• Marty Sullivan II

Closures of Performing Arts Centers Impacting more than just the Performers

If you were to take a walk around New York City, you may find many things left out as the city finds its way to reopening. There is, however, one thing you may not notice is missing. Due to safety concerns brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, many performing art institutions have remained closed and some even boarded up.

Locations once filled with performing arts shows like Radio City Music Hall and Carnegie Hall, are both closed through the rest of the 2020 year and performance season. From an outside perspective, this may look bad for the many performers, dancers, singers, and musicians that fill their many rooms, halls, and auditoriums. Taking a deeper look, one would also see the impact these closures have on workers that are in the background keeping the lights on and the place running…literally. People like technicians and stagehands to the different people found behind ticket booths, many now behind wood boards and sheets of paper at some locations.

Construction and barriers surround Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts as it is closed due to COVID-19 restrictions. Photo: Marty Sullivan II

Visiting the work of art buildings within the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts looks very different than it has before. Fewer guests with zero performances to attend creates the look of a fancy plaza just right for an open background photograph.

As 2020 is ending, the countdown to 2021 has already begun. How close is New York City to regaining access to these performing arts institutions? With cancellations through 2020, some have extended to events in 2021.

When asked about the idea of not attending a Broadway show until 2021, Kayla Cariffe stated, “I grew up going to Broadway shows and often went to them twice a month when I was living in the city, so it feels weird not being able to see any shows. I think I feel bad for the performers themselves the most, because they are seeing other people return to work, yet they won’t be able to for a while.”

On a positive note, if one could say as much, the pandemic’s lockdown has moved a lot of people into the online world. With virtual events like Live from Carnegie Hall and Nightly Met Opera Streams, viewers and entertainers alike may still enjoy the arts from their homes.

As the holiday season approaches, many traditions like the Christmas Spectacular starring the Radio City Rockettes were canceled. Traditions for some, now canceled and postponed jobs for others.


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