Updated, 19:20 GMT:
Broadway Theatre is shutting down today as a New York statewide ban of all gatherings of more than 500 people goes into effect.
All 31 productions currently running will be shut until April 12, and eight shows that were planned to start previews over March will be postponed.
The Broadway League, New York’s equivalent of the Society of London Theatre, said that the Broadway shows shutdown was ordered “under the direction of Governor Andrew Cuomo.”
Cuomo’s office tweeted that: “We are taking new actions to reduce the density of people across the state. Starting Friday at 5pm, gatherings with 500 people or more will not be permitted in NYS. Additionally, for facilities with an occupancy of 500 or fewer, we are reducing the legal capacity by 50%.”
Charlotte St. Martin, President of the Broadway League, said: “Broadway shows in New York City will suspend all performances immediately in support of the health and well-being of the theatregoing public, as well as those who work in the theatre industry. Performances will commence the week of April 13, 2020.
“Our top priority has been and will continue to be the health and well-being of Broadway theatregoers and the thousands of people who work in the theatre industry every day, including actors, musicians, stagehands, ushers, and many other dedicated professionals.”
“Broadway has the power to inspire, enrich and entertain, and together we are committed to making that vital spirit a reality. Once our stages are lit again, we will welcome fans back with open arms so that they can continue to experience the joy, heart, and goodwill that our shows so passionately express every night”, she said.
Broadway ticket holders for performances up to 12 April should contact their point of purchase for refunds and exchanges.
The Broadway League is going to continue monitoring the situation.
The cost of the closure has been estimated at $100 million. Theatres haven’t shut on Broadway since the two days following the 9/11 attacks.
Earlier this week, Broadway producer Scott Rudin discounted tickets to $50 during March for all remaining seats at his five Broadway productions: To Kill a Mockingbird, West Side Story, The Lehman Trilogy, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, and The Book of Mormon.
In terms of London Theatre, the Society of London Theatre put out a statement on 5 March about the virus, saying: “SOLT and UK Theatre are in contact with the government to ensure we have the most up-to-date advice, which we are sharing regularly with members (both theatres and production companies) across the country. Official advice states that there is currently no clear rationale to cancel events or postpone most international travel, and the government encourages business as usual. We will continue to monitor the situation, plan for every eventuality and share government, NHS and Public Health England guidance with the theatre industry and our audiences.”