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Broadway to remain closed through May

The sidewalks near the Ambassador Theater, where the

The sidewalks near the Ambassador Theater, where the show "Chicago" had been playing, are quiet Friday. Credit: Craig Ruttle

Broadway's intermission just got longer.

On Friday, the Broadway League announced that New York City's theaters would now remain closed through May 30 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Before this, the League had announced that Broadway, which has been shut down since March 12, would reopen in January.

"With nearly 97,000 workers who rely on Broadway for their livelihood and an annual economic impact of $14.8 billion to the city, our membership is committed to reopening as soon as conditions permit us to do so. We are working tirelessly with multiple partners on sustaining the industry once we raise our curtains again," said Charlotte St. Martin, president of the Broadway League, in a statement.

Theatregoers holding tickets for dates through May 30 should contact their point of purchase for details about exchanges and refunds.

"My heart breaks for everyone who works on Broadway or depends on it to make their living. Today the Broadway League made the difficult but responsible decision to put the safety and health of their workers and audience first. This is a deeply painful time for everyone who depends on the arts for their livelihood," said Mary McColl, executive director for Actors’ Equity Association, in a statement.

The news essentially means the end of the 2020-21 Broadway season. Several shows that were slated to open this year, such as the revival of "Plaza Suite" with Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker, had been rescheduled to open next spring.

On Friday, shortly after news of the shutdown, producers of the revival of "The Music Man," starring Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster, announced that show was being rescheduled to begin previews Dec. 20, 2021 and open on Feb. 10, 2022. The musical was originally set to open this month and was then shifted to begin previews on April 7 and open May 20. Later, the producers of "MJ," announced that the Michael Jackson musical would now open in September. That show, which was originally set to open this past summer, was moved to the spring after the March shutdown.

At the time of the shutdown, 31 shows were running on Broadway, including eight shows in previews and another eight that were in rehearsal. Some of them, including the Disney hit "Frozen," have since closed.

This is the fourth time the Broadway League has announced an extension of the shutdown. In the spring, the League said Broadway would remain closed through June 7, then changed it to Sept. 6 and then again to Jan. 3.

Broadway theaters — as well as those on Long Island — were included in Phase 4 of New York’s reopening plan. But when the state hit that mark in July, theaters remained closed.

Last month, the Metropolitan Opera announced that it would remain closed until fall 2021 with the hope that a COVID-19 vaccine would be in place by then.

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