New York's Broadway Shows Go On in Face of Coronavirus, But You Won't Meet the Stars You Love After the Show

The stage lights behind New York's Broadway shows will remain turned on amid coronavirus concerns. However, recommendations for theaters to follow also include the temporary halt of a beloved Broadway tradition.

As reported by The New York Times Thursday, the Broadway League, the national association for the Broadway theater industry, called for suspension of gatherings in which fans wait outside of the stage door to meet their favorite star at the end of a performance. "We are highly recommending that all stage door activities be eliminated for the time being," the League said Tuesday.

The suspension of the practice has the support of Actors' Equity, the union that represents performers. "Most of them love to do it," Actors' Equity executive director Mary McColl told the Times about the gatherings. "But right now, being in that crowd of people is not necessarily the safest place to be."

On Wednesday, a Broadway usher reportedly tested positive for COVID-19. The unnamed usher had been working at Shubert's Booth Theater and the Brooks Atkinson Theater. Both theaters were given a deep cleaning, and performances of the play Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf at the Booth and the musical Six at the Brooks Atkinson are expected to continue as scheduled, according to USA Today.

The Shubert and Nederlander Organizations said in a joint statement: "Immediately upon learning of the positive test, both organizations began taking every step necessary to ensure the safety of our audiences, performers, crew, and building staff."

In a statement to The Daily Beast, the League said the special cleaning procedures for theaters had been implemented for two weeks: "What's important to note is that theater owners responded immediately to this information and had the theaters cleaned by the largest outside contractor in the cleaning business. We will always modify our procedures if we learn of new things we should be doing."

The news of the infected usher coincided with the theater industry's latest attempts to reduce the risk of spreading the virus. Among the moves made include increased cleaning, placement of sanitizer dispensers in the lobbies, and the discontinuation of backstage tours.

"The safety and security of our theater-goers and employees is our highest priority. We are following the lead of our city, state and federal elected officials as we implement strategies recommended by public health authorities and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in all of our theaters and offices as all productions continue to play as scheduled," the League had previously said.

Broadway
Actor Ed Harris(C)is seen during Harper Lee's "To Kill A Mockingbird", a new play by Aaron Sorkin at Madison Square Garden on February 26, 2020 in New York City. - The performance is the first-ever Broadway play performed at Madison Square Garden with an entirely free performance for 18,000 New York City public school students. (Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP) (Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images) ANGELA WEISS/Getty