By Eliana Pasternak
When Broadway announced a month-long closure on March 12th, theater fans worldwide were devastated. At the time, nobody could have imagined that this shutdown would be extended. On April 8th, the Broadway League announced that they hope to reopen theaters by mid-June. The heavily anticipated Barrack Drama Trip was canceled after Broadway’s initial closure, as it was scheduled for April 1st.
Beetlejuice, a musical that first opened less than a year ago and quickly gained a cult following, will not resume its run when Broadway eventually reopens. The show, which was supposed to perform through June 6th, has been cut drastically short. Beetlejuice’s unexpected end hit especially hard for Presley Ryan, who had been understudying in the role of Lydia Deetz, the show’s protagonist. Ryan, a sixteen-year-old New York native, was given the unique opportunity to take over as Lydia full-time on February 26th. Unfortunately, she had only two weeks in the spotlight.
The beloved musical Waitress, with music by Sara Bareilles, also suffered a tragic loss, though less direct. Actor Nick Cordero, who played Earl during the show’s original Broadway run, was diagnosed with COVID-19. On April 18th, it was reported that his right leg was amputated due to complications with the virus. Cordero, whose other roles included Sonny in A Bronx Tale, was in intensive care through at least May 6th.
The coronavirus has hindered Broadway in many ways. The theater powerhouse drew in nearly 15 million patrons last year and grossed 1.8 billion dollars in revenue. Many New York City tourists come for the sole purpose of seeing a show. Other renowned theaters worldwide have also announced closure. England’s own West End closed through at least May 31st. Broadway hasn’t fallen out of relevance though. YouTube channels of both individual shows and Broadway as a whole have posted videos from past performances and actor interviews. In any event, it’s important to have hope for the future and appreciate all the online opportunities that have popped up.