New Jersey theaters will take lead from Broadway on reopening plans

Broadway will stay dark until at least 2021, and that decision could have a ripple effect in New Jersey.

News 12 Staff

Jul 2, 2020, 1:06 AM

Updated 1,387 days ago

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Broadway will stay dark until at least 2021, and that decision could have a ripple effect in New Jersey.
The Broadway League said this week that live shows won’t resume until at least January. This has left more than 30 professional theaters in New Jersey wondering how and when they will reopen.
“I believe that most theaters have come to the conclusion that it’s going to be January. They are looking to Broadway as a guiding factor,” says John McEwen, executive director of the New Jersey Theater Alliance.
McEwen says that because the state’s reopening guidelines for theaters have not yet been announced, and because performer unions have not set policies to protect members appearing in shows, theaters cannot make decisions about reopening.
“It’s going to look very different,” says Centenary Stage general manager Christopher Young.
Centenary Stage is a nonprofit theater located on the campus of Centenary University. It has scheduled some shows for the fall, including its annual Fringe Festival of Plays. This year the shows will have no more than two actors each for social distancing on stage. Audience members will have to be distanced as well.
“We’ve eliminated every other row so that we have social distancing a full 360 around any pair,” Young says.
The 500-seat theater will have only about 100 audience members, with other safety precautions in place if theaters are allowed to reopen by October.


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