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Surprise Pop-Up Held On 1 Year Anniversary Of Broadway's COVID Closure

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Friday marks one year since COVID forced Broadway to go dark, leaving thousands out of work and costing billions in losses for the local economy. A surprise pop-up was held, reuniting performers and giving New Yorkers a taste of what will eventually come back; CBS2's John Dias reports.

Video Transcript

MAURICE DUBOIS: Today marks one year since COVID forced Broadway to go dark, leaving thousands out of work, and costing billions in losses for the local economy.

KRISTINE JOHNSON: But today, a surprise pop up was held, reuniting performers and giving New Yorkers a taste of what will eventually come back. CBS 2's John Dias has more from Times Square.

- Five, and six, and seven, and eight.

JOHN DIAS: They're calling it a lost year, but these performers need no map to find their way back home to Broadway.

[MUSIC - "ON BROADWAY"]

- (SINGING) They say the neon lights are bright on Broadway.

- (SINGING) On Broadway.

JOHN DIAS: Today, at the crossroads of the world, a captivating pop up performance surprising New Yorkers and tourists who have been counting the days until Broadway returns.

- (SINGING) A world full of love.

MARY BARLOW: I really miss it. And I work in the city so I would come in with my friends.

JOHN DIAS: The Times Square Alliance hosting this special "We Will Be Back" live show, including Broadway legends like Tony and Grammy award winner André De Shields.

ANDRE DE SHIELDS: The old norm is not salvageable for us. It's what kicked us in the butts and said, get out of here, try something new.

JOHN DIAS: The pop up show commemorating the one year anniversary of when COVID turned off the bright lights of Broadway. Today, each actor is getting paid.

- I went from having five auditions lined up, to everything shut down. It was literally within a matter of overnight.

JOHN DIAS: The shutdown has had a $15 billion impact on New York City's economy. But today is about looking to the future. While major Broadway performances are still suspended through May 30, the acting president of the Times Square Alliance saying recently--

TOM HARRIS: We've seen signs that Times Square is waking up with pedestrian counts over 100,000, which is very encouraging.

JOHN DIAS: And the Times Square Alliance saying that it will be hosting more of what it is calling small scale programs in the area, but they will not be advertising them. That is because they want to keep them intimate, because at this point, we all now know that large crowds could spread COVID. From Times Square, John Dias, CBS 2 News.

MAURICE DUBOIS: So good to just get a taste, right?

KRISTINE JOHNSON: Oh, gives you something-- something to hang on to.

MAURICE DUBOIS: Right?

KRISTINE JOHNSON: Yeah.

MAURICE DUBOIS: What this city is all about.