Broadway is back — How spending an evening watching a tragedy left me feeling hopeful

Sep 15, 2021

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

The lights dimmed, and the excited chatter quieted as the cast took the stage. André De Shields sauntered out in his shiny suit, a smirk on his face and a twinkle in his eye. He looked out into the crowd for the first time in more than a year and ever so slowly opened his arms wide.

A deafening roar of applause overtook the theater before the first note was played. And as a woman yelled “Welcome home!” from the audience, we all felt a small puzzle piece slot back into place.

Broadway is officially back.

Sept. 14 marked the return of Broadway in New York City. While some shows invited audiences back to performances earlier in August and September, Tuesday night was the first time theaters were open to full capacity.

Want more travel news and first-hand experiences delivered to your inbox? Sign up for our daily newsletter.

Masks were required throughout the performance unless you were actively eating or drinking, and proof of vaccination was required to enter theaters.

I went to see the 2021 debut of “Hadestown,” a retelling of Orpheus and Eurydice’s tragic love story from Greek mythology. What better way to celebrate my birthday than experiencing the return of Broadway?

Related: Curtains up: TPG’s guide to Broadway’s fall reopening 

What it was like with the new COVID-19 precautions

Despite the packed theater, I felt safe at the performance. Everyone wore their masks without issues; I only witnessed an attendant have to politely remind someone to put their mask back on after finishing their drink once, and the guest was polite and complied.

Because of the additional entry requirements, I arrived a bit early at Walter Kerr Theatre, expecting a long line similar to other concerts and comedy shows I’ve been to in recent weeks. But I was pleasantly surprised by the efficiency in which the theater staff ushered guests through the door.

Guests wait to enter Walter Kerr Theatre
(Photo by Madison Blancaflor/The Points Guy)
Guests wait in line to get their proof of vaccination checked on Broadway's reopening night
(Photo by Madison Blancaflor/The Points Guy)

A queue with clearly defined lines and multiple attendants wrapped around the side of the building to keep people from clogging the sidewalk in front of the building. Three separate lanes moved quickly as staff checked over proof of vaccination and ID cards. Once you were checked, you entered the theater as usual through a bag checking line and the metal detector.

Couple getting their proof of vaccination checked before heading in to see Hadestown
(Photo by Madison Blancaflor/The Points Guy)

The different checkpoints in the entry process were all spaced out, which meant no jammed lines and easy social distancing.

While everyone was required to wear a mask, I didn’t witness any unruly guests or argumentative ticketholders. Everyone was already masked up as we shuffled through the line — a refreshing change from other events I’ve attended this summer.

Once inside, you were directed to your seating area, and the magic began.

A warm welcome back

It’s hard to adequately explain the energy in the theater. Electrifying, emotional…hopeful.

Broadway theaters have always existed almost on an entirely different plane of existence than the rest of the world. When you walk through those doors and take your seats, you’re transported into a story and the outside world ceases to exist for a few hours.

More than a year of closed doors didn’t change that inexplicable feeling — in fact, it only magnified it.

The Hadestown Playbill
(Photo by Madison Blancaflor/The Points Guy)

The hope in the air was tangible — hope for these two lovebirds we all watched with rapture, but also hope for our own futures. Broadway reopening is a milestone toward that new normal we’ve all been constantly reaching for during the past year and a half.

And while the pandemic isn’t over, the fact that we could welcome back beloved actors, actresses and musicians to the stage was an emotional reminder that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

According to Brian Kelly, his experience at “Hamilton” a few blocks away was just as uplifting.

“The energy was like nothing I’ve experienced,” he said.

The Hamilton cast takes a bow at Broadway's reopening night
(Photo by The Points Guy)

Lin Manuel Miranda opened the performance to thank the frontline workers who helped get us this far. The audience was polite and clearly thankful to be back. The performance saw four standing ovations.

A handful of prominent shows reopened last night — including “The Lion King” and “Wicked.” Kristin Chenoweth, who played Glinda in the original cast of “Wicked,” opened the night with a thank you to the cast, crew and all of the theater workers who bring these stories to life.

“There’s no place like home,” she said.

And whether you were in the Gershwin Theatre to see “Wicked,” the Richard Rodgers Theatre for “Hamilton” or the Walter Kerr Theatre like me to see “Hadestown,” it was nothing short of incredible to welcome the cast and crew back home.

Featured photo by Madison Blancaflor/The Points Guy. 

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs up to two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $80 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® after you apply through any Authorized Enrollment Provider. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
17.24%-26.24% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.