Previews begin as Broadway attempts to return

Entertainment

BROADWAY, Manhattan — There clearly is no business like show business and that’s why audience members are clamoring to get back inside Broadway theaters.

Many were happy to be wear a mask and show proof of vaccination.

One theatergoer, who is also an actress, was singing and dancing as she made her way to buy tickets for the second night of previews for Pass Over, the first new play to open on Broadway since the pandemic shut down the Great White Way back in March 2020.

“My gosh! I’m just so excited to see live theater again,” said Maria Briggs. “What makes live theater is that everyone is close together and share  that same energy.”

And audience members at “Pass Over” at the 1,100-seat August Wilson Theatre are packed together, no social distancing here, but theater goers must show proof of vaccination and wear a face mask at all times except when eating or drinking.

“Pass Over’s” playwright, Antoinette Chinonye Nwandu, wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I wouldn’t be in that theater if it weren’t safe for me,” Nwandu said. “I care about survived the pandemic. My career is not important enough for me to compromise my health.”

Last night’s preview received a standing ovation and West 52nd Street was shut down for a block party to celebrate the gradual reopening of Broadway.

There was so much joy inside and outside the theater.

“The play’s about two young black men surviving a pandemic in order to learn to love each other and find joy on earth and that’s what I want us  all to do,” Nwandu added.

And those buying tickets for the second night of “Pass Over” were ready to keep the party going, with COVID-19 safety protocols in place,

“It’s that extra security being vaccinated just makes me feel safe,” Kani Johnson, an audience member, told PIX11 News.

Everyone’s ready to return.

“I think they just want to get back on stage,” Isaiah Mayhew, another theater goer, told PIX11 News.  “it’s a lovely thing they do here.”

The next two Broadway shows to open will be “Hadestown” and “Waitress” on September 4th and then on Sept. 14, five more shows are expected to reopen including “Hamilton,” “The Lion King” and “Wicked.”

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