It’s been more than a year since the lights on Broadway went out due to the coronavirus pandemic. Thankfully, the announcement of reopenings starting this fall have given hope to the thousands who work in the industry and those who have businesses that rely on the entertainment industry for work.
With the increasing amount of vaccines available and theater workers preparing for reopening, what might be different come the fall? How will things look and feel for thespians and those who love musicals and plays? Let’s explore how this pandemic may transform our theater experience.
Theater Offerings May Shift
According to the Broadway League, the trade organization that represents theater owners and producers, a typical Broadway audience pre-pandemic was made up of 35% local residents and 65% tourists.
While these statistics may seem hopeful, the prospect that more than half of the audiences were once made up of tourists is frightening, especially since full tourist audiences are not expected back until 2025.
This shift in the demographics of the audiences could consequently mean a shift in the program offerings. Fortune online predicts that, “Broadway will need to develop and produce content tailored more towards the 35% of audiences that hail from New York City and its suburbs and rely less on the international tourists (19%) and domestic tourists (46%) that made up the majority of its pre-pandemic audience.”
As a result, show creators and theater owners may need to adjust the offerings that are less tourist-popular and more interesting to the local and regional residents in the Tri-State region. This could include limited-run performances or special concert programming.
New Venues Outside of NY and London
Travel to and from many countries remains highly restricted due to the coronavirus. This may mean that since tourists still need to get their theater fix, they may do it at Off-Broadway venues rather than larger more populous venues.
As a result, smaller venues and nonprofits around the country may (in no small part) lead the comeback of theater. The same is true of regional theaters in Europe that may bypass a trip to London in order to remain in a semi-dafe bubble of their own country.
Creativity Will Expand
It doesn’t take the end of the pandemic to see that creativity is even stronger than ever before in the theater industry. Think about all of the out-of-the-box thinking that went into outdoor performances, Zoom dance classes, and collaboration through video conferencing when creating a perfectly harmonized duet.
Rest assured that this creativity of how to perform and continue to grow in their craft will continue now that the curtains are going up in theaters across the country.
Crossovers Between Theater & Movies
As we saw during the pandemic, where there is a will there’s a way. Theater goers were starved for live performances and were stuck at home on the couch. As a result, collaboration between Disney and Hamilton producers brought about something that we never thought we would see, a recorded performance of Hamilton on Disney+.
These types of crossovers are most likely going to continue as well as movie versions of fan favorites like Dear Evan Hansen. Fans love the idea of having access to a show even from the comfort of their own home.