(Chris Jones’s article appeared in the Chicago Tribune, 4/15; Photo: The Chicago Tribune.)
On Monday, the Washington Post arts critic Peter Marks announced a grand slate of live 2021-22 attractions at the Kennedy Center: a dozen musicals like “The Prom” and “Hamilton,” Broadway plays like “To Kill a Mockingbird,” variety shows like “Riverdance” and Blue Man Group. All playing at full capacity, beginning in October.
We’re back after 18 months in the wilderness! Finally! Hurrah!
The reaction on Twitter was as bizarre as it was swift.
“How are they dealing with keeping the cast safe? That sounds like, potentially, a huge viral load facing you.”
“Dear God, no social distancing?”
“How can you build trust this way? Save the pretending for the stage.”
The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. is not doing anything any differently from other entertainment entities. Broadway is planning a fall return and some shows have begun selling tickets. Arts presenters in cities from Cleveland to San Francisco are planning to restart in the fall, too. And in the entertainment business, you have to sell tickets in advance, meaning the shows have to be announced now. Otherwise they cannot go ahead.
After all, October is still six months away. The supply of vaccines in many areas of the country already either matches or even exceeds demand and rapidly is catching up elsewhere; in New York and elsewhere, particular efforts are being made to vaccinate arts professionals. October will be long after President Joseph R. Biden has said vaccine supply will be sufficient to vaccinate every American who wants one and there is no hard evidence to suggest that won’t happen as planned.