Mayor Bill de Blasio would like this to be the “summer of New York City,” not just because Anthony Ramos looks really good in those In the Heights trailers. In an appearance on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, the mayor announced that New York City plans to “fully reopen” on July 1, including stores, restaurants, gyms, and offices, at “full strength” due to the pace of vaccinations. De Blasio also said that theaters, which started off with limited-capacity performances in April, would open over the summer, noting that “you should expect Broadway full strength in September, but I’d love to see some of the smaller shows up in July and August.” Governor Cuomo would have the final say in reopening decisions, as de Blasio admitted in the interview, but this gives at least some sense of how the city’s summer reopening may go.
The announcement marks the first big move to a full reopening of New York’s theatrical industry, which has been largely shut down since last March. At the moment, only a few theaters have started performances, while New York has begun to test out safety precautions and prime audiences with a series of pop-up events (originally co-produced by Scott Rudin, who recently stepped down). Smaller theater companies will likely start to put out more work over this summer as restrictions ease, and there are already a few planned events in place — notably, the return of the Public Theater’s Shakespeare in the Park series in July.
Broadway productions will likely take more time to return, as they rely on significantly larger audiences and casts, as well as rehearsal time. “Broadway takes time because they have to mount a full production,” de Blasio said. The Broadway League hasn’t yet announced an official timeline for reopening, nor have individual producers set dates for their first fall performances. But it’s long been expected that marquee shows might start performances sometime after Labor Day, around when we might someday, finally, see the 2020 Tony Awards.