Kevin McCollum Explains How Broadway Could Reopen: Money, Time, and Adjustments

Tony-winning producer Kevin McCollum dropped by CBS New York March 12 to discuss what’s needed to prepare for Broadway’s return—and what will look different after its reopening. Among the highlights are calls for more federal support funding, a six-month window of ticket buying, and health and safety guidelines that circumvent social distancing to allow for full houses without the danger of virus spreading. Check out the full interview, also featuring dance arranger Zane Mark discussing the impacts of the shutdown, below.

“We’ve been working with the federal government with the shuttered venues legislation, because we’re going to need money to restart,” says McCollum. Once producers and theatres get the all-clear, an advanaced buying period will be needed to create a cushion that makes putting on a show fiscally responsible—at least six months, according to the Six and Mrs. Doubtfire producer.

Rather than enforce audiences to sit six feet apart—a maneuver that would reduce theatre capacities to an unsustainable level—McCollum says masks should be required at all theatres for patrons whether they are vaccinated or not. “We’re not going to let anyone in this theatre, on stage or backstage, if we feel there’s any risk of putting them in any peril,” he says.

On top of that, the worker landscape has shifted significantly since a year ago, with many theatre professionals leaving NYC to find jobs elsewhere. Whether they return remains to be seen, but McCollum says show producers need to be prepared to spend money on items like refitted costumes and new shoes, which can cost upwards of $100,000 for a big-budget musical.

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Still, McCollum is optimistic: “I’m very bullish on the future for Broadway. When Broadway is back, New York is back and America is back.” Signs are already pointing to reopenings elsewhere around the world, and even at Off-Off-Broadway venues in NYC. Looking for ways to help? Check out our guide to supporting arts workers during the pandemic.