For many people, concerts and other events are a big part of their social life. This year, live productions were cut short due to COVID-19. It happened so fast that companies were scrambling to keep the audience and their employees happy. For the past several months, companies such as the Metropolitan Opera and the Dutch National Opera have been streaming performances online either for free, a small fee or a subscription.
With the wide scale availability of streaming, music, dance and theater buffs won’t have to be on edge waiting for when they will see upcoming events. However, streaming, although it allows people to re-watch or discover something new without spending money on parking or tickets, can leave some wondering when they will be able to go see another live production.
The pandemic has left artists and creative directors questioning whether or not they will be able to perform without social distancing again, or if they would have to find an alternative career or source of income until the pandemic has eased. This is the case with Broadway and other companies.
A few months ago, Broadway postponed several of their performances for precautionary measures. They looked to open their doors back up in May, but with rising cases, they couldn’t afford to take risks for the sake of audience members, actors and musicians, many of who are unsure of how things will turn out for them in the coming months. However, they have found a way to keep a glimmer of hope shining through, both with their online streaming services and promising a prospective date on when the public will be able to see shows again. On the Broadway website, the company stated that “all New York City Broadway shows have been cancelled through Jan.3, 2021.” Though it seems bleak when events have been cancelled or postponed, it does represent a silver lining in at least having social events scheduled again, even if it’s a goal date that might have to be pushed back.
The reactions have been met with uncertainty and frustration towards COVID-19. Acclaimed stage actor Danny Burstein talked about his struggles with COVID-19 as a guest columnist for the Hollywood Reporter as well as his joy to survive it besides questioning what will happen next, stating that it was “quite a traumatic experience” for him. He is one of many to have been infected by this disease, but has kept fighting through it, as the many artists are doing with their careers and finding other work (some outside of their field) during the pandemic, especially because it’s an odd experience to see “the marquee still up, as well as all the quotes and pictures” but to have a dark theater.
The curtain will rise again, even if it’s a slow ascend to the top. In the meantime, companies have found that coronavirus has created a stronger fan base and brought in a new spark for people discovering their productions for the first time. Maybe this is a new beginning in appreciating social events.