As we approach the one-year anniversary of quarantine in NYC and Broadway shows being shut down for an unforeseeable future, Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York State officials have just given a little bit of hope. Through a new initiative called NY PopsUp, some performing arts venues in New York City and New York State will open its doors for spontaneous and curated performances (mostly free for the public) as part of a festival. A new series, that the governor’s office states is “intended to revitalize the spirit and emotional well-being of New York citizens with the energy of live performance while jumpstarting New York’s struggling live entertainment sector…”, will open up opportunities for a safe and gradual transition to a full Broadway reopening. This pilot program will set the standards and expectations for the future of Broadway. The initiative is also co-led by Scott Rudin and Jane Rosenthal.
Theater venues with flexible seating that can allow for appropriate social distancing, will allow visitors the chance to relive the days of in-person theatre entertainment. Some of those performing arts venues include The Apollo Theater in Harlem, St. Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn, National Black Theatre, and the Music Box on 45th street; right in the heart of the theatre district. Audiences up to 33% of the usual capacity, with a maximum of 100 individuals indoors and 200 outdoors are the guidelines set and approved by the New York State Department of Health, in partnership with the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) and Empire State Development.
Artists from all walks of life will participate in this ongoing festival with special performances and appearances from Tony-winner Billy Porter (Kinky Boots), Chris Rock (The Motherf**ker with the Hat), Drama Desk-winner Larry Owens (A Strange Loop), Tony-winner Savion Glover (Shuffle Along), opera singer J’Nai Bridges (Carmen) and Tony-nominee Danielle Brooks (The Color Purple).
All those who work in the arts have been devastated by the pandemic.
Today we announce NY PopsUp—a nation-leading initiative to accelerate the revival of the arts: the creative energy that defines NY.
It will feature 300+ pop-up arts events across NYS. Watch for one near you. pic.twitter.com/LB0PO5OvzE
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) February 8, 2021
Even though the program started in February, performances in venues like the Music Box will welcome guests beginning in April. Programming updates will occur on a rolling basis.