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COVID Comes For Broadway And Late-Night... Again

By Andrew Sanford | TV | January 5, 2022 |

By Andrew Sanford | TV | January 5, 2022 |


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In March 2020 I was surprised to learn that Broadway shows would be shutting down. They were doing so because of COVID-19 making gatherings such as sitting in a theater incredibly unsafe. This also affected late-night talk shows. Soon, hosts would be holding make-shift shows from their homes. COVID was ravaging the world but still felt more of an abstract threat. When it started shutting down these storied institutions, that’s when, to me, it became very real.

In the fall of 2021, Broadway started closing again. The severity of the closings carried from show to show. Some only closed for a performance or two or eight. Others closed for good. Now, just like last time, late-night is following suit. It started just before Christmas when Jimmy Fallon made this post on Instagram.

Jimmy Fallon, about to go on his holiday break, tested positive for COVID. Luckily, he was vaccinated and boosted so it didn’t affect him severely. He also didn’t have to cancel any shows because there weren’t going to be any shows. It probably made his holiday less of the relaxing time he would have hoped for, but it’s better than it could have been. Most late-night shows came back from their breaks on January 3rd. Even Seth Meyers. Then this happened.

Seth Meyers, after one show back from his break, tested positive for COVID. His shows for the rest of the week were canceled and he will be filming next week’s show from another location. In other words: IT’S ALL HAPPENING AGAIN.

I’ve honestly been trying not to freak out and there is lots to not freak out about. Meyers seems to be doing even better than Fallon. In fact, people who get the Omicron variant of COVID are less likely to be hospitalized. However, it’s impossible to say any of this feels normal yet. People, like NYC’s newest terrible mayor, want people back to work despite growing cases of the virus.

I work on Broadway (Technically. I’m a theater bartender) and I can tell you I certainly don’t feel safe, despite people’s best intentions that are often passed off as “safety measures.” I have two nine-month-old boys that can’t be vaccinated yet. If I get the virus, despite being vaccinated and boosted, I could pass it on to them or have to quarantine, so I wouldn’t be able to see them for up to ten days. It all feels like an unnecessary risk, but I can’t notwork. I need money. I have two kids.

It’s incredibly frightening to see what happened last time happen again. Even if things are less severe. I’ll be watching Seth Meyers next week, but seeing him record from a second location again is already bringing feelings I hoped I would never have to feel again. Stepping into a Broadway theater again was supposed to be normal; instead, it feels like walking through an active minefield. But hey, the show must go on … right?