A trio of Broadway blockbusters came together May 11 to announce that they will help usher in the return of Main Stem magic this fall. After remaining dark since March 2020, Hamilton, Wicked, and The Lion King will resume Broadway performances September 14. Tickets are now on sale for all three.
The announcement was made in Times Square May 11 on Good Morning America (watch below), with appearances from cast members of each production: Alexandra Billings as Madame Morrible from Wicked, Krystal Joy Brown as Eliza from Hamilton, and L. Steven Taylor as Mufasa from The Lion King. (Exact casting for their post-pandemic runs, however, will be confirmed later).
The three shows, which for years prior to the pandemic were frequent frontrunners in Broadway's weekly grosses, all play houses owned by the Nederlander Organization, with Hamilton at the Richard Rodgers Theatre, Wicked at the Gershwin, and The Lion King at the Minskoff. They will also be among the first to reopen, with their first performances set for the date New York Governor Andrew Cuomo cited last week as when he expected Broadway to begin welcoming back audiences at full capacity.
While shows in London's West End as well as Off-Broadway and regional offerings have made plans over the past year for socially distanced accommodations, offering a way to present shows relatively safely, that stipulation has been regarded as a non-starter for Broadway, where capacity limits would render a commercial production financially unfeasible. Theatre owners, in conjunction with the Broadway League and the Department of Health, have begun to establish (and in some cases, pilot) policies in line with CDC guidelines to ensure safety when theatregoers return on a large scale. While details will be confirmed closer to reopening, steps in the safety campaign, branded "The Broadway Brighter Promise," are expected to include mask requirements, enhanced filtration, and health screenings.
Also on the calendar for September 14: the first post-COVID performance of the Chicago revival, the longest-running American musical in Broadway history. The longest-running Broadway production of all-time, The Phantom of the Opera, is slated to return October 22. Other shows that have announced fall reopenings include, as of May 11 morning, two of the three current Best Musical Tony contenders (Tina: The Tina Turner Musical and Jagged Little Pill) and four shows that were in previews when the Broadway shutdown went into effect: Six, Mrs. Doubtfire, Company, and Diana.