Bonnie Comley, a three-time Tony Award-winning producer and chairman of the Board of Directors of the Drama League, told CNN about the new Covid security protocols that are being implemented by Broadway theaters and productions when performances resume.
“It’s really exciting to come back to the theater. The producers and theater owners have promised to open it this time, and the show is underway,” Comley said.
This commitment means that viewers need to show proof of vaccination and need to wear masks. There will no longer be an intermission or autograph opportunity at the entrance of the stage. Many performances have been compressed to approximately 90 minutes.
Comley stated that the show director is working with theater owners to support these changes.
“A perfect example is “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.” “It was a two-part performance, a five-hour drama. It was a spectacular drama, but like a bunch of dramas, they had actually condensed it. “
When it returns on November 16, “Porter” will be merged into a shorter show.
“It will all be concentrated in one seat,” Comley said. “So, it’s really like seeing a new show.”
The producer must not only modify the length you see on the stage, but also change the choreography in the background.
She explained: “The people who change other people, all the things you can’t see are also being rearranged, and there will be a security representative who will be assigned to watch all of them in the background.”
“Things are changing. It won’t necessarily be what we were when we left in March 2020, but there will still be great theaters,” Comley said.
“Springsteen” reopened at the St. James Theatre in June. Sara Bareilles will return on Thursday, starring Jenna Hunterson in the “Waitress”. “Hadestown”, the last performance that won the Tony Award for Best Musical before the coronavirus pandemic, will also return on Thursday. Other major works, including “The Lion King” and “Hamilton”, will reopen in two weeks.
The collective exhalation of Broadway
Broadway is a big business in the New York economy, with an estimated 97,000 people employed in performances. The Broadway League launched an event narrated by Oprah Winfrey this week to welcome the return of drama lovers.
Before the pandemic, Broadway actor Timothy Hughes performed eight times a week in “Hadestown” at the Walter Kerr Theatre. He and other actors and staff who are being regularly tested for the new crown virus will be on stage again to participate in this week’s reopening.
Hughes told CNN: “I don’t think I really admit to myself how much I miss the experience of live theater.” “As an actor, as a part of an actor, as an audience, the heartfelt response of live performance is Part of who I am and what I do, I can’t wait to share this experience with the audience again.”
Hughes said he felt as safe as possible on the opening night, and that he was part of a fully vaccinated company.
“We still wear masks for a lot of rehearsals and tests.”
When he returned to rehearse this summer, Hughes said he was very excited about not entering the theater for 15 months.
“For all of us who participated in the show from the beginning, this theater is like a second home,” he said, adding, “It’s really an emotional whirlwind. It’s like being in a brand new environment. It’s the same as watching it. Going back to this space is like a new sense of fear and anxiety, just like any kind of enclosed space now feels different.”
He hopes that the first performance will be an emotional experience for all participants. “As a company, it is overwhelming for us and overwhelming for the first audience,” he said.
Hughes said: “To me, nothing can compare to the heartfelt response of the energy exchange between the performer and the live audience.” “I am also very grateful for my return with this show.’Hadestown’ The information will resonate on a deeper level than before.”
Paloma Garcia-Lee, who has long been a member of the “Moulin Rouge” company, will also star in the film “West Side Story” adapted by Stephen Spielberg. She She told CNN that she hopes that the reopening of Broadway will make every artist involved feel a “strong exhalation.” theater.
“Every step of Broadway’s return now is historic,” Garcia-Lee said. “Broadway has never stopped for so long in its history.”
For performers and audiences, the historic reopening may remind people of the magic that can be found in the shared experience.
“Sitting in the Broadway theater, the lights started to dim, it’s not like the TV show you’ve been watching,” Garcia-Lee said. “Broadway takes place in a place on Earth in New York City, in those selected theaters. It’s amazing.”