Broadway insider reveals COVID-19 protocols for actors

As mad King George warbles in “Hamilton” — “You’ll be back.”

And the time has lastly come. Yes, after greater than a 12 months, Broadway is “Opening Up” — similar to in “Waitress” — however we’ll all be masking up to look at our favourite reveals.

But its return means a lot greater than the possibility to look at some soft-shoe with overpriced heat wine and snacks.

For three-time Tony Award-winning producer Bonnie Comley, who was appointed president of the Drama League’s board of administrators in June, it was heartbreaking to look at the doorways shut on Broadway’s 41 theaters amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“With artists, there is a longing, there is a sense of community,” Comley, 55, solely instructed The Post. “It’s an ambiguous loss. It’s missing something that has no finality to it.”

Broadway is an financial juggernaut. During the 2018-19 season, 14 million tickets have been offered, and it contributed $14.7 billion to New York City’s economic system. Its closure left not simply the performers out of labor, but in addition the behind-the-scenes employees, from musicians to entrance of home and backstage employees.

“People in the live-entertainment industry didn’t know how much longer they were going to be out of work,” Comley defined. “For the 25 people you see onstage, you don’t see the 20 people in the pit and another 50 or 75 in the theater that are supporting the show. And there was a layer of despair and depression. Everyone is much more hopeful now. We know so much more about this virus and how it operates than we did a year and a half ago.”

The Broadway League has put methods in place to make sure that theaters can reopen, together with COVID “hall monitors” from the Actors’ Equity union to verify that pointers are maintained within the small areas backstage.

The producers of “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” have additionally introduced its return as one present as a substitute of two separate elements in a COVID-safe adjustment.

Performers and backstage crew may also should be totally vaccinated. If they’ve an issue with this, “they just won’t work,” Comley warned.

Ticket holders may also should put on masks throughout performances and be vaccinated earlier than they sit down. These guidelines shall be in place till at the least the tip of October.

“Then we’re going to take a look and see where we’re at,” stated Comley. “These policies are really in alignment with stores, schools and business in NYC.”

Comley, additionally the proprietor and founding father of BroadwayHD, a streaming platform of dwell productions — a giant plus throughout COVID — defined the league is making an attempt to get 100,000 individuals again to work throughout the subsequent 12 months.

Another huge problem is the dearth of vacationers as a result of pandemic, as non-New Yorkers make up about 60 p.c of audiences (15-25 p.c are worldwide). “We need these tourists back,” stated Comley, who together with her tech savvy is making an attempt to modernize the trade.

During the break, many performers and crew had monetary assist from the league in addition to the Actors Fund and the Drama League.

The most essential factor now, Comley stated, is that ticket holders perceive their “safety is the priority. People working in the theater and the 41 theater owners and unions have come to a place of solidarity, which is a huge accomplishment and shouldn’t be taken lightly.”

Bonnie Comley
Bonnie Comley, board president of the Drama League and an award-winning producer, poses on the Great White Way.
Drama League

“Hamilton,” “The Lion King” and “Wicked” — identified in interior circles as Broadway’s Big 3 — are anticipated to reopen in mid-September.

As for Comley, “Six: The Musical,” a contemporary retelling of the lives of the six wives of Henry VIII offered as a pop live performance, will mark her return to a Broadway viewers when the present opens formally in October.

“I’m going to dress up,” she promised, “and put my crown on and celebrate.”

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