KEY POINTS

  • Broadway shows can operate at full capacity from Sept. 14
  • Tickets will start going on sale Thursday
  • It is unclear whether theatergoers would need to be fully vaccinated to attend shows

Broadway theaters are set to reopen at full capacity on Sept. 14 for the first time in more than a year. 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D-N.Y., told a press conference Wednesday that Broadway shows can resume operations at 100% capacity in the fall, with tickets for shows going on sale starting Thursday. 

The state will pilot reduced social distancing at big indoor venues like the Broadway theaters for those who are fully vaccinated by June 19, and increase the capacity at theaters slowly.

The theaters set to reopen would have to get final approval from New York state over safety protocols—including health screenings, enhanced air filtration and disinfection. Venues would also have to observe social distancing guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Cuomo noted that theaters would offer refunds and have exchange policies if a show has to be postponed to prevent any risk to public health. 

It is unclear whether theatergoers need to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 to attend shows.

“It’s not finalized yet. But we’re going to keep looking at the numbers, keep looking at how many people are getting vaccinated. In between now and then we’ll be doing pilots for indoor programs and slowly increasing the amount of capacity there,” state budget director Rob Mujica said

“As the governor pointed out, the question is, will people feel comfortable sitting next, right next to another individual, without knowing their vaccination status? And what we do know from surveys is that the answer is no. And they would prefer to know the vaccination status of the person next to them,” he added. 

The Broadway League, a trade organization that represents key decision-makers in the reopening process, announced that the Phantom of the Opera, The Lion King and Wicked could reopen sooner. But producers for the shows have yet to confirm exact dates. 

“Nothing beats Broadway. The theater owners, producers, and other League members will continue to work with the NY State Department of Health and the governor to coordinate the industry’s return and the related health and safety protocols required to do so.  We remain cautiously optimistic about Broadway’s ability to resume performances this fall and are happy that fans can start buying tickets again,” Charlotte St. Martin, president of the Broadway League, said in a press release

Other new Broadway shows have announced exact opening dates. Diana, a story inspired by the Princess of Wales, will resume performances Dec. 1, 2021. The Music Man, which will see two-time Tony, Grammy and Emmy winner Hugh Jackman’s return to Broadway, will begin previews Dec. 20, according to Playbill

Three women have accused New York Governor Andrew Cuomo of harassment, including two former aides New York Governor Andrew Cuomo Photo: AFP / Johannes EISELE