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Lin-Manuel Miranda surprises the audience and welcomes them back to Broadway at the reopening of "Hamilton." Photo: Bruce Glikas/Getty Images

Some of Broadway's biggest shows returned Tuesday night, with theater icons Kristin Chenoweth, Julie Taymor and Lin-Manuel Miranda welcoming fully vaccinated and mask-wearing audiences.

Why it matters: The coronavirus pandemic forced Broadway shows to close for 18 months — the longest shutdown in Broadway history, the New York Times reports.

State of play: Some of theater's most popular musicals, "Wicked," "Chicago," "The Lion King" and "Hamilton," opened on Tuesday — the day former Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Broadway shows could reopen at 100% capacity.

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.
  • Chenoweth welcomed "Wicked's" audience, Taymor welcomed "The Lion King's" and Miranda welcomed "Hamilton's" — all to standing ovations.
  • Yes, but: The shows were not the first nor the only ones to reopen. Two other big musicals, "Hadestown" and "Waitress," reopened on Aug. 22, per AP.
The audience during curtain call of the Broadway reopening of "Wicked." Photo: Jenny Anderson/Getty Images
Michael McCormick, Ginna Claire Mason, Stephen Schwartz, Lindsay Pearce, Sam Gravitte and cast during curtain call of the Broadway reopening of "Wicked." Photo: Jenny Anderson/Getty Images
Jin Ha as Aaron Burr, Krystal Joy Brown as Eliza Hamilton, Miguel Cervantes as Alexander Hamilton and cast take the curtain call at the reopening of "Hamilton." Photo: Bruce Glikas/Getty Images

Go deeper

Dec 24, 2021 - Health

CDC shortens COVID isolation period for health care workers

Photo: Ariana Drehsler/AFP via Getty Images

The CDC on Thursday shortened the recommended isolation time for health care workers who test positive for COVID-19 from 10 days to seven days if they're asymptomatic.

Driving the news: The new guidance follows calls by health officials for the CDC to shorten its recommendation on isolation for fully vaccinated people who test positive due to concerns about the Omicron variant.

Updated Dec 28, 2021 - Economy & Business

Omicron surge and storms disrupt air travel for 4th straight day

Photo: Gary Hershorn/Getty Images

Another 1,000 flights were canceled in the U.S. on Monday due to COVID-19 outbreaks among crews for a fourth straight day, with storms in the Pacific Northwest adding to the chaos, AP reports.

Why it matters: Thousands of customers have been affected by the latest pandemic-driven travel disruptions since Christmas Eve, with airlines including United blaming a "nationwide spike in Omicron cases" in recent days.

1 hour ago - World

Pentagon: 8,500 troops on high alert for possible deployment to eastern Europe

Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has placed 8,500 U.S. troops on "heightened preparedness to deploy" to eastern Europe in case NATO activates its rapid-response force over tensions with Russia, the Pentagon announced Monday.

Why it matters: No decisions have been made to actually deploy U.S. forces, but the heightened alert level will allow the military to rapidly shore up NATO's eastern flank in the event that Russia invades Ukraine. The Pentagon warned that Russia has shown "no signs of de-escalating," and continues to amass troops on Ukraine's borders.