The hustle and bustle of New York City draws people from all over the world. The streets are strips of legendary restaurants and buildings, but some of the city’s biggest attractions are Broadway shows. Thousands of people go to Broadway shows every day, but this soon changed after the start of the Covid-19 Pandemic.
On March 12, it was announced by Governor Andrew Cuomo and the President of the Broadway League, Charlotte St. Martin, that Broadway performances would be canceled until April 12, 2020. Since gatherings of large groups were prohibited, Broadway performances could not occur. Tourists and Broadway performers were devastated that they could not perform or attend any shows. Many performances were supposed to open that night and perform in front of the audience for the first time. Various other shows were scheduled to open throughout the month of March and were postponed.
Broadway actress, Analise Scarpaci, known for her performances in “A Christmas Story” and “Matilda The Musical” was excited to star in the upcoming musical “Mrs. Doubtfire” until she discovered the life-changing news.
“The full cast was at the theater and I was in my dressing room. All of a sudden I open Facebook and see the headlines, then my phone starts blowing up with texts. I had to turn my phone off to avoid getting overwhelmed, but I was still ridiculously in denial and waited for our producer Kevin to officially announce it,” Scarpaci said.
“To be honest I think the news hit me harder because I was so completely distracted by the excitement of Mrs. Doubtfire,” Scarpaci added.
Little did the Broadway community know that they would not be able to see the stage for another few months.
The reopening of Broadway was postponed again until June 7, 2020, when the severity of the pandemic was projected to die down. This date then extended to Sept. 6, 2020, then to Jan. 3, 2021. The reopening for Broadway is now planned for May of 2021.
This majorly affected the world and even just the town of Monroe, as local families would normally look forward to taking trips into the city and seeing these shows, like sophomore Ari Schultz.
“I used to see shows with my family at least once or twice a year. It was one of my favorite things to do. Once COVID hit, my family and I were sad that we couldn’t keep seeing shows but I couldn’t be more excited for the pandemic to be over so I can see more shows,” Schultz said.
Although the shutdown was heartbreaking for everyone, it allowed people to take advantage of other opportunities.
“I’m thankful that I’ve had this time to work towards getting my degree. I now have the opportunity to get a full year of school under my belt while I’m not working, this way when I do go back to work I won’t have a heavy class load and I’ll be able to graduate by May of 2022 which is so exciting!” Scarpaci added .
Not only have Broadway performers gotten to take advantage of new opportunities, but our own Masuk community has gotten creative in our ideas for our drama department.
Masuk plans on having a fall/winter drama production where performances will have separate casts and be live-streamed so that more people will be able to watch. It will consist of three one act plays: “The Long Christmas Dinner,” “Happy Journey to Camden from Trenton,” and “Pullman Car Hiawatha.” Masuk is getting inventive with their limitations and is taking advantage of what they can to get through this troubling time.
It is evident that the shutdown of Broadway shows has had a major impact on our world and is still changing people’s lives. All we can do now is be hopeful that Masuk theatre will be successful and that Broadway will return next spring.