(from The New York Times, 9/23; Article by Michael Paulson, Elizabeth A. Harris, and Graham Bowley; Photographs by Dina Litovsky, Victor Llorente and Daniel Arnold; via Pam Green.)
We zero in on one moment in New York City’s cultural calendar that’s been wiped clean — what it means, what it looks like, what it cost and what’s ahead.
Ah, New York. The city where, this coming weekend, Hugh Jackman will make mischief out of marching bands in Broadway’s “The Music Man”; Anna Netrebko will pine stirringly as Aida for the Metropolitan Opera; and Nick Cave will command the stage with the Bad Seeds at Barclays Center.
The whole world seems to be here: Acts from Egypt, Morocco and Lebanon join an Arabic music festival at Joe’s Pub. Performances and parties herald the opening of a new $60 million home for the Irish Arts Center. And the reimagined Next Wave Festival draws adventurous artists from around the globe to BAM.
That’s not hypothetical. That’s the actual arts calendar for this weekend, Sept. 25 to 27, 2020.
Or at least, it was.
The coronavirus pandemic has shredded the schedule, silencing New York’s stages. Now Jackman is taking online dance classes. Netrebko is being treated for Covid-19.
Even as culture vultures return to museums, students to schools, and diners to restaurants, the performing arts remain indefinitely dark. (There are exceptions, of course, mostly small and outdoors. And there is streaming — so much streaming.)
So what happens when the performances pause, seasons are suspended, and stages go dark? We look at the toll the shutdown is taking through data (jobs vanished, revenues gone), visuals (picturing the season that isn’t) and personal stories (22 arts workers who should have been working this weekend, and what they’re doing instead). One weekend, lost, but also, so much more.