three Of The Largest Broadway Exhibits Reopen With COVID Guidelines : NPR

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Philadelphia friends Adam Schaefer and Isabella Phillips attended Wicked, one of the best Broadway shows that reopens Tuesday with pandemic logs. Craig Ruttle / AP Hide caption

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Craig Ruttle / AP

Philadelphia friends Adam Schaefer and Isabella Phillips attended Wicked, one of the best Broadway shows that reopens Tuesday with pandemic logs.

Craig Ruttle / AP

NEW YORK – A digital marquee in Times Square says it all: “The Wait Is Over”.

Eighteen months after the global pandemic closed live theater in March 2020, Broadway takes a giant step forward on Tuesday as three powerhouses – “The Lion King,” “Hamilton” and “Wicked” – their engines with new safety protocols get up to speed again.

“I think we’re all very excited,” said The Lion King director Julie Taymor. “We’re back. I think we can breathe easier even when it’s behind a mask. We can feel relaxed that it is working.”

“The Lion King”, “Hamilton” and “Wicked” all staked Tuesday to reopen together in early May after then New York Governor Andrew Cuomo selected September 14th when Broadway could begin to attract the audience to welcome back at full capacity.

The show trio was beaten by Bruce Springsteen’s concert show in June and the opening of the new play “Pass Over” on August 22nd, as well as the reopening of two great musicals – “Hadestown” and “Waitress”.

But the return of the three musicals – the spiritual anchors of modern Broadways success – as well as the longstanding “Chicago” and the reopening of the legendary TKTS booth on Tuesday are important signals that Broadway’s most valuable shows have returned despite the pressure and uncertainty the spread of the delta variant.

“We go to catharsis in a theater. That is literally our goal: to be in fellowship with one another, hear a story in the dark and experience catharsis,” said “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda. “For a while it wasn’t safe to do that. And it is safe to return now with the protocols we have. ”

People are waiting outside the Richard Rodgers Theater for the opportunity to purchase canceled tickets to Hamilton on Tuesday. Mary Altaffer / AP Hide caption

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Mary Altaffer / AP

People are waiting outside the Richard Rodgers Theater for the opportunity to purchase canceled tickets to Hamilton on Tuesday.

Mary Altaffer / AP

Ticket holders for all three mega-hits must show that they are fully vaccinated with an FDA or WHO approved vaccine, and masks must be worn at all times except when eating or drinking in designated areas.

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

Broadway actors say they itch to get back on stage after more than a year of waiting, trusting health experts to make the process safe.

“It’s a bit like being on an airplane and there’s turbulence,” said Sharon Wheatley, a veteran actress on Come From Away, which resumes its Broadway run on September 21. “I have to trust the pilot, I have to trust the air traffic controller. I’m nervous, but I have to understand that I don’t know as much as these people.”

Eric (left) and Woon Lee from Queens pose with their tickets to the performance of The Lion King on Tuesday. Mary Altaffer / AP Hide caption

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Mary Altaffer / AP

Eric (left) and Woon Lee from Queens pose with their tickets to the performance of The Lion King on Tuesday.

Mary Altaffer / AP

“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 the downturn, tourism and Rivals.

On Tuesday they planned staggered openings – 7:00 pm for “Wicked” at the Gershwin Theater and 7:30 pm for “The Lion King” at the Minskoff Theater. “Hamilton” at 8 pm at the Richard Rodgers Theater, all three are at full capacity.

Another sign that Broadway is slowly returning to normal is the reopening of the famous TKTS booth in the heart of Times Square, where visitors can get discounted Broadway and Off-Broadway tickets on the same day and the next day.

“It’s such a big step forward,” said Victoria Bailey, director of the nonprofit theater development fund that operates the stand. “To open it up and give people such a symbol that the theater will come back.”

Reporters interview the first people in line to buy discounted tickets to the Broadway show at TKTS in New York’s Times Square on Tuesday. Mary Altaffer / AP Hide caption

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Mary Altaffer / AP

Reporters interview the first people in line to buy discounted tickets to the Broadway show at TKTS in New York’s Times Square on Tuesday.

Mary Altaffer / AP

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

For Miranda, it’ll help the actors and crew, but also businesses all over Times Square that rely on the theaters, like his favorite pizza. There’s nothing like life, he said.

“It’s one thing to see something on screen. And I’m thrilled that ‘Hamilton’ was on screen at a time when we couldn’t go to the theater. But I’m even more excited to have it now is possible.” experienced what it should be like to live in front of an audience every evening, the last participant. ”