L. Steven Taylor of “The Lion King,” Krystal Joy Brown of “Hamilton” and Alexandra Billings of “Wicked” revealed that their shows will return Sept. 14, with tickets on sale now.
“It’s kind of indescribable,” Taylor said of what it will be like when the curtain is raised for the first time on Broadway. “That moment already in ‘Circle of Life’ is an iconic moment, and from pride rock I have a different special viewpoint. My favorite thing to do is stand on pride rock and watch all the grown men cry. From Rafiki’s opening call, it’s really a call for the community to come together, and I feel like that’s what this is symbolic of, Broadway coming back, is it’s really a community coming back and making New York really start to go.”
The official Twitter account for “Hamilton” shared the good news, and it didn’t take fans long to start booking their seats, with many of them sharing their excitement at Broadway reopening on social media.
“Just got our tickets – my kids are going to lose their minds,” wrote one happy customer on Twitter. “#hamilton is all they talk about since seeing it on Disney last year.”
Just got our tickets- my kids are going to lose their minds. #hamilton is all they talk about since seeing it on Disney last year.
— Trace (@TOKneel1) May 11, 2021
“Wicked” fans also went wild on social media when they heard about Broadway reopening and tickets going on sale for their favorite show. “My green heart is jumping for joy!! wrote @behndblueyz:
My green heart is jumping for joy!! 💚
— Alyssa Collier (@behndblueyz) May 11, 2021
It’s been more than a year since the lights went out on Broadway. In March 2020, 31 productions closed, and though many hoped the closure would only last for a few months, additional restrictions led to a lengthy downtime. The impact has been far-reaching, with 97,000 Broadway workers having to pivot to other jobs to stay financially afloat over the past year, “GMA” reported.
People who missed their theater fix were able to watch Broadway shows via the PBS Broadway Collection, part of the Thirteen Passport service, an on-demand library from PBS’ flagship New York station, WNET. But it’s not the same as watching a live performance.
Brown told “GMA” that all necessary precautions have been taken to protect audience members, cast and crew when Broadway reopens.
For some shows, those precautions include requiring vaccination to work on the show. “Hamilton” producer Jeffrey Seller said all of the show’s employees, cast and crew, will be required to be vaccinated, the New York Times reported. Cast and crew members work in close proximity, often in close quarters. And if you’ve seen live theater, you know how a show’s cast can belt out lyrics in a way that’s admirable under normal circumstances but a little scary in a pandemic.
Theaters on the Great White Way can open at 100% capacity, and shows can decide on their own entry requirements for audience members, ABC7NYC reported. So far, none are requiring proof of vaccination for entry, but that, along with mask requirements, could change.
When Broadway Reopens, What Other Shows Will Play?
Though the announcement that hit shows “Hamilton,” “Wicked” and “The Lion King” will open in September brought attention to Broadway’s reopening, they’re not the only shows that will return this fall. EW reports that “Dear Evan Hansen,” David Byrne’s “American Utopia,” “Diana,” “Alladin” and “Chicago” all have opening dates set before the end of the year.
Broadway’s longest-running show, “The Phantom of the Opera,” also returns to live performances this fall, on Oct. 22.