After more than a year of theatre shutdowns due to coronavirus pandemic, New York PopsUp ushered in the first performance to play Broadway during a special invite-only event at the St. James Theatre April 3. In a moving tribute to the stage, Tony Award winners Nathan Lane and Savion Glover entertained a socially distanced audience of frontline heroes and volunteers from the Actors Fund and Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS—two organizations that have continued to provide relief to the full spectrum of arts workers throughout the pandemic.
The performance served as a beacon of hope—the intermission is nearly over and the curtain on Broadway will soon rise again.
See Photos of 1st Broadway Performance Since COVID-19 Shutdown With Savion Glover and Nathan Lane
The event was the first of 10 that will play Broadway houses over the course of 10 weeks. The Main Stem offerings are a fraction of the hundreds of performances on the NY PopsUp roster, which began in February and will continue through Labor Day, culminating in the 20th anniversary of the Tribeca Film Festival and the opening of Little Island at Pier 55.
The performances at Broadway theatres will serve as pilot programs for a more complete reopening, building a bank of effective health protocols along the way. For this first event, safety protocols included contact tracing, mask enforcement, and staggered entry and exit times. Audiences were also required to show proof of full vaccination, a negative PCR test within the past three days, or a negative rapid antigen test within six hours. The Jujamcyn-owned theatre had MERV13 filters implemented and required all crew and staff to be tested negative on the day of the performance.
The various steps were a means to reopening the theatre’s doors, with a clear indication that theatregoing habits will undergo an overhaul in a post-pandemic landscape.