It has been difficult for theater fans around the world to keep the stages dark and closed from Broadway to the West End. Given the world we live in, pandemic and all, it’s not surprising that theaters have stayed dark for now. It’s hard to enjoy a show when you’re afraid of catching COVID from someone sitting next to you.
More than a year later, Broadway remains dark. While there are preliminary talks and plans for a reopening, we can’t help but miss the theater. There’s just something inherently magical about the power of a live performance, you know? It makes the blood pump. Everyone is jazzed. And you were just wiped out for a few hours to laugh or sob. Either way, you get some sort of catharsis from the event.
Well, a historic Broadway theater had to have its light open for a short time. Here’s What You Should Know.
Less than 40 minutes on Saturday, April 3, the lights of the historic St. James Theater were on. We’ve talked about the NYPopsUp in the past, the initiative developed in New York as a way to spark interest in art after everything had to be shut down. It was developed by producers Scott Rudin and Jane Rosenthal in conjunction with the New York State Council on the Arts and Empire State Development.
Two Tony Award winners, Nathan Lane & Savion Glover, performed in front of 150 guests at the Broadway theater, which seats 1,710 people. The audience was exclusively frontline workers from the Actors Fund & Broadway Cares / Equity Fights AIDs. Aside from being part of NY PopsUp, this is also a test run to model for the many dark Broadway theaters to reopen safely.
Practically a Broadway theater institution, the St. James Theater had COVID-19 compliance officers to ensure that all CDC & NY DOH guidelines were met. According to The Hollywood Reporter, “Those attending Saturday’s performance were either tested prior to show time or required to demonstrate that they were 14 days after the completion of a vaccine series, along with completing a contact tracking questionnaire.”
What have Glover & Lane done?
Housed in the historic Broadway theater, Savion Glover conducted a retrospective for the audience of Broadway songs such as “I Hope I Get it,” “Memory,” and “Black and Blue.” Lane, meanwhile, seemed to be reciting a monologue written by Playbills writer, Paul Rudnick about a man who spent a year in his apartment with the desire to just go back to the theater. Wow, that definitely hits us where it hurts.
In the monologue, Lane said, “I like theater. I can not explain. Only when I have tickets to a show does it go up my whole day. It’s like a date with someone who might be great, or maybe boring, or change my life forever. “
A particularly moving moment, according to curator Zack Winokur, was when Glover removed the ghost light to dance. A ghost light is a single lamp that burns when it is dark in a theater. Needless to say, many ghost lights were on not only on Broadway but in theaters around the world. He said, “Everything feels like a first for the festival in many ways, and this was quite a memorable one.”
How do you feel about this historic Broadway theater turning on its lights? What about Savion Glover and Nathan Lane’s performance? Are you curious what more could come of NYPopUps? Are you ready to go back to Broadway again? Let us know in the comments below.
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