Audiences flock to ‘Hamilton,’ ‘Lion King,’ ‘Wicked’
The show must go on. After 18 months, big Broadway shows “Hamilton,” “The Lion King,” and “Wicked” returned to the stage and to standing ovations Tuesday night in New York. Attendees had to show proof of vaccination and wear masks except while eating and drinking in designated areas. Fans were so grateful to be back that “Hamilton” performers repeatedly had to wait for applause to die down before continuing with the musical based on the life of Alexander Hamilton. The opening strains of “The Circle of Life” in the “The Lion King” were nearly drowned out by cheers.
“Theater, as we know, is the lifeblood and soul of the city,” “The Lion King” director and costume designer Julie Taymor told the Associated Press. “It’s time for us to live again.”
Though a few plays reopened in August, this trio represents Broadway’s big draws and decision-makers agreed on Sept. 14 as reopening night in May when then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo set that as the date audiences could return to full capacity.
“Hamilton” has been available to stream on Disney+, but creator Lin-Manuel Miranda was ecstatic to have it back in front of a live audience.
“It’s one thing to see something on the screen. And I’m thrilled ‘Hamilton’ was available on a screen in a time when we couldn’t go to a theater. But I’m even more thrilled that now it can be experienced the way it was meant to, live in front of an audience, the final collaborator every night,” he said.
Times Square’s iconic TKTS booth was open to sell tickets to the hotly anticipated shows. Whether ticket sales remain high for the long term is a source of concern to an industry that has had a rough go of things, but for one night at the very least Broadway was all the way back.