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Broadway, doors closed and stages empty, fears an uncertain future

Update: May, 05/2020 - 10:54

 

The theatres of Broadway have been closed for nearly two months now, and with no date set for reopening, some professionals worry for the industry's future. — AFP/VNA Photo

NEW YORK — New York's celebrated Broadway theatres have been shuttered since March 12 and may well not reopen before September. The very real fear is that with no public funding to help them weather the crisis, some theaters may never reopen.

Their neon lights still glow at night, but for nearly two months -- as New York has become the US epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic -- there have been no lines outside the many theaters around Times Square.

In normal times, those theatres would be taking in $33 million a week in receipts. Now, nothing.

Theater professionals received two weeks' pay when their venues closed, but now they have nothing but jobless benefits, and the chaos in New York's overwhelmed unemployment offices means many have so far received nothing.

"Unfortunately, it’s almost impossible for a performing musician to make money at this point," said Clayton Craddock, a drummer in the orchestra of the musical comedy "Ain't Too Proud."

Base pay for most musicians or actors is around $2,000 a week, according to several sources, though it can go considerably above that.

Adam Krauthamer, president of Local 802 of the American Federation of Musicians, said several members of the union have already died of COVID-19.

Of 16 shows that were preparing to open when Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the shutdown on March 12, only two have officially dropped their plans.

"It would be safe to say that there will be some that don't come back, but we don't have that information yet," said Charlotte St. Martin, who heads the Broadway League, a trade association. - AFP

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