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New York City Aims For September Broadway Return, Mayor De Blasio Says

Broadway attracted a record 18.5 million theatre-goers in its last full last season, more than the combined total of all 10 New York and New Jersey pro sports teams.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday that the city would accelerate is coronavirus vaccine program to include workers in the theatre industry and forecast a September return for productions on Broadway.

The Broadway League, a trade association for live-event performances in New York City, estimates there are nearly 100,000 workers who rely on Broadway for their livelihood and generate an  annual economic impact of around $14.8 billion.

Broadway attendance, hit a record high of 18.5 million in in last full season prior to the pandemic, a figure that topped the combined attendance of all ten professional sports franchises in New York and New Jersey. 

"It's time to raise the curtain and bring Broadway back," de Blasio said in a virtual news conference in which he called upon New York state lawmakers to issue guidance for the city's theatre district. “We’re working with the Broadway community now to develop the plans to make the reopening go smoothly.”

He also pledged to set up dedicated vaccination sites in the Theatre District, as well as mobile testing for off-Broadway theatres. 

Last fall, the Broadway League announced the suspension of ticket sales and production activities until the end of May, a decision that shut down 31 Broadway performances, as well as 8 productions that were in rehearsals and preparing to open.

Lawmakers followed a few months later with $15 billion from the $900 billion December COVID relief bill earmarked for the Save Our Stages Act that provided financial assistance for live-event theatrical productions as well as actors, organizers, promoters and producers.