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Efforts underway to reopen Broadway

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There will be a dedicated COVID-19 vaccination site on Broadway for members of the theater industry.

Video Transcript

SADE BADERINWA: And from downtown Huntington to Midtown Manhattan, one of the biggest post-pandemic questions, when will Broadway reopen? This industry has been crippled by COVID, the arts so important, not only to New Yorkers, but also the city's economy and tourism industry.

On April 2, arts and entertainment venues can reopen, but with reduced capacity. Up to 100 people indoors, and 200 people outdoors. Venues are already planning to reopen, like Lincoln Center, which will open 10 outdoor performance spaces on its plaza starting April 7.

But for now, Broadway will remain dark. Theaters on the Great White Way, not part of the initial reopening plan. We're going to bring in Eyewitness News entertainment reporter Sandy Kenyon, and Sandy, any idea when we can expect to see Broadway shows again?

SANDY KENYON: Sade, I live in the theater district, and it's upsetting to look down on two theaters that have been dark for more than a year now. It's likely they will remain closed until the late summer at the earliest.

A series of pop up events, like the one in Times Square last Friday, have brought much needed employment to Broadway performers who've been hit hard, like so many others. But reopening theaters is a much bigger deal. One producer told me, Broadway will need some lead time to rehire everyone on stage and off. But first, deals with unions will have to be made. There will have to be general agreement about the protocols to keep everyone safe.

The producer, who asked for anonymity so as to speak candidly, told me the first shows to return would be those like Hamilton, which are not dependent on tourists, and are so popular with folks in our area. The flow of tourists has slowed to a trickle, so there are real risks to reopening before they return, because Broadway can't make money with partial occupancy. They need to fill those houses. That's why the seats are always so close together when we do return. But very popular shows like Hamilton could resume in the middle of the summer.

Other musicals and plays, likely not until after Labor Day. Now, Matthew Broderick told me at the Times Square event that he expects to open in a revival of Plaza Suite early next year, a move my source calls smart, and a pretty safe bet for others. Bill and Sade.

- Come on, early next year. That's what we're hoping for. Sandy, thanks for that insight.