And finally: Broadway’s rebound takes another step
The return to stage is gaining steam.
The producers of “Pass Over,” a bracing play about two Black men trapped on a street corner, announced this week that they plan to begin performances on Broadway in the first week of August, advancing the industry’s planned restart by nearly a month.
“Every single day it feels like New York specifically, and Times Square in a focused way, is coming back to life, and I want our show to be part of that,” the show’s playwright, Antoinette Chinonye Nwandu, said. “I want our show to be a very visible and very instrumental part of leading that charge, and so after we had done our due diligence and I knew that it was a safe thing to do, I said yes.”
Broadway has been closed since March 12, 2020, and resumption plans have shifted several times. Three juggernauts, “Hamilton,” “The Lion King” and “Wicked,” chose the initial restart date — Sept. 14 — and then “Hadestown” chose Sept. 2. “Pass Over” now has the earliest performance date announced thus far. But it remains possible that another show could begin even sooner.
Still, “Pass Over” has some characteristics that make it easier to stage in this era: The cast consists of three actors, and the show runs an intermission-free 85 minutes. The play is also timely: The two leads are immobilized by their fear of dying at the hands of the police, a concern that has been much a part of the national conversation over the past year.
The producers said that they expect to perform to full-capacity audiences at the August Wilson Theater — an anticipated 1,190 seats, during previews as well as post-opening — and that they will consult with the health authorities and labor unions before determining which safety protocols will be in place.
“This is not about opening early, opening first or anything like that,” said Matt Ross, the play’s lead producer. “It was about, ‘How soon can we bring this story, which I feel is really vital, to audiences?’ and ‘How soon can we employ people in a way that is safe and responsible?’ We feel that this is the right time for us.”