“The show must go on” has long been the rallying cry of actors, directors, stage managers, and myriad other artisans who devote their lives to the theater. (It’s also the title of a heartbreaking song) that Queen’s Freddie Mercury recorded in 1990, the year before his untimely death.)
In the face of (most) adversity, shows do go on. But we’re living in a new normal. And, live theater, one of our oldest communal activities, doesn’t really fit with the concept of social distancing.
On March 12, Broadway shut down. Four days later London’s West End followed suit.
To give this some perspective, other than during strikes by various theatrical unions, Broadway has been completely dark only once before: September 11th through the 13th, 2001. In fact, shows continued to run during the flu pandemic of 1918.
The history of London…