Jun 29, 2020 - Economy

Broadway to remain closed until 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic

 A man walks past the Lyric Theatre where Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

The Lyric Theatre where "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" resides has remained dark since Broadway closed its doors in March. Photo: Ira L. Black/Corbis via Getty Images

Broadway's 41 theaters will remain closed through Jan. 3, 2021, as the industry tries to hammer out its next steps amid the coronavirus pandemic, trade group the Broadway League announced Monday.

Why it matters, per Axios' Sara Fischer: It's the biggest economic crisis to hit Broadway in decades. Even during past recessions, Broadway has rallied. But with theaters physically shut, the theater community must rally around digital alternatives to survive.

  • Broadway's success is determined by attendance, an economic model that makes social distancing impractical for profitability. The League said it's working with unions on the next steps to ensure the safety of everyone.
  • The Tony Awards was also postponed this year and Disney shuttered "Frozen" on Broadway in May.

The big picture: With the closure of theaters, Broadway is doing more than ever to convert its songs and shows for digital audiences. The biggest litmus test for whether Broadway will be able to successfully capture the attention of audiences online will be when Disney debuts "Hamilton" on Disney+ July 3.

What they're saying:

  • "The Broadway experience can be deeply personal but it is also, crucially, communal. The alchemy of 1000 strangers bonding into a single audience fueling each performer on stage and behind the scenes will be possible again when Broadway theatres can safely host full houses," chair of the Broadway League, Thomas Schumacher, said in a statement.

Of note: Those who have purchased Broadway tickets up to Jan. 3, 2021, qualify for a refund or exchange. Buyers should receive an email by July 13 from "their point of purchase" regarding the exchange process.

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