It’s been thirteen months since the COVID-19 pandemic forced the closure of Broadway theaters on March 12, 2020. But now efforts are underway to begin the reopening process, with two initiatives leading the way to the safe return of live in-person performances.
This past Saturday, April 10, at 2 pm, dozens of Broadway performers who’ve been on hiatus for more than a year were invited to attend an event at the iconic Broadway Theatre (located at 1681 Broadway, at 53rd Street). Presented as part of NY PopsUp – a statewide festival of hundreds of mostly unannounced and largely free-of-charge live pop-up events designed to reinvigorate the entertainment sector – Amber Iman (Shuffle Along) gave the second on-stage performance inside a Broadway theater this month, following the April 3rd appearance by Nathan Lane and Savion Glover at the St. James.
To ensure the health of safety of all attendees and workers, NY PopsUp and the Broadway Theatre worked closely with the New York State Department of Health, following all required health and safety protocols. The masked and socially-distanced audience represented a reunion of cast members from Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of The Temptations, Chicago, Come From Away, Hamilton, Jagged Little Pill, Dear Evan Hansen, Diana The Musical, Moulin Rouge!, West Side Story, Wicked, Tina: The Tina Turner Musical, and The Book of Mormon, as NY PopsUp continued into its seventh week.
For those who were not in attendance, the performance was also livestreamed on the festival’s Instagram feed. You can watch a clip from the hour-long performance, of Iman singing the classic “Be My Husband” by Nina Simone (whom she portrayed in her Broadway debut in the 2013 musical Soul Doctor) on YouTube and here:
In addition to the NY PopsUp events, the national medical company ATC Healthcare Services, in cooperation with NYC, is handling a vaccine pop-up site at 20 Times Square (47th Street and 7th Avenue), where the permanently closed NFL Experience was previously located. Designated specifically for the Broadway theater community, the vaccination center is employing 80-100 Broadway workers left unemployed during the pandemic, to provide administrative support for the clinical nurses administering the vaccines.
The site opens with limited capacity today, Monday, April 12, and is expected to be in full operation at 7:30 am on Tuesday, with the hopes of dispensing 1500+ doses a day in the upcoming weeks. The heightened availability of immunizations should prove to be a critical advance in Broadway’s ongoing reopening process.