Broadway theaters are going dark through Labor Day, but what about national tours?

Ben Levi Ross as Evan Hansen and Jessica Phillips as Heidi Hansen in the first North American tour of "Dear Evan Hansen."
(Matthew Murphy )

Broadway will remain shuttered through Labor Day, the group representing New York theater producers and owners announced Tuesday, but what about the fate of national tours, the Broadway musicals and plays that were crisscrossing North America when the coronavirus closures hit?

The Broadway League told The Times on Tuesday that each traveling production will decide on a case-by-case basis when it will reopen in conjunction with each venue. So “Frozen,” which was playing in Portland, Ore., when the pandemic closed the Keller Auditorium, could restart at a different time than “The Band’s Visit,” the 2018 Tony winner for best musical, left in suspended animation at the Benedum Center in Pittsburgh.

A link on the Broadway League’s website lists 27 tours in North America this summer, and taking a deep dive into each is as baffling as it is illuminating. It’s a confused picture of what the future might hold for large performances in states pushing to reopen with varying degrees of aggressiveness.

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hit “Hamilton” recently announced its L.A. engagement is canceled through Sept. 6; a parallel national touring production, however, is still scheduled to run from Aug. 4 through Sept. 6 at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta, according to the theater’s website. An engagement at Denver Center for the Performing Arts is still scheduled to begin Aug. 12, but the sale of tickets has been postponed.


The highly anticipated summer tour dates for the 2017 Tony-winning musical “Dear Evan Hansen” are equally scattershot. Tickets are still being sold for a run beginning June 16 at Wharton Center for the Performing Arts in East Lansing, Mich., but tickets for a weeklong engagement beginning June 23 at Fox Cities Performing Arts Center in Appleton, Wis., are listed as “TBD.”

The national-tour kickoff for Aaron Sorkin’s “To Kill a Mockingbird,” a box office record breaker on Broadway, had been set for a splashy opening Aug. 25 at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. It is being rescheduled for a later date.

The drive-through is derided; the drive-in, nearly extinct. But the coronavirus outbreak has made them essential for food, tests, a movie and church.

“Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” which had its run at the Curran Theatre in San Francisco interrupted by coronavirus closures in March, is now listed as reopening in July, although few in the industry expect performances to resume so soon.

“Mean Girls,” which had an entire summer booked in California with performances in San Diego, Costa Mesa and San Francisco, has seen all those dates vanish — canceled or to be rescheduled.

Streaming gives theaters a temporary lifeline, but could the practice ultimately encourage theatergoers to give up the live experience?