious belief, “must properly wear a mask at all times while inside the building except while eating or drinking when seated.”
The vaccination policy was protested by sign-carrying anti-vaxxers outside the St. James on the June 26 opening night of Springsteen on Broadway.
Pass Over, written by Antoinette Chinonye Nwandu and directed by Danya Taymor, is produced on Broadway by Matt Ross, Jujamcyn Theaters, Lincoln Center Theater, Concord Theatricals, Renee Montgomery, Blair Underwood, Madeleine Foster Bersin, Imagine Equal Entertainment, Madison Wells Live, Shelly Mitchell, Tyler Mount, Olympus Theatricals & Firemused Productions, Eric Cornell, Sierra Lancaster, Vasthy Mompoint, Ayanna Prescod, Nina Ward and Antoinette Chinonye Nwandu.
The new play draws on inspiration from Waiting for Godot and the Exodus story, and is set on a city street corner where “Moses” and “Kitch” pass time and dream of their promised land when a stranger wanders into their space and disrupts their plans. The production will feature the full original cast from a previous Lincoln Center Theater production, including Jon Michael Hill, Namir Smallwood and Gabriel Ebert.