The surge of the Omicron COVID variant is once again making things hard on the entertainment business.
One of the industries that has had a really rough go since 2020 has been the theater. With COVID cases on the rise once again speculation of a new lockdown loomed over Broadway. This time around though, it seems like theater companies are looking to tough it out. The end of the year holiday season is one of the best times of the year for this industry. Therefore, they are not contemplating a full shutdown.
At least that’s the case in the theater Mecca of the East Coast. Sadly though, the fact that as a union theaters are choosing to remain open that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be able to find tickets to your favorite show this holiday season.
There’s No Official Shutdown of Theaters On Broadway
Broadway League president Charlotte St. Martin talked to The Hollywood Reporter, to announce that there has been no official mandate by local authorities or by the theater union itself to shut down facilities. Obviously, this could all change overnight with a government mandate from the local or state level. St. Martin is hoping that this doesn’t happen.
The Broadway League president mentioned that facilities were operating at an average of 85% capacity in the last months of the year. Which certainly seemed like numbers that brought hope to a decimated industry. Still, although theaters are adamant to press on safety is the number one concern. St. Martin mentioned,
“Our number one priority is safety and security,” she would go on to add, “If the show is opening, we believe that we have the correct information that says it is safe to open for the cast, the crew and the audience. If we don’t feel it’s safe, we don’t perform that day.”
Some Shows Though Are Closing The Curtains This Season
As we mentioned, although there’s no official mandate to close up shop a lot of shows are keeping the curtains closed through the holidays. In most cases, the reason why these shows are closing up is literally because there’s been a COVID outbreak amongst the cast. Hamilton on Broadway, Harry Potter, and the Cursed Child as well as Wicked are just some of the high profile shows that have had to cancel performances throughout this season.
With shows like Chicago and Aladdin going through similar issues in November. Ironically these last two shows may have a better chance of staying open throughout the holidays because they’ve already been through a major outbreak.
Is Going To The Theater A Safe Experience This Season?
Charlotte St.Martin certainly tried to pin the blame of these COVID outbreaks on issues within the households of actors and staff members. Saying that they do their best to stay safe in the theater. Ultimately though, St. Martin admitted that they have yet to develop an effective contact tracing system to really track how Broadway workers are getting COVID.
At this point heading to the theater can be risky business. In all fairness to Broadway though, right now going anywhere could put you at a risk of contracting COVID.