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    Broadway Goes Mask-Free, Controversy Ensues

    This month, Broadway announced that from July 1, 2022, audience members attending Broadway shows will no longer need to wear face masks. It is unclear if this rule will remain in place after July.

    Actors Disapprove

    According to a article, several Broadway theaters ceased checking vaccination requirements after April 30. This relaxation of mask and COVID-19 vaccine rules by the Broadway League has created tension within the Broadway community. Performers feel unprotected as the decision was made without consulting Actor’s Equity, the actors’ union, as reported by Deadline.

    Are Masks and Vax Requirements Audience Deterrents?

    Producers aim to fill Broadway show audiences with as many patrons as possible. However, shows often face temporary closures when company members contract COVID-19, making it challenging to keep them running smoothly. The efforts of Broadway’s swings, understudies, and standbys are crucial in ensuring the shows go on.

    For instance, earlier this month, leading actor Hugh Jackman tested positive for COVID-19, preventing him from performing in The Music Man at the Winter Garden theater. Thankfully, he has since returned to the show. As his name holds significant prominence in the production, some ticket holders may have been disappointed by his temporary absence.

    Protect the Performers, Put on a Mask

    When understudy Max Clayton took on the role of Harold Hill, the audience greeted him with enthusiastic applause. Principal actors, including Jackman, have played a significant role in encouraging audiences to appreciate understudies, as they rightfully should. However, considering that big-name actors like Hugh Jackman attract theatergoers, shouldn’t the Broadway League prioritize the safety of all performers, including the renowned ones, by minimizing the risk of COVID-19 exposure?

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