sunny.png
Monday September 27th, 2021 12:37PM

Reopening of 3 monster Broadway shows signals 'wait is over'

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

NEW YORK (AP) — A digital marquee in Times Square says it all: “The Wait Is Over.”

Eighteen months after the global pandemic shuttered live theater in March 2020, Broadway takes a big step forward Tuesday when three powerhouse shows — “The Lion King,” “Hamilton” and “Wicked” — rev their engines again with new safety protocols.

“I think we all feel extremely excited,” said “The Lion King” director Julie Taymor. “We’re back. I think we can breathe easier even if it’s behind a mask. We can feel relaxed about the fact that it works.”

“The Lion King,” “Hamilton” and “Wicked” all staked out Tuesday to reopen together in early May after then-New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo picked Sept. 14 for when Broadway could begin welcoming back audiences at full capacity.

The trio of shows were beaten by Bruce Springsteen's concert show in June and the opening of the new play “Pass Over” on Aug. 22, as well as the reopening of two big musicals — “Hadestown” and “Waitress.”

But the return of the three musicals — the spiritual anchors of modern Broadway’s success — as well as the long-running “Chicago” and the reopening of the iconic TKTS booth both on Tuesday are important signals that Broadway’s most valuable shows are back, despite pressure and uncertainty from the spread of the delta variant.

“We go to a theater for catharsis. Literally that’s what we go for: to be in communion with each other, hear a story told in the dark and experience catharsis,” said “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda. “For a while, it wasn’t safe to do that. And it’s safe to come back now with the protocols we have in place.”

Ticketholders to all three mega-hits must prove they are fully vaccinated with an FDA- or WHO-authorized vaccine and masks must be worn at all times, except when eating or drinking in designated areas.

“I think it actually won’t feel real to me until we have an audience in front of us,” said L. Steven Taylor, who stars in “The Lion King” as Mufasa. “It’s such an important element to this, and especially, I think, after everything that we’ve gone through.”

Actors across Broadway say they're itching to get back on stage after more than a year of waiting, trusting the health experts to make the process safe.

“It’s a little bit like when you’re on an airplane and there’s turbulence,” said Sharon Wheatley, a veteran actor in the show “Come From Away,” which resumes its Broadway run Sept. 21. “I have to trust the pilot, I have to trust the air traffic controllers. I feel nervous, but I have to understand that I don’t know as much as these people do.”

"Hamilton," which opened six years ago, “Wicked,” which opened 17 years ago and “The Lion King,” which opened 23 years ago, form the bedrock of modern Broadway, virtually immune to downturns, shifts in tourism and rivals.

On Tuesday, they plan staggered openings — 7 p.m. for “Wicked” at the Gershwin Theatre and 7:30 p.m. for “The Lion King” at the Minskoff Theatre. "Hamilton" will open at 8 p.m. at the Richard Rodgers Theatre. All three are opening for full capacity. Miranda, Taymor and “Wicked” composer Stephen Schwartz plan to visit their theaters to welcome back patrons before each show.

Another sign that Broadway is inching back to normalcy is the re-opening of the famed TKTS booth in the heart of Times Square, where visitors can get same-day and some next-day discount Broadway and off-Broadway tickets.

“It’s such a big step forward,” said Victoria Bailey, executive director of the nonprofit Theatre Development Fund, which runs the booth. “To get it open and such a symbol to people that theater is coming back.”

Bailey says Broadway’s return will be less like a flick of a light switch and more like a dimmer, with a slow build to regular attendance. “We’ll know so much more in two or three weeks, but you can’t swim unless you can start by dog-paddling.”

For Miranda, getting his visionary show back in front of a live audience after 18 months will help the actors and crew but also businesses all over Times Square that rely on the theaters, like his favorite pizza shop. There's nothing like live, he said.

“It’s one thing to see something on the screen. And I’m thrilled ‘Hamilton’ was was available on a screen in a time when we couldn’t go to a theater. But I’m even more thrilled that now it can be experienced the way it was meant to, live in front of an audience, the final collaborator every night.”

___

Mark Kennedy is at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Entertainment
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Tropical Storm Nicholas slows, dumps rain along Gulf Coast
Tropical Storm Nicholas slowed to a crawl over southeastern Texas and southwestern Louisiana after blowing ashore as a hurricane, knocking out power to a half-million homes and businesses
6:01PM ( 12 minutes ago )
3 former US officials charged in UAE hacking scheme
Three former U.S. intelligence and military operatives have admitted providing sophisticated hacking technology to the United Arab Emirates and agreed to pay nearly $1.7 million to resolve criminal charges
5:54PM ( 19 minutes ago )
Florida congressional candidate says rival threatened life
Trial testimony shows a former political rival of a Republican Florida congressional candidate made repeated threats to “take her out,” even claiming he could summon a supposed Russian and Ukrainian hit squad to kill her
5:46PM ( 27 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Fate of California Gov. Gavin Newsom hangs on recall vote
Californians are casting the last of the ballots that will decide whether Gov. Gavin Newsom continues to lead them or if the nation’s most populous state veers in a more conservative direction amid anger over his actions during the COVID-19 pandemic
5:18PM ( 55 minutes ago )
Reopening of 3 powerhouse Broadway shows signals new dawn
We know when it paused
4:40PM ( 1 hour ago )
Sandra Cisneros: New novel is an overdue letter to a friend
Sandra Cisneros feels like she’s finally replied to a long overdue letter with her new book, “Martita, I Remember You.”
4:32PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Entertainment
Tropical Storm Nicholas slows, dumps rain along Gulf Coast
Tropical Storm Nicholas slowed to a crawl over southeastern Texas and southwestern Louisiana after blowing ashore as a hurricane, knocking out power to a half-million homes and businesses
6:01PM ( 12 minutes ago )
3 former US officials charged in UAE hacking scheme
Three former U.S. intelligence and military operatives have admitted providing sophisticated hacking technology to the United Arab Emirates and agreed to pay nearly $1.7 million to resolve criminal charges
5:54PM ( 19 minutes ago )
Florida congressional candidate says rival threatened life
Trial testimony shows a former political rival of a Republican Florida congressional candidate made repeated threats to “take her out,” even claiming he could summon a supposed Russian and Ukrainian hit squad to kill her
5:46PM ( 27 minutes ago )
Book: Top US officer feared Trump could order China strike
Fearful of former President Donald Trump’s actions in his final weeks in office, the top U.S. military officer twice assured his Chinese counterpart that the two nations would not go to war
5:37PM ( 37 minutes ago )
Census: Relief programs staved off hardship in COVID crash
Massive government relief passed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic moved millions of Americans out of poverty last year, even as the official poverty rate increased slightly
5:24PM ( 49 minutes ago )