Broadway stays closed but football has curtains up

Madalyn Banouvong, Columnist

On Feb. 7 Super Bowl 55 was kicked off between the Buccaneers and the Chiefs. During a pandemic it is hard to imagine being anywhere surrounded by 25,000 people. For football, fans gathered with masks and hand sanitizer to watch this superspreader event go down, while others are struggling with their health, finances and jobs.

The NFL has previously permitted that 22,500 would only be permitted and out of the 25,000 that did show up, there were “approximately 7,500 vaccinated health care workers who were given free tickets by the NFL,” according to NBC Sports. 

Many artists who have jobs that require huge crowds like these have had to cancel their tours and see fans virtually from home to the best of their ability. Actors on Broadway have been out of work for months since they found out theaters would remain closed until the end of 2020 and have yet to see an opening date.

The theater with one of the largest seating capacities on Broadway is the Broadway Theatre in midtown Manhattan. It seats 1,761 guests in one room. Obviously masks and social distancing make it more difficult to navigate the spaces of other theatres. 

All parties involved in each individual running show were devastated in April when Broadway went dark. Some shows, such as “Mean Girls” and “Beetlejuice,” even lost so much money during the shutdown that they have decided not to come back once the street is reopened. It became apparent to those in this business that in order to come back they needed to do so as safely as possible, even if it meant risking their jobs.

The Actor’s Fund is an organization that serves all professionals who have professions in film, theater, television, music, opera, radio and dance. They are helped by the fund through programs that address their community’s unique and essential needs. Recently their needs have been to help actors with COVID-19 relief during such a long period of unemployment.

According to, “In the first nine months of 2020, a total of 30,000 people were assisted by the Fund’s grants and services, a sign of the economic toll that the theater shutdown has taken on the men and women who make a living on the stage. [70%] of those supported last year were performers (actors, singers, dancers, musicians), with the other 30% rounded out by behind-the-scenes workers including stagehands, lighting and sound technicians, hair and make-up, writers, directors and producers.”

At the beginning of 2021, TikTok creators collaborated with a crew of Broadway actors to host a virtual showing of Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical. That was a huge success and raised over $2 million dollars in ticket sales that was donated to the actors fund.

So as these actors are struggling to stay afloat with help from fans, the sports world is risking the health and safety of thousands of Americans by allowing events like the Super Bowl to keep proceeding. If other professionals are allowed to do their jobs then Broadway actors deserve the same amount of value and respect that is shown to others with larger audiences.