Kevin McCollum Explains How Broadway Could Reopen: Money, Time, and Adjustments

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Kevin McCollum Explains How Broadway Could Reopen: Money, Time, and Adjustments

“I’m very bullish on the future for Broadway. When Broadway is back, New York is back and America is back.”

Tony-winning producer Kevin McCollum dropped by CBS New York March 12 to discuss what’s needed to prepare for Broadway’s return—and what will look different after its reopening. Among the highlights are calls for more federal support funding, a six-month window of ticket buying, and health and safety guidelines that circumvent social distancing to allow for full houses without the danger of virus spreading. Check out the full interview, also featuring dance arranger Zane Mark discussing the impacts of the shutdown, below.

“We’ve been working with the federal government with the shuttered venues legislation, because we’re going to need money to restart,” says McCollum. Once producers and theatres get the all-clear, an advanaced buying period will be needed to create a cushion that makes putting on a show fiscally responsible—at least six months, according to the Six and Mrs. Doubtfire producer.

Rather than enforce audiences to sit six feet apart—a maneuver that would reduce theatre capacities to an unsustainable level—McCollum says masks should be required at all theatres for patrons whether they are vaccinated or not. “We’re not going to let anyone in this theatre, on stage or backstage, if we feel there’s any risk of putting them in any peril,” he says.

On top of that, the worker landscape has shifted significantly since a year ago, with many theatre professionals leaving NYC to find jobs elsewhere. Whether they return remains to be seen, but McCollum says show producers need to be prepared to spend money on items like refitted costumes and new shoes, which can cost upwards of $100,000 for a big-budget musical.

READ: As $1.9 Trillion COVID-19 Relief Bill Passes, the Call for Arts Representation in Biden Cabinet Continues

Still, McCollum is optimistic: “I’m very bullish on the future for Broadway. When Broadway is back, New York is back and America is back.” Signs are already pointing to reopenings elsewhere around the world, and even at Off-Off-Broadway venues in NYC. Looking for ways to help? Check out our guide to supporting arts workers during the pandemic.

15 Broadway Stars Share How They Have Been Coping During a Year Without Theatre

15 Broadway Stars Share How They Have Been Coping During a Year Without Theatre

15 PHOTOS

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“When I received [this prompt], I stopped everything I was doing to take this photo. It’s me at my pandemic realest. I have gotten to know my computer on a deeply intimate level this year. It has given literal windows into other lives and led me to some of the most important artistic collaborations of my life. For that, I am grateful.” Jay Armstrong Johnson


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“With everything that came with 2020, finding the headspace to really slow down and take one day at a time has truly been an anchor for my heart and soul. I’m so grateful for my friends, family, and even my occasional hot cup of tea, that has reminded me of what I’ve had all along—how love can turn even the darkest day into the brightest one.” Adrianna Hicks


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“My days have been filled with more costumes and imaginative play than if I were performing 8 shows a week. My audiences of stuffed ‘lovelies’ or baby dolls bare witness to everything from low-key tea parties with Elsa and Elaine Stritch to musicals about singing burritos or unicorns barfing rainbows in order to save the planet. And like any successful Broadway show… we are in desperate search of a great book writer… Lynn Nottage? Rick Elice?? Anyone? Anyone??” Stephanie J. Block


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“My husband and I made a bold choice to create family memory lemonade out of Covid lemons and embarked on an epic adventure with our daughters via our camping trailer and AirBnBs. We were privileged to have this choice available to us. We already had our camper, my husband remains employed and able to work remotely, and we lined up great renters for our home. I have a small roster of private vocal coaching students in addition to overseeing my girls’ schooling, which has now included so much extra American history and geography. I’m truly grateful that we’ve been able to make the most out of this time, spending so much of it in nature’s beautiful scenery. I also can’t wait to be back in my favorite habitat: the stage… an altogether different scenic wonder!” Jenn Gambatese


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“I am able to spend more time with my uncle. He survived COVID last year. [On this day], we celebrated his 82nd birthday.” Myra Lucretia Taylor


Jelani Alladin


“I’ve spent the past year searching for light. Any chance that I could, I’ve tried to stand in the sun, hoping it would fill me with the strength I needed to carry on and believe that my dreams are still achievable. I cling desperately to hope.” Jelani Alladin


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“A couple of years ago, I took up figure skating as a way to clear my head and focus my energies on a different skill. When we shut down, so did the ice rinks. So I (literally) had to pivot, get outdoor figure skates, and learn to be at peace with my gravelly parking lot. Adapt. I’m back at the ice rinks now, but still go out to the uneven, leafy lot once in a while to remind myself that beautiful things can still be created in rocky territory.” Lesli Margherita


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“I don’t know what I would have done without this basement during the shutdown. It’s been my savior: mentally, physically, and emotionally. My body was so used to being put through a marathon 6 days a week that when the world stopped, my first thought was joy and fear at the same time. Joy: simply because I was going to finally have time with my family at home and let these bones rest. Fear: because I didn’t know what was going to happen to my body and mind without that physical schedule. Down here is my happy place. I get to play and dance with my son, do my ‘AK workouts’; run, give myself a barre, lift on the tonal, and jump rope. It’s not 8 shows a week at Moulin Rouge! The Musical, but it has kept me healthy on all levels.” Robyn Hurder


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“i spent a long time feeling terrible about how unproductive I was being. Then, I spent time trying to forgive myself for all that judgment. Now, I’m just grateful for creativity, whenever it comes and in whatever form. I turn to songwriting whenever I can in an effort to heal and find hope. I’m so grateful for music right now.” Gavin Creel


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“From Zoom meetings to self-tape auditions, this pandemic has largely seen me in front of my blue screen. I’ve always held a piece of Harry Potter with me though—my laptop sits on top of all the books!” Nadia Brown


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