Broadway won’t reopen in 2020. Nor will the Met

Broadway won’t reopen in 2020. Nor will the Met


norman lebrecht

May 13, 2020

The Broadway League confirmed last night that theatres will remain shut until after Labor Day. That’s the official line.
Privately, they told journalists that there will be no more shows this year and no reopening planned until some way into 2021.

A revival of Neil Simon’s Plaza Suite, with Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker, has been rescheduled for March 19-July 18, 2021.

Where does that leave the Met? In the same boat.

Nothing before springtime.



  • John Borstlap says:

    Maybe they could dig-out ‘Springtime for Hitler’ again, which would result in corona-safe performances because there would be a minor audience.

  • John Borstlap says:


    For people who don’t know what ‘Springtime for Hitler’ is:

  • Dave says:

    I hope no one was shocked to find out these various institutions would not be opening in 2020. It’s a new world and a new way we will have to act. I’m sure a majority of people will not be able to change with the times.

  • Cynical Bystander says:

    Well I’ll bet that Autumn 2021 will be the earliest we will see a return to anything like a full calendar of live events. Houses publishing their proposals for 2020/21 are being highly optimistic in part because they are not factoring in a wave of secondary infections as a result of the current easedown and then the confusion, not to say panic, as the ‘normal’ winter flu outbreak morphs into something more sinister.

    Concert and Opera going for many will now be a thing of fond remembrance as their age and the imperative to ‘stay safe’ means that the fear of the unknown and unseen ‘killer’ in our midst lurks in the parkett, Grand Tier, Circle and balconies. And as the ‘old’ audience stays away there will be no new audience to take their place.

    And if all that is not enough the massive subventions, both state and private to keep the classic and lyric stages open will be way down the list of priorities for many years to come.

    Better get used to remembering what was because what is is going to be very little and some artists will have made their farewell to the stage in a way that they would not have wished.

    But, on the bright side for some commentators here and on another blog as they were never really ‘singers’ in the old sense of the word every cloud has a silver lining.

    • Genious says:

      Haha man, you are a genious!!
      You forgot to mention that you would prefer to listen to your record collection like this John guy keeps saying all the time :))

    • Bill says:

      I don’t get what is tantamount to gloating by people like you, (and I’ve been seeing a lot of this in comments here), that the arts and peoples lives and livelihoods are being destroyed.

      It’s almost as if you think they had it coming for wanting to be a professional musician or performer; or these organizations had it coming for being destroyed due to circumstances beyond anyone’s control.

      Do you have the same feelings about restaurant workers or any other industry or business that is now in the process of annihilation because of this?

      My guess is it’s coming from a place of jealousy; and now you’re enjoying seeing successful people’s careers and arts organizations destroyed because you couldn’t achieve what they were able to.

      You’re a sad person indeed.

      • John Borstlap says:

        That’s why I believe that artists have, in the longer run, a better chance to survive the coronie than restaurant and café owners.

      • DAVID says:

        Absolutely right. Tons of resentment and bitterness from what I suspect are failed musicians and/or people generally angry at the world and in need of constant, aggressive ranting.

    • Tiredofitall says:

      We can only hope and pray that arts administrators will be able to come up with sustainable models. In the meantime, perhaps it is best to refrain from vomiting negativity and offer creative solutions? If not, maybe there are other sites where you might find better company?

      • Bruce says:

        Better company for negativity about the arts than Slipped Disc? I find that hard to imagine 😛

      • Alphonse says:

        I will admit and own up to making some regrettably negative comments on this site, and for that I apologize. But to be honest, I have been overwhelmed by feelings of hopelessness and desolation even before the pandemic struck, which have magnified a hundredfold as a result of this quarantine isolation. I worry that things will never return to normal, and that the music world will not recover. Most difficult of all are the feelings of pointlessness that I struggle mightily to keep at bay. Why bother to keep practicing when there are zero performances or rehearsals in sight? For my part, I’ll try not to let my frustration, anger, and fear permeate my comments and will try to make contributions of a more uplifting nature to the site.

        • Edgar Self says:

          Corragio, Alphonse! All are challenged as never before, and many bear heavier and more immediate personal burdens. Crises disclose character; each reveals himself.

          Obviously t’s not over yet, and even worse may yet come We must remain strong, find new strength in art, music, literature, philosophy, and our shared humanity, in Beethoven’s response to adversity in the quartets and sonatas, and not a few symphonies. Bach is a rock of solace and rationality.

          We can think like generals, if not like Beethoven, marshal our efences and resources, and fight the good fight as best we can. Do not despair. “Man will not only endure. He will prevail.”

          • Alphonse says:

            Thank you for your kind words, Edgar. You’ve lifted my spirits. Not sure why someone would downvote my heartfelt post, however.

  • Save the MET says:

    The MET is far worse off than Broadway. With an average audience age of 65 and over, they are essentially done until there is a vaccine. Additionally, they offer some of the smallest and most crowded seating in New York City. Ann Ziff and crew now need to beef up the finances.

    • Petros Linardos says:

      The MET has only one silver lining: a vast auditorium that can allow distancing, if there is any demand before a vaccine.

      • Tiredofitall says:

        Sadly, social distancing has been possible for the the majority of the past few seasons at the Met. Audience members just needed to fan out.

    • Tiredofitall says:

      Broadway is not exactly a young crowd, especially for the higher-priced shows.

      • drummerman says:

        Broadway has a huge number of tourists who are the ticket buyers. They’re unlikely to want to visit the “epicenter” any time soon.

        • Tiredofitall says:

          As a native New Yorker, I can tell you that the vast majority of tourists to the city are not those inclined to go to the Met (either one). They tend to come from the heartland and are not the most enlightened crowd. If they smell cheap airfares and hotels, they’ll arrive in droves. There just won’t be much to see.

      • Save the MET says:

        See Drummermans post. Broadway is loaded with young people; tourists and City dwellers alike. As an example, Hamilton remains one of the most expensive tickets on Broadway loaded every night with kids. Broadway will bounce back much faster than the MET. I’m sorry to say this but it will be very difficult at this point for the MET to survive this pandemic without massive financial help from their donor class. Further, Peter Gelb is not innovative enough on his own to make effective change once it does open. His Zoom benefit was not innovative, it was a copy of what everyone else was doing, just on a bigger scale. His gimmick productions were having to be changed out more quickly than the older productions as they don’t wear well with time like the older more realistic productions which brought people to the MET in the days when they actually filled the house.

        As to another point made,f they had to socially distance the MET the way the seats are laid out today, they couldn’t afford to turn on the lights on the ticket revenue they would bring in. The MET will have to be supported for some time to come on donations and it is incumbent on the Board to start ponying up, or drop off the Board.

        • Petros Linardos says:

          “His gimmick productions were having to be changed out more quickly than the older productions as they don’t wear well with time like the older more realistic productions which brought people to the MET in the days when they actually filled the house.”
          The elephant in the room, before and after Covid-19.

    • Cubs Fan says:

      Yes, but the MET broadcasts played in movie theaters is an excellent alternative if you don’t live in NYC, or can’t afford tickets to the real deal. Maybe it’s time to emulate the Berlin Philharmonic’s Digital Concert Hall and make the MET available at home. Still, the pit orchestra might object – understandably so.

      • Tiredofitall says:

        May we put you down as a major sponsor? They ain’t free, even the rebroadcasts.

        • Cubs Fan says:

          I pay my annual subscription to the Berlin Phil – it’s a great bargain. How many people who listen to the MET broadcasts would be willing to pay for a subscription? I don’t know. Would it be enough to help pay for the productions? Unknown. Arts administrators can work on it. But the cost would likely be less than I currently pay for season tickets to a MLB team, a WNBA and Pro Rodeo Finals. For many orchestras and opera companies, going to online subscription may be their only hope. And yes, I’d be a supporter.

      • DJ Quinn says:

        They are. It’s called Met Opera on Demand.

    • artists over avarice says:

      Ann Ziff and the Board should have PAID THE SINGERS, PLAYERS and STAFF through the end of the season in the FIRST PLACE!!!!!

      She and the Board are clearly all REPUBLICANS hiding behind a SAFE Donation PLACE for Tax purposes ONLY.

      What other greedy ‘basket of deplorables’ would abort their beloved artists and instantly make a grandiose appeal to ONLY the MET omitting the hint of anyone else?!?!?! The chorus is already begging via va pensiero video…pathetic for 6-figure singers.

      Plenty of money rolled in at the drop of a hat (by 1% White Males no less) as usual.

      Can’t wait for Norman’s updates on that front along with the big names who saved the day since the singers were all discarded like trash.

      Well, the MET under Lincoln Center can simply liquidate stocks and sell assets since the lot of the group is paralyzed. Selling the buildings as a land group would be easy. Plenty of Chinese and Arabs already own Manhattan anyway.

      Mostly, we can’t wait to see what the IRS Audit shall reveal apart from the soon to be released FY 2019 Financials. Any day now Peter.

  • Monsoon says:

    As I’ve said before, it’s way past time that organizations just accept the painful truth: Concerts aren’t going to happen — not even with some kind of social distance seating — until there is a vaccine or infection rates fall to zero and hold there for a while. And that isn’t going to happen until mid-2021 at the earliest.

    • Saxon Broken says:

      A vaccine is unlikely to appear any time soon. And getting the number of infections to zero won’t ever happen; if it happened in one country then it would just be reimported from abroad. We are going to have to learn to live with the virus.

  • Edgar Self says:

    These are historic times. It’s sobering to see it happen throughout the world due to an unstoppable virus. There were plagues, pestilence, polio, financial crashes, , TB, cholera, black death, malaria, yellow fever, e-coli, ebola, swine, bird and Spanish flu, wars, dust, locusts, measles, AIDS, diphtheria, SARS, but nothing on this scale in our lifetimes, or perhaps ever.

    Literature, history, and science warned us. Camus’s “The Plague”, “The Andromeda Strain”, George Stewart’s “Earth Abides”. Robinson Jeffers’s “age of the mass disasters and the disaster-prone heart of man” and ample apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic literature.

    I hold my breath over India, Russia, Brazil, Africa, and the U.S., as we have over Europe. I am skeptical of China.

    We will survive this time but can’t escape our physiology or human nature, although treatments, vaccines, cures may come. To see the great cities shut down, institutions close, and leaders unable or unwilling to protect even themselves bodes ill.

    It could be far worse still, and may be yet. We must struggle through it and brace for another. Or it could, like the Andromeda strain, suddenly mutate or vanish until the next time. “All human wisdom is contained in these two words: wait and hope.”There are the comforts of music and philosophy.

    • John Borstlap says:

      Why are there much less outbreaks in India, Pakistan and in refugee camps in Greece? That is, in relation to the nrs of people. Because where people live in the open air, chances of infection are much less since the aerosols which transport the virus are gone with the wind. Outbreaks appear to be more violent in care homes, or closed halls where people celebrated carnival in February: less ventilation. So, India, Africa etc. where people live more outdoors may experience much less damage.

    • Saxon Broken says:

      Edgar writes: “but nothing on this scale in our lifetimes, or perhaps ever”

      This is clearly nonsense. Pandemics were a regular occurance before the 20th century, happening every few years. They usually had much higher mortality than Covid-19 (which is actually only mildly dangerous, unlike, say, the Black Death or even the Spanish flu). The only thing that is true, is no society before has attempted the kind of lookdown western countries have implemented.

      • Edgar Self says:

        Broken Saxon — I don’t write nonsense or for for the nonsensical. I have seen your posts. Noted. Noted. I have no word for them worse than nonsense. Is sheltering a getting to you? Find another target.

        What is your quarrel? With three words, “or perhaps ever”. They were among hundreds written to brace others. In your case I retract them. Happy? Of course not. You need something to call nonsene, something with which you are familiar. Now what about all the rest?

        If my posts rile, read others. Disagree, nitpick, equivocate, reject, quibble, contradict, object, deny, whatever you do best. I do not write for such as you. Evidently you know it. I would not dream of calling your rubbish nonsense. Whatever you do, never agree. Ever. Lebwohl, broken Saxon-Anhalt.

  • Enthusiast says:

    Hm, I bought MET tickets, all of them in 20201, most in March, April, May – maybe even that was optimistic…

  • Sharon says:

    Wow! One of the problems with most NYC theaters and auditoriums (except the Met) was that they were built in the early twentieth century when people were smaller and they tried to crowd more people together than today would be comfortable physically . (Also the seats are smaller). If you have you ever been to an off-off Broadway theater that used to be an old vaudeville (music hall in the U.K.) house you know I mean.

    The “new normal” will probably be streamed (hopefully live) performances which small groups will watch together like today they watch downloaded music videos in homes.

    This will require not only technological development but also artistic development to perfect the art of different people people performing together from different locations and have it look like a coherent whole and make it look visually and sound auditorially like a “lived experience” (I hesitate to use the word “real”) and appealing to the online audience. There will be an artistic as well as a technological learning curve.

    For ex compare the quality of old Met Opera in HD to newer performances which are a sea change better in filming quality.

    Older audiences if they are interested enough will just have to learn the tech. As a tech dinosaur myself I’m a little squeamish about zooming, Skype etc as I initially was about email but I know that I gotta learn it.

    This crisis even after it passes will lead, in my opinion, to permanent changes in the arts as well as social life in general, because on line arts are cheaper to produce and to experience.

    It will also lead to permanent changes in socializing and in what we consider intimacy. I will miss the experience of “going out” and dating as part of the arts experience. Like the lost arts of paper letter writing and social telephone calls it will be a true psychological loss. But, nothing is constant except change.

    However, as I have mentioned in other posts although this online streaming and arts may lead to some new jobs, in the short term in will cause very serious unemployment and tremendous hardship for localities (like New York City), for many people on most levels of the socio economic spectrum, and for all artistic talent.

    Eventually we will adjust economically as we are adjusting
    technologically and artistically but I fear it’s going to be a rough next couple of years. I do hope those who are unemployed will utilize their free time to get into political advocacy for themselves and others.

    • #walkaway says:

      “I do hope those who are unemployed will utilize their free time to get into political advocacy for themselves and others.”

      Indeed, the supposedly ‘elevated’ party the artsy set has worshipped of late completely let them down and has failed to support them in their time of need.

      Why stay?


  • Sharon says:

    However, in spite of having said what I have said, I recently answered a fairly long survey on the internet that I found out about through an email from a US online ticketing company, Theater Mania, asking many questions about how comfortable I would feel about returning to theater and concerts and under which conditions (spaced seating, staggered intermissions, temperature screening etc).

    The US Theater Development Fund, which also sells tickets for concerts, stated that some industry group is making this survey available through the email lists of different arts related groups with a large online presence for chosen (I guess randomly) individuals.

    It may well be, because it takes a while to prepare and rehearse performances where the musicians and actors cannot practice social distancing, that performances of all types in major venues in New York City will not begin before January.

    However the majority of the arts community and industry administrators are trying to find ways to start earlier

  • Sharon says:

    To Alphonse, Edgar and others:

    I know that there are times on this site where I have sounded like Chicken Little.

    However, at the age of 61, I have found that whenever I have had a professional or educational setback, and I have had many, I always ended up in a better place than I was before. Maybe not right away, but eventually I was able to take advantage of an opportunity that I would not have or could not have taken advantage of had I not had the setback.

    For ex, as a nurse I might suggest that musicians consider utilizing this time to take online courses towards a degree that would lead to a license in music or activities therapy to obtain jobs to provide music and activities mainly to people in institutions like nursing homes (just an example). or train to develop skills or expertise in something, music or otherwise, that might lead to more opportunities in the future.

    Meanwhile, Alphonse, keep your musical skills up by practicing. You’ll be glad you did.

    • Edgar Self says:

      Not Chicken Little exactly, Sharon,– more like Cassandra, or Pandora with her box in the “Open” position, or Lucy’s psychiatric help 5 cents sign/The Dr. is In/Out.

      I’ve read your posts here with pleasure and hope Alphonse has also. He bravely made a handsome apology after being voted down a few times. We grow strong by bearing burdens. This too will pass.

      I remain optimistic, it’s healthier and more convenient. It’s like what Isaac Beshevis Singer said about free will, to answer a question: “We have no believe in free wil. We have no other choice.”

      Brahms and his new young friend Mahler were walking along a stream in Vienna. Brahms pessimistic, everything going down the drain. Mahler pointed to a ripple om the stream, saying “Yes, and there goes the last wave.”

      • John Borstlap says:

        That anecdote about Brahms and Mahler is often quoted incomplete. Namely, Brahms had the last word: ‘Ja, aber man weiss nie ob er in einen Sumpf endet’. (‘Yes, but we don’t know whether it will end into a morass.’)

        From a modernist perspective, where Mahler is the instigator of modernism, it is strategically better to avoid mentioning Brahms’ somber presentiment.

        By the way, Brahms was an admirer of Mahler’s conducting, and not so much of his composing.

  • Edgar Self says:

    John Borstlap– Good points. Deficiency of Vitamin D, manufactured in sunlight, is suspect, as are diabetes, asthma, andobesity. The virus has turned up on desert isles, Indian reservations, everywhere but ntarctica. The figures from India/Bangladesh/Pakistan are suspicially low. Soouth Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam are ited as success in control.

    Where I live, in Illinois, we have counted more cases than all of China has reported, and several thousands more deaths, espe ially in long-care nursing homes, and among black and Latino populations, who also suffer higher mortality Whole books will be written about this. Your country and Belgium are hit hard.

    Stay well, and keep posting. There are some encouraging signs, but it reporting, counting, and testing vary widely and bear careful watching as to reinfections, reopenings,new waves, &tc. Expect the worst and save the best for a surprie, is my motto.

  • Edgar Self says:

    Sharon, an after-thought on Chicken Little … I meant to mention The Little Red Hen as make-weight and counter-part. We need more of her.

  • Edgar Self says:

    John Borstlap, I’m racing to keep up with yuour posts. Thanks for the rest of the Brahms-Mahler story Yes, Brahms heard Mahler conduct Mozart and liked it, nd heard at least one of his earliest symphonies. Mahler repaid his interest by giving the horn opening of the third symphony the rhythm of the finale theme of Brahms’s first, as Hans Rott also did in his ymphony with disastrous results.

    Brahms threw Rott out and may have caused Rott’s breakdown a railway assault, ordering a passenger at gunpoint to extinguish his cgar, “Becaue don’t you know Brahms has filled this train with explosives?” The white coats carried him to the asylum where, like Schumann, he died.

    Well-known stories and quotations are often incomplete: for example, Horace Greeley famously said, “Go west, young man” but added “and grow up with the country”. That’s what many forgot to do.

    (Greeley was editor of The New York Herald, friend of Cornelius Vanderbilt, and presidential candidate in the 19th century.)

  • Edgar Self says:

    Drama critic Chris Jones, who reviews New York theater for Chicago Tribune, writes in today’s Trib that Broadway re-opening before year’s end is still uncertain but not ruled out. Show biz can hustle when there are empty larders and money to be made. Likewise concerts and the Met. It’s complicated, but we’ll see. There’ll be pent-up demand, maybe even new plays. on timely themes.