As Broadway reopens, community members attend shows

As+Broadway+reopens%2C+community+members+attend+shows

Celine Kiriscioglu, Staff Writer

“It’s like a huge part of New York City itself has been gone for so long,” Athena Spencer (11) said about Broadway’s reopening. After closing for 18 months due to COVID-19, many Broadway shows including “Aladdin,” “Chicago,” “Dear Evan Hansen,” “Hadestown,” “Hamilton,” “The Lion King,” and “Wicked” have reopened, according to Broadway.org. 

Spencer, a fan of musical theater, attended the opening show of “Six: The Musical” in late September. In 2020, the musical had been scheduled to open on March 12, the same date all Broadway theatres closed due to the pandemic. Due to the long-awaited opening night, the audience was more lively than ever, Spencer said. As the show began and the cast came out onto the stage, the crowd greeted them with a big round of applause, she said 

Willa Davis (11), who also attended the opening of “Six: The Musical” said the audience was incredibly energetic because the audience had not been to a show in such a long time. 

Although she has not made plans yet, Bailey Hecht (11) is happy about the possibility of now seeing “Six” and “Moulin Rouge.” Not only are people excited that Broadway has reopened, some are ready for the arrival of new productions, Hecht said. “People want new reasons to go to the theater.” 

While attending “Six: The Musical,” Davis said she noticed a QR code on the show’s playbill that promoted a virtual stage door experience. The tradition of audience members meeting the performers at the stage door has been adapted into a virtual experience, she said. 

As a Broadway fan and a member of the Horace Mann Theater Company, Hecht has always enjoyed meeting the cast of Broadway shows and experiencing the show in person. Hecht said that although she finds the new interactive stage door experience interesting, she believes there is something to be said about going out to the theatre and meeting actors in person rather than through a screen. “Getting the opportunity to meet the actual performers of a show I’ve been following or watching is such a surreal moment.” 

Along with the virtual adaptation of meet and greets, Broadway has also changed the requirements for audience members attending a show. According to their website, all productions require the audience, performers, backstage crew, and theatre staff to wear masks and be fully vaccinated. 

Despite these new requirements, Davis is concerned about the impact the reopening will have on COVID-19 cases. “I’m glad they were very safe, but there’s always a little part of me that’s nervous about things reopening because when that happens, there tends to be a rise in cases,” she said. 

Middle and Upper School Dance teacher Patrick O’Neill attended “Pass Over, where staff members checked everyone’s vaccination card and ID before letting them into the theater and mandated that masks be worn throughout the performance. “Even with all the precautions, which I fully support, it was still a magical evening,” O’Neill said. 

The distance COVID created between the public’s access to theater did not hinder O’Neill’s love for Broadway. 

Although he was not impacted by the loss of Broadway, his friends who travel in touring companies on Broadway had to suffer the challenges created by the pandemic, O’Neill said. “Too many artists were out of work and lost their livelihoods because of the pandemic and it’s time to get everyone back in the theaters doing what they love and sharing that love with an audience.”