During the first week of March 2020, before concerns over the spread of COVID-19 reached fever pitch, the 30 shows that were running on Broadway at the time collectively grossed $26.7 million. The lucrative spring theater season had just begun, and 16 new shows were scheduled to open before the end of April in order to be eligible for the 2020 Tony Awards.

At the time, COVID-19 was not being completely ignored. Both the Broadway League (the trade organization representing Broadway theater owners and producers) and Actors’ Equity Association (the labor union representing actors and stage managers on Broadway and at professional theaters nationwide) released statements about monitoring the situation. Hand sanitizer dispensers were added to theater lobbies, and actors stopped signing autographs and interacting with fans at stage doors.

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