Broadway shows are expected to remain closed through at least May 2021, according to sources familiar with the matter.
The Broadway League is expected to make an announcement about the new date Friday. The extended shutdown would impact several new shows aiming for a spring opening, including “The Music Man” and “MJ,” as well as existing shows now trying to weather more than a year of being closed.
Broadway shows are currently closed through Jan. 3, but a resumption date had not been announced. Productions have been closed since March 12. NBC New York first reported news of the upcoming announcement Thursday night.
The Broadway League did not respond to a request for comment in time for publication.
In addition to “MJ” and “The Music Man,” which had previews set for April and an opening in May, “Flying Over Sunset”, “Caroline or Change, “Plaza Suite,” “American Buffalo” and “The Minutes,” had all been aiming for spring openings.
There were 24 shows open and running on Broadway before the shutdown and that could seek to return. Five more were in previews and three — “Frozen”, “Hangmen” and “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” — have already announced they will not return.
Initially, Broadway theaters were included in Phase 4 of New York’s reopening plan, which New York City reached on July 20. However, at that time, a spokesperson for Gov. Cuomo said that the reopening of Broadway theaters would not be included in Phase 4 and would require further study to reopen.
The reopening of Broadway theaters, in particular, is made difficult by the fact that the industry said it cannot use social distancing in the audience due to the financial constraints it would impose.
The Metropolitan Opera, which hosts considerably larger productions than Broadway, announced last month that it would be closed until fall 2021, at which time it hoped a vaccine would be in use and social distancing would not be required.