Live Performing Arts Are Returning to N.Y.C., but Not All at Once

This is the weekend New York City’s theaters, music venues and comedy clubs have been waiting for. The chance to start holding performances again for a live, flesh-and-blood audience.

Last month, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced that beginning April 2, performing arts establishments would be allowed to host audiences at 33 percent capacity, with a limit of 100 people indoors or 200 people outdoors.

As that date has drawn closer, it became clear that the arts scene will not be springing back to life, but inching toward it. It isn’t just Broadway theaters and large concert halls that see the one-third capacity rule as prohibitive; it’s smaller venues, including some of the city’s foremost jazz and rock clubs, as well.

Still, green shoots are sprouting up across the city.

On Friday, the monologuist Mike Daisey is performing for a 22-person audience at a theater on the Bowery. That evening, the Comedy Cellar has a dozen shows scheduled for its four stages. On Saturday afternoon, as part of a series of pop-up arts events across the state, a Broadway theater will be opening its doors to host a performance for the first time since the industry shut down. (It’s invite-only for volunteers and health care workers with the Actors Fund and Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.)

“I figure, let other people be pioneers,” Sturm said. “For us, it’s more of a wait-and-see posture.”

On the rock scene, Mercury Lounge and Bowery Ballroom will not open until social distancing requirements are eliminated or significantly diminished, said Michael Swier, owner of the venues.

Some New York politicians have been more reticent about the loosening of restrictions, including Jumaane Williams, the city’s public advocate, who urged Cuomo to slow down the process. New York is currently the state with the third highest per capita rates of coronavirus cases in the country, averaging 42 new cases per 100,000 people in the last week.

There already have been a handful of state-sanctioned ticketed live performances in spaces that Cuomo termed “flex venues,” which are performance spaces without fixed seating that are able to be adapted for social distancing. On Wednesday evening, that program allowed nine dancers to perform a fusion of street dance, ballroom and hip-hop in the lobby of the Guggenheim Museum, as part of the Works and Process bubble residencies. The audience stood along the museum’s white spiral ramp looking down at the stage, distanced from each other by stickers telling them where to stand.

Next week, the openings start to pick up: City Winery is scheduled to host live performances by comedians and musicians again; the Off Broadway show “The Office! A Musical Parody” will return; and, the Brooklyn Academy of Music will present modern dance on ice in Prospect Park.

And in perhaps the most fitting program for the mood of the pandemic, the Park Avenue Armory plans to open a new “interactive and experiential movement piece,” which involves audience members dancing in their own socially distanced spotlight. All 13 performances are sold out.

Sahred From Source link Arts

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