By Leah Arroyo, Staff Writer
For the first time in 17 years, Broadway closed its curtains and went dark on March 12. The last time was in 2003 due to the musicians of several Broadway musicals going on strike. The governor of New York, Andrew M. Cuomo, put restrictions on gatherings of over 500 people to help prevent the new virus, COVID-19, from spreading among people.
Tickets bought through Telecharge and Ticketmaster will automatically be refunded. However, there is not yet any word on whether people who purchased their tickets through a third-party website will be refunded.
Olivia Gonzalez, a freshman acting major, attended a Broadway show less than a week before the governor put a restriction on mass gatherings.
“I feel very lucky that I was able to see the revival of ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?’ because I had been wanting to see it since it was announced last year. It was a great show and I’m sad it never got to open,” she said. “Ultimately, I believe closing Broadway was the right decision for public health, but my heart goes out to the casts and crews of all the shows that saw their runs cut short.”
Days later, March 15, a part-time usher who works at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre (“Six The Musical”) and Booth Theatre (“Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”) tested positive for COVID-19.
“I wasn’t worried because the usher was not working the day I attended, but I was glad to have the information so I could avoid exposing others,” Gonzalez said. She has been on self-quarantine since Wednesday, March 18 and has not noticed any symptoms of the coronavirus.
“I’m glad the theatre made the information public so audience members could take appropriate measures to keep themselves and others healthy,” she said.
Some Broadway stars have turned to social media. Tony Award winner, Laura Bentanti, tweeted “Dark times for all. Trying to find some bright spots. If you were meant to perform in your high school musical and it was cancelled please post yourself singing and tag me. I want to be your audience,” on March 13. As a result, Bentanti watched dozens of videos of high school students performing, as did other Broadway stars including Lin Manuel Miranda, creator and star of “Hamilton.”
“I’m definitely a fan of Broadway stars using social media to reach out to the fans. It’s important that the theatre community sticks together during a time like this. It’s a hard time to be an artist, the least we can do is support each other,” Jordan Horne, sophomore musical theatre major, said.
As of March 22, all Broadway theatres will reopen on April 12. Students can visit playbill.com for more Broadway updates regarding COVID-19.