'Broadway is back': New York celebrates return of hit shows

People queue outside the Richard Rodgers Theatre for tickets to see the musical 'Hamilton', near Times Square in New York. AFP/Ed Jones

NEW YORK - Broadway celebrated the return of some of its biggest musicals after an 18-month coronavirus shutdown, a landmark moment in New York's post-pandemic recovery.

"Hamilton," "Wicked," "The Lion King" and "Chicago" were all resuming performances, to the delight, and relief, of the industry and theatre lovers.

Broadway theatres have been gradually re-opening throughout September but Tuesday heralds the collective return of some of its most popular shows.

READ: New York's Broadway mandates vaccines, masks for all shows

14 September was the date former governor Andrew Cuomo said Broadway would re-open back in May.

All audiences are required to be vaccinated, as are performers, backstage crew and theatre staff, while spectators must also wear masks throughout the show.

Theatre fans said they felt safe returning to indoor performances knowing that everybody was vaccinated despite concerns about the highly infectious Delta variant.

READ: Broadway to stay closed until at least September

Broadway generated around $33-million in sales per week across 31 shows before COVID-19 swept the Big Apple in March 2020, forcing the abrupt shutdown that left thousands in the industry suddenly without work.

The resumption of shows comes with the city still suffering a huge shortfall in tourists, which typically make up two-thirds of audiences.

But officials and theatres are confident that New Yorkers, and those who can visit, are desperate to watch live theatre again.

"This is a big night for New York City's comeback," said Mayor Bill de Blasio. "(Broadway) is in our heart and soul."

Source
AFP

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