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Curtain Call

By Sania Daniyal

Despite the ongoing pandemic, New York City is slowly reopening, and Broadway has officially returned. When the theaters closed on March 12, 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they promised to reopen in a month. They ended up reopening in the summer of 2021 and proceeding at full capacity with some significant alterations.

Broadway is a major contributor to New York's economy, employing an estimated 97,000 people. As soon as Broadway reopened, theaters implemented safety procedures for patrons, casts and crews. The audience must agree to follow these policies, which are updated in compliance with all local guidelines and recommendations. Audience members are asked to provide proof of vaccination and to wear masks. There are no intermissions or opportunities for autographs at the stage doors and many shows are being shortened to around 90 minutes in length.

Producers are altering not just the length of what the audience will see on stage, but also the action behind the scenes, such as the staff who get actors and actresses in costume. There are safety deputies assigned backstage to make sure everyone is following proper protocols. Things are changing, and things aren't going to be the same as they were before March of 2020, but many believe there will soon be a theater like the one New Yorkers once knew.

“As a member of NHP Theater and a dancer outside of school, I’m really happy to see Broadway and other performing groups being able to perform again. As for the new protocols and COVID-19 affecting us in general, I feel that as long as people are able to follow them and respect the safety of both performers and other audience members, I think we are going to be able to have great shows!” said junior Debarati Chowdhury.

Investing in a Broadway musical is a high-risk proposition; only one out of every five productions earns a fortune. Twenty percent of profitable productions, such as "Hamilton,” often take in tremendous cash for their funders, but that was before COVID. Producers have reason to be concerned about their finances with the New York theatrical sector closed for over a year and theatregoers afraid to return to packed indoor venues due to a significant surge in COVID cases linked to the delta variant. Ticket sales have not returned to their previous levels.

Source by Kristen Schneider

The empty New Hyde Park auditorium awaits dramatic productions, as does Broadway.

Last year, the COVID-19 outbreak additionally halted a number of concerts and festivals, pushing the music industry to find new methods to engage with audiences, such as virtual performances. Artists like Justin Bieber and The Weeknd took the appropriate precautions and postponed their concerts, while others like Miley Cyrus and Snoh Aalegra had to cancel their shows entirely for the safety of crew members and fans. However, the situation is beginning to improve as more people are becoming vaccinated every day. With severe health and safety rules in place, a number of 2021 and 2022 tour dates for major North American, European and U.K. locations have recently been announced. Most concertgoers are required to be fully-vaccinated or provide negative test results before the show.

“The concert was amazing, and all his [Harry Styles] performances were breathtaking to be honest. It was my first time attending a concert, and it was such a great experience! It was delayed from its original date in August 2020 due to COVID, but I’m happy they moved it to a later date instead of canceling it. They made sure to take the extra steps to keep everything COVID-safe, like requiring proof of vaccination which I’m really thankful for. Overall it was amazing and it feels good to be able to go out after so long again,” said sophomore Guraneel Kaur.

“It was a bit overwhelming to be in such a crowded place after the past year, but MSG [Madison Square Garden] took precautions very seriously. Harry put on a phenomenal show and urged everyone to give the cleaning crew and other MSG staff a standing ovation to thank them,” said sophomore Nicole Donnelly.


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