Off-Broadway's longest running show returns amid pandemic

Broadway is not set to return until September 2021, but New York's longest-running play has already started showing thanks to its lead actor, who has played the same role over 13,000 times.

Video Transcript

CATHERINE RUSSELL: When I read that bowling alleys were open, I was like, this is crazy. Bowling alleys are great. But if you can bowl, you should be able to go to a theater, and sit with a mask, and watch a show. People have assigned seats here. So--

And it seemed to me to be very random what was open and what wasn't, which is then I took whatever frustration I had and moved it into a lawsuit.

- I was shocked to find something open. I didn't believe it.

CATHERINE RUSSELL: I am hoping that if people come to see our shows and feel safe that they'll be much more willing to buy a ticket to Broadway in October.

- How did you you I was from the police?

CATHERINE RUSSELL: I didn't at first. May I have this [INAUDIBLE]?

SUSAN JACKNOWITZ: When she texted me to say I got theater tickets, I was so excited. I said, oh my God.

CATHERINE RUSSELL: They will have come into a theater, remember what it felt like, had a good time, felt safe so that they'll be able to do it again in the larger venues. I think this is one time where off Broadway can help Broadway.

CHARLES GEYER: I don't understand the way you had this house built.

CATHERINE RUSSELL: What do you mean, the way I had it built? It's an old house. I had it renovated.

JESSICA BLOOM: Yeah. Anything that will get me inside a theater, I will see it even if I don't know what it's about. I'm just excited to be here.

CHARLES GEYER: I hope you don't mind me having these corn flakes. That pastry stuff you put out is much too sweet. All of the seven or eight performances we've done so far have felt like we're all in this together. And we're celebrating that. So there's a larger meaning than just a night at the theater. It's about being in the vanguard of bringing New York back culturally.

- Mrs. Johannsson fell asleep in your kitchen last night. She witnessed everything.

CATHERINE RUSSELL: We're going to lose money. Maybe at 50%, we might break even. But we're kind of scrappy and I'm willing to do this for principle. And I feel like there are many people in New York who want to see theater. There are certainly people who want to get on stage. So we're trying to make it work.

CHARLES GEYER: Stays inside because she's kind of deformed. She sometimes collects these small--