the coronavirus

Some Smaller New York Performance Spaces Allowed to Open at Limited Capacity

Jon Batiste marching through Brooklyn during a NY PopsUp event in February. Photo: Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

Live performances will start to return to New York soon, in very limited ways. Governor Cuomo announced today that starting on April 2, live-performance venues will be able to reopen at 33 percent capacity, with limits of up to 100 people indoors or 200 people outdoors, according to the New York Times. That would go up to 150 people indoors or 500 outdoors if the venues can test all attendees for COVID. This news comes after Cuomo announced that New York City movie theaters will be allowed to reopen at 25 percent capacity starting on March 5.

In addition to these reopening guidelines, New York is also organizing a “NY PopsUp” event series that will program performances across New York in sync with plans for reopening. Run by producers Scott Rudin and Jane Rosenthal, NY PopsUp is planning an initial slate of events inside what are dubbed “flex venues,” a name for places adapted to COVID guidelines. That list includes the Apollo, Park Avenue Armory, St. Ann’s Warehouse, The Shed, Harlem Stage, La MaMa, National Black Theatre, and The Glimmerglass Festival’s Alice Busch Opera Theater.

In April, NY PopsUp is also planning performances inside Broadway theaters, starting with the Music Box, home to Dear Evan Hansen before Broadway shut down on March 12, 2020. Those won’t be standard Broadway performances, and the Broadway theater industry itself isn’t expected to return to typical pre-COVID programming and performance schedules until at least after Labor Day. But the events are designed to help “put in motion safety protocols that will eventually be employed for Broadway’s return,” according to a NY PopsUp release. “This thorough process will serve as Broadway’s own pilot program,” the release added, “that will increase audience size over time as the Department of Health allows.”

Some New York Performance Spaces to Open at Limited Capacity