Broadway's Return from the Wound that Scarred the World
COVID-19 has been at the least traumatic to every person no matter their shape, size, age, color, background,belief, or social standing. Although, we all have had different battles, we would be foolish to think that COVID-19 didn’t wound every person leaving a scar that will last forever.
On March 12, 2020 the world said goodbye to LIVE entertainment on the Broadway stage in New York and around the world. This has been a battle that has been very traumatic for many performers and art enthusiasts all over the world. Performers have been out of employment for over a year and although things are looking up for a hopeful opening after Labor Day, (2021) if we can say anything for certain, it is that nothing has been certain during this pandemic.
Although, it has been a heartbreaking time for many people there has been a lot positive creativity that has come from directors, producers, casts, theater owners, and art supporters. Many theater companies, professional and community, have found resourceful ways to broadcast LIVE shows, bring recorded LIVE productions to audiences all of the world, (Hamilton on Disney+) and there have been many classes and educational moments from so many talented directors and actors over digital formats. Although, many of these were fantastic and shows how people make the best out of horrible situations and that there are truly great people in the world; if you are a true connoisseur of the LIVE arts it never really scratched the itch of seeing a LIVE performance.
Andrew Lloyd Webber saw and heard this need and went above and beyond to answer the desperate need. At the London Royal Palladium Theater Lloyd Webber brought in singer Beverly Knight to put on a LIVE performance with drastic safety measures. Mandatory Face Masks, Temperature Checks, Reduced Capacity, Updates to the HVAC system and a “Star-Trek”-like air seals were all part of this production. Lloyd Webber was sad to see 1,900 seats vacant and only 600 filled and proclaimed, “the Palladium is meant to be full. It’s a theater that wants to love you.” Although, Lloyd Webber was discouraged by the sad sight in the theater many art enthusiasts were thrilled with the simple opportunity to be a part of LIVE art again.
So, you may be asking, Lloyd Webber did it and that was July of 2020 why is Broadway still closed in July 2021? Well, there is no denying that Lloyd Webber helped pave the way for Broadway’s triumphant return that, fingers crossed, will be returning fall of 2021, however there is a huge difference between bringing a single singer (and her band) to the stage and a full Broadway Production. The average play needs a sixty-five percent capacity and musicals are more than that to be financially viable. And although, many actors and actresses love what they do and would willing take a pay cut, this is not fair to ask nor would it fix the issue. Plays and musicals on a Broadway standard have many expenses that can not be cut by simply “cutting wages”.
So, we know art enthusiasts are itching to get back into the theaters and see their favorites LIVE again but we can’t just flip a switch and turn the television on as much as we would like to. These performers that create such magic on the stage for us, nightly have been out of work for over a year now and let me be the first to tell you what they do normally isn’t easy but to flip a switch and to do it next to impossible. These performers are athletes and artists that have not been able to practice their trade with anyone for over a year. They have not been in rehearsals, costume fittings, creative plans, set prep, choreography sessions… just to mention a few things that all have to be done before we can turn the “so called” LIVE television on.
So, although it is hard, we sit and wait patiently while they continue to work to bring us hope of a bright tomorrow and the scar of the pandemic slowly fades but that’s the thing about scars; in the right light you can always see them, but they just remind you of what you went through and how strong you are to have overcome it!