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The reopening of 3 flagship Broadway shows heralds a new dawn | Way of life

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NEW YORK (AP) We know when he stopped. But when did it restart?

One of the recurring debates among theatergoers has been what would mean the return of Broadway after the global pandemic that shut down the theater in March 2020.

Was it when Bruce Springsteen performed his concert on June 26? Was it the opening of the new play, Pass Over, on August 22? Or was it when two big musicals Hadestown and Waitress allowed patrons to re-enter on September 2? Is it when the iconic TKTS stand reopens?

For the producers of three flagship shows, The Lion King, “Hamilton” and Wicked, the answer is Tuesday, when the spiritual anchors of modern Broadway success get their heads turned on again.

The Lion King, “Hamilton and Wicked all staked Tuesday to reopen together in early May after then New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo chose September 14 for Broadway to start welcoming audiences once again. capacity.

I think that won’t feel real to me until we have an audience in front of us, said L. Steven Taylor, who stars in The Lion King as Mufasa. It’s such an important part of that, and most importantly, I think, after everything we’ve been through.

While a few more shows have opened in the meantime, the return of the trio on Tuesday along with the longtime Chicago is an important signal that Broadway’s most treasured shows are back, despite the pressure and uncertainty of the spread of. the delta variant.

The world must restart. You just have to. We can’t maintain that anymore, said Sharon Wheatley, a veteran actress on the Come From Away series, which will resume airing on Broadway on September 21.

Ticket holders for all three mega-hits must prove that they are fully vaccinated with an FDA or WHO-approved vaccine and masks must be worn at all times except when eating or drinking in designated areas .

It’s kind of like when you’re on a plane and there’s turbulence, she says. I have to trust the pilot, I have to trust the air traffic controllers. I feel nervous, but I have to understand that I don’t know as much as these people.

“Hamilton,” which opened six years ago, Wicked, which opened 17 years ago and The Lion King, which opened 23 years ago, form the foundation of modern Broadway, virtually immune to slowdowns, changes in tourism and rivals.

On Tuesday, they schedule staggered openings at 7 p.m. for Wicked at the Gershwin Theater and 7:30 p.m. for The Lion King at the Minskoff Theater. “Hamilton” will open at 8 pm at the Richard Rodgers Theater. All three open at full capacity.

Evil songwriter Stephen Schwartz, Lion King director Julie Taymor and Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda are expected to be on hand, visiting each of their theaters to greet patrons before each performance.

Another sign that Broadway is returning to normal also occurs on Tuesday: the reopening of the famous TKTS booth in the heart of Times Square, where visitors can get discounted tickets for Broadway and off Broadway the same day and the next.

It’s a big step forward, said Victoria Bailey, executive director of the nonprofit Theater Development Fund, which manages the booth. To open it up and such a symbol for people that the theater is coming back.

Bailey says the return to Broadway will be less of a flick of the switch and more of a dimmer, with a slow progression to regular attendance. Well, you’ll know a lot more in two or three weeks, but you can’t swim unless you can paddle your dog first.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio called New York City a big night out on Tuesday.

It’s really, really exciting. It’s about who we are as New Yorkers. We are the capital of arts and culture. Broadway and all the arts and culture of this city express the life, the energy, the diversity, the spirit of New York. It’s in our hearts and souls, he said in a virtual press conference on Tuesday.

Singer and songwriter Sara Bareilles, who wrote the music for the musical The Waitress, joined de Blasio at his press conference and called the reopening a magical day for the theater community.

PA political reporter Michelle L. Price contributed to this report.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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