[Your Input Needed] What Can We Do To Make Our Theatergoers More “Comfortable” Post COVID?

I need your help.

Scratch that.

Broadway . . . nope.  Scratch that too.

The theater needs your help.

The good news is that our city, state, and federal officials are turning their attention towards how we open up our country again.  While our eyes must continue to be on the ball of stopping the spread of this piece of @#$% virus, it looks like we’ve made enough progress to at least start thinking about how we open up our offices, our restaurants, and yes, our theaters.

(Although, for the record, there are some elected officials out there who seem to think that going bowling is more important than stopping the spread right now – and to the citizens of those states, I say this . . . just because someone says it is ok to do something, doesn’t mean you have to do that thing.  It’s legal to smoke, but that doesn’t mean anyone should do it.  Same thing here, folks – except this @#$% of a @#$%ing virus could kill you a lot faster than smoking.  Sorry to be so direct – but, well, there ain’t no time for niceties.)

The theaters will probably be the last to get the go-ahead from the Doctors and other folks whose opinions are not politically motivated that it’s ok to proceed with our plays and musicals . . . which is where you come in.

The world has shifted.  We’ve lost months.  And millions of dollars.  Thousands of jobs.

And we could lose hundreds of thousands of theatergoers.

To put it in marketing-speak . . . there is more friction now than ever before preventing the casual theatergoer from buying a ticket.

They’re scared.

Our job as theatrical Harold Hills (salesmen and saleswomen) is to simply REDUCE THAT FRICTION to not just telling them they are safe, but making them so.

While the theatergoer might be concerned with the cost of a ticket, I’d postulate that they are going to be more concerned with whether or not they can get sick as a result of buying that ticket . . . even when the doctors say it’s ok to gather.

So . . . what can we as theater producers, artistic directors, venue operators, etc. do to make our theatergoers more comfortable with not just buying a ticket, but actually going to the theater.

I’ve got some ideas.  And I’m going to list them below.  But this blog is not meant to be a “10 Things I’d Do To . . . ” entry.  Because we’re in unchartered territory here, to say the least.  And what do I know?

This blog is meant to be a giant whiteboard where you can scribble down your ideas.

That’s right . . .

I want YOU to give me YOUR IDEAS on how to make our audiences feel more comfortable when they come back to the theater.

Fill up the comments with suggestions, thoughts brainstorms, ideas, etc.  And there is no idea too big, too “crazy” or too challenging.  Just put it up.  Don’t even think about it too much.  Pretend that this is a sprint.  You have 30 seconds to come up with as many ideas as possible!  Go!

Let’s get 100 or more so we have more of a chance of finding the silver marketing bullet that helps keeps our customers safe when they come back to us.  And I promise to sift through them and pass them on to our industry leaders.

Because who better than to tell us what we need to do next, than you, people who actually buy tickets.

Ok, I’m going to kick this off with 10 free-associated ideas in no particular order . . . put 30 seconds on the clock . . . and here I GO!

HOW TO MAKE THEATERGOERS MORE COMFORTABLE WITH THEATERGOING POST COVID

  1. Signage in all bathrooms reminding not just employees to wash their hands but reminding EVERYONE to wash their hands.
  2. A pre-show email that offers free-exchanges for anyone not feeling feel, with a reminder of symptoms to look out for and a recommendation they take their own temperature before they leave the house on the day of the performance . . . even if they have no symptoms.
  3. Show branded masks distributed to theatergoers on the way in (I told you there was no idea too crazy!).
  4. No physical tickets so no ticket pickup – electronic tickets only.
  5. Asking for “Recommended Sanitation Guidelines For Large Venues” from the CDC, adhering to them, and asking for a “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval” that will show patrons we’re “Following the guidelines prepared by the federal government.”
  6. Opening the theaters earlier.
  7. Temperature checks of patrons at the theater.
  8. Hand sanitizer becomes the new Ricola both backstage and front-of-house.
  9. Merchandise sold outside the theaters or online only (this one was hard for me to type – because it would definitely affect a show’s bottom line).
  10. “At-Risk” social distanced performances . . . taking a cue from the grocery stores, certain shows (Wednesday matinees perhaps?) are designed for at-risk audiences and only 30-50% of the house is sold to allow for social distancing.

How I’d do?  Any have merit?

I’m sure you can do better.  So let’s see ’em.  Great ideas are out there.  The fact is, and we’re going to need them all.

So, ready, set  . . . GO!

(And please share this blog – the more ideas – the better chance the theater has in getting back to where it was the fastest!)

—————
P.S. I’ll be going LIVE tonight on my Facebook page with Tony-nominated Composer Joe Iconis (Be More Chill, Broadway Bounty Hunter). Join us here at 8pm EDT.

 

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Comments
  • Loren Gayle Marsters says:

    Okay… you said no idea is too crazy. BTW, the show branded masks are a GREAT idea!
    1. TUES. – THURS NITES …DROP TICKET PRICES SIGNIFICANTLY.
    A lot of people have been out of work and as much as a lot of people love theatre, they are not going to have that kind of money. Yeah, I know. Every producer is throwing up, but I think Theatre is going to have to coax a lot of its audience to come back.
    2. STILL GOING TO CHARGE FULL PRICE? THEN OFFER GOOD DISCOUNTS TO COME BACK AND SEE THE SHOW AGAIN (and GIVE them a T-Shirt to go with the mask.) There is another variation of this that might work as well, but you may be so horrified at this suggestion, you may need to be hooked up to oxygen.
    3. HAVE PHOTOGRAPHERS IN THE LOBBY TAKING PICS OF AUDIENCE (GET THEIR NAMES), AND DO UP POSTERS FOR THE LOBBY, WEBSITES, NEWS PAPERS, THANKING THOSE PEOPLE FOR COMING BACK. MAYBE GET A SOUND BITE FROM THEM.
    4. FRONT HOUSE STAFF (as audience is filing in), AND CAST (as part of curtain call) – MAKE IT A POINT TO SAY THANK YOU FOR COMING BACK, FOR AT LEAST THE FOLLOWING 6 WEEKS OF PERFORMANCES.
    Yes, some of these are really hokey, but not only is there a “health safety” responsibility, but there’s an appreciation and gratitude that needs to be showed. ESPECIALLY if ticket prices are going to stay the same.
    I have more suggestions, but I’m pretty sure these are just far enough off-the-wall, that you’re going to need some time to recover…but thanks for giving us an opportunity

  • Chris says:

    Seats that are normal person sized so we’re not squished in between the people in either side of us.

  • Sami DeSocio says:

    ushers and people serving drinks and selling show merch maybe wear food-service gloves… or cloth ones (think white glove service gloves). With the cloth ones, it adds a bit more elegance back to the theatre and maybe makes something scary not as scary. The gloves could be washed with the costumes at no extra cost. Or the employee just washes them with their laundry.

    Hand sanitizer stations by the entrance/exit of the theatre, and by all the merch tables and bars.

    Unless people come as a group that know each other, separate people by seat. So if I come with a friend we sit together.. but if I buy 2 tickets for us and then the next 2 people buy 2 tickets, that next part of 2 is kept 1-2 seats between us away from each other. If its 1 person then the seat on either side remains empty.

    Sell hand sanitizer with the logo of the show on it! People could collect them like they do cups! Make it travel size and maybe do 2 for the price of 1 sales.. and of course, holder to match sold separately.

  • EJ says:

    Not only open house earlier but maybe also have seating sections in times like on airplanes. Mezzanine first. Rows A through M last. Etc. could help with crowding, at least at top of show.

  • Adam S says:

    Just spit-balling here:

    1.) Broadway theaters are out-of-date anyway. We need to consider plumbing updates as we can. Hand-washing stations available in places like Shubert Alley, Times Square, Lincoln Center, etc. Before restaurants closed, we saw long lines for restrooms for people just to wash their hands. If we can keep those already long lines shorter, then we can also keep at safe distances.
    2.) Not just show-branded masks, but gloves, too.
    3.) Digital tickets, sure. But is it time to make Playbills digital once-and-for-all, too?
    4.) Pandemic/epidemiological training on top of CPR/AED/First-aid for theater workers and facility managers. (I’m sure this is already being talked about.)
    5.) All ticket lotteries go digital, as well. Ticket companies like TodayTix need to figure out distribution changes to adhere to social distancing rules and go paperless, if possible.

  • Dennis Kulchinsky says:

    No stage door meetings after show
    Maybe for the first couple months discount all tickets same as this booth

  • ++Remind people what they love about live theater so they are motivated to return – and even consider the safety issues.
    ++Public outreach – physically go and meet them where the live- or commute to NY – the first folks back will be local and loyal theater goers.
    ++Frictionless ticketing and refunds/rescheduling – make the audience feel safe choosing to purchase – because they can make changes.
    ++Take every precaution – because no one precaution will be enough – and schedule “at risk” social performances as KD suggested.
    ++ PRESS – Get the media on our side- promote it as a safe option -avoid the CUOMO moment.
    ++Work with restaurants and hotels to assure the entire ecosystem is on board and coordinated. Times Square has to be seen as safe- that is the second barrier (after mass transit)

  • Anthony says:

    Some of these are building on what you already said:

    -MANDATORY mask wearing by everyone except the performers. I realize there may be people who have medical reasons why they can’t wear a mask – not sure how to address this.
    -More outdoor performances .
    -Drive-in performances? If this could be set up, the price could be higher since there will be less space available, but maybe the price is per car.
    -Maybe there are some performances that have every-other seat sold that are pricier tickets (and there could be regular-spaced-audience performances so people can choose).

  • We are a small producing theater with a total seating capacity of 50. These are the steps that we’re implementing:

     Limit the seating capacity to a maximum of 30 seats per performance. (Our average audience is between 25 and 30 seats per performance. So really we’re a head of the game if we average 30 seats.
     Require all front of house staff will wear protective gloves and face masks when providing customer service to patrons.
     Box Office and Concession staff will use hand sanitizer between financial transactions, and will wipe tablet surfaces with alcohol wipes after every transaction.
     All front of house surfaces in restrooms, box office, dressing rooms, lobby and concessions will have been disinfected with sanitary spray or wipes before public performances.
     All theater seats will be wiped down or sprayed with disinfectant wipes or sprays before the house is open and patrons are allowed to take seats.
     Patrons will NOT be subjected to mandatory temperature testing but will be asked to answer a self-monitoring health check list posted in the lobby.

  • Nancy Wasko says:

    Before they were closed, movie theaters in our area started leaving every other seat empty. That would be a good way to start up before crowds come back.

    I sadly have to agree with the person who said no stage door lines after the show. Instead, maybe do a Q&A after the show (wipe the mic between speakers) or just allow people to come up and make a comment at the mic. Or offer signed programs for sale (or to raise money for the Actor’s Fund).

    Have a refund policy in case of illness. As an out of towner who comes to NYC a few times a year, I would be more willing to purchase tickets 3-4 months in advance if I knew I could get a refund if I had a cough; and I’d be more likely to stay home if I had a cough even if it was due to allergies if I could get a refund.

    Don’t sell the first two rows of seats to protect the actors and the orchestra. Maybe alternate the rows of seats sold or alternate the seats so that there is no one directly in front or behind you, but a seat free in between the rows.

    I like the idea of giving away disposable masks with the show’s logo on them. You could also sell inexpensive branded facecloths or towels in case people wanted to wipe down their seat or the handrails themselves.

    How about finding an organization to certify the cleanliness measures, and partner with restaurants and hotels that are also certified?

  • Ryan says:

    I agree the days of packing people in are over. As a producer, that’s not good news. I believe seats need more elbow room, virus or not.
    The more you limit seating, the more apt audiences will be comfortable with the experience.
    Keep in mind, if a patron isn’t comfortable, they won’t be immersed in the show.

  • Dorothy says:

    Definitely include masks with merchandise. Also, you can do “Broadway Live in HD” like The Metropolitan Opera does. Then people can pay to watch the show from the comfort of their homes. That can add revenue if you have to limit seating.

  • All fine and good, but I don’t see anything here about keeping the actors safe. You could seat each audience member 10 feet apart, but how can you guarantee the safety of the actors in a show like MOULIN ROUGE, for example? Thanks,

  • I am the executive director of a visual and performing arts venue. I know this situation is painful. I know everyone wants a magic fix, but the only answer is a vaccine to get everyone back. If there is no vaccine there have to be no, and I mean zero, new cases for several weeks. Even then without a vaccine it will still be dicey. Our patrons skew older. Older people are most at risk and the risk is dying. If an attempt is made to open before there is a vaccine, there will have to be social distancing. The audience, ushers, ticket takers, box office staff will have to wear masks. What theatre can afford to leave four seats empty between each occupied seat? What musician will sit in the pit? On stage we are in each other’s faces. Imagine any musical (or play or opera) where dancers have to stay 6 feet from each other. How will we disinfect the theatre after every single performance? Can we? I just see no way to fill a house until there is a vaccine or a assured cure.

  • E. says:

    I agree the seating in most Bway theaters, and off Bway too, are too cramped and more space is needed. This is not going to be cheap or easy to do. Masks and other protective actions suggested above are desirable also. Everyone agrees that there do need to be changes after this pandemic, because it is reasonable to think that this, or something like it, will come again.

  • I like the idea of ushers, everyone working in the front and at concessions, wearing a picture of themselves without a mask, smiling. It would be comforting. I saw a post on IG where medical staff did that and loved it. They said it made the patients less afraid because they had a face behind the mask.

    Play classical music or some kind of soothing music that keeps energy even, focused, and calm in the lobby and/or in line.

    Definitely let people in earlier to help ease any anxiety they may have.

    After the cast has done their bows, have them gesture gratitude to the audience for coming to the show.

    If possible, do not take temperatures of people coming in. I get it, but if I knew that was a requirement, I would stay home and wait until it was no longer required. Unfortunately, I can’t help visualizing everyone standing in a long, solemn line waiting to walk into certain danger.

  • Lots of great suggestions. Outdoor performances definitely one of my favorites for the summer and fall. However my overriding question is what happens if an actor or crew member becomes infected during a run? With the track, trace and isolate measures that will need to be in place until a vaccine is readily available, does this mean that the entire cast will need to go back into self isolation because they will have all been exposed? I’m so ready to start producing shows again, but this scenario certainly gives me pause.

  • Liza Pissa says:

    Live-streaming options! Renegotiate with playwrights and licensing agencies to allow companies to perform online with password-protected, private links.

  • Kristen Coury says:

    The only other thing we’ve thought of that hasn’t been mentioned is the idea of an extra backstage person whose sole job it is to spray down props and surfaces every time they’re touched or handled. We’ve also talked about sectioning – one section if you have the antibodies, one section if youre vulnerable, etc.

  • Matt says:

    Would it be possible to put sanitation/soap dispensers on the back of each seat? Sure, it would hinder leg room, but I’ll sacrifice some leg room for increased health/safety.

  • Great suggestions here. I talked to my sales rep about branded masks and she laughed as no one else had asked for that. But I’m glad to see that others will need it too.
    Ideas: 1. Change filters on the HVAC system to higher grade to help with air distribution.
    2. Individualized show branded hand sanitizer, everyone gets one!
    3. Online concession sales so that at intermission, they just come them up , no standing in line.
    4. Extra porta potties where possible (I know NYC not practical) so there are even less standing in line waiting

    Fears: As mentioned, it’s not just the audience, it’s the cast. Unless we do monologues, or cast family groupings who are already living together, how can we protect our performers?

    Effects of someone getting Covid-19? Do we notify the entire audience? Does everyone there that night have to quarantine for two weeks? Can we require proof testing? Can we provide tests (if even available or cost effective). On the other hand, perhaps we become the fun place to go for testing. Get tested, 15 minutes later go see a performance and laugh enjoy yourself. I see some possibilities …

  • Randy White says:

    Universal electronic viewing option for all ticket holders (who feel ill or don’t want to take the risk). It’s time for everyone to get on board with this. It will also open a door to expanding house size, which over the long term will help make the theater more accessible as well.

  • Lonnie Cooper says:

    A more flexible ticket policy that reflects people’s need to change performances due to illness, etc.

  • Two ideas

    Foot pedal/auto operated bathroom and stall doors

    Plexiglass begins each row of seats so if someone coughs or sneezes the spray gets stopped.

  • Two ideas:

    1. An interim measure to keep theatre alive and audiences safe until it’s safe(er) to return to enclosed venues – combining drive-in live theatre with live projection. Several large screens can be placed strategically to offset the challenge of seeing the stage at greater distances. Audiences are already accustomed to attending live concerts and sports events that are simultaneously projected on huge screens. Of course, inclement weather will be a challenge. So this may be a seasonal solution, but at least it will keep people coming to live shows whenever possible. (I live in the Phoenix, AZ area, and drive-in movies are becoming popular again. Each car has a designated space and people are allowed to sit outside of their cars as long as they do not go beyond their marked boundary.)

    2. Use outdoor venues (local parks and outdoor theatres such as Wolf Trap, etc.). Space people at least 6 feet apart and require masks. It’s another seasonal solution, but let’s hope by June or July it is safe to gather as long as people take the necessary precautions.

    Also, the added measure of no smoking. A recent news report mentioned that exhaling smoke spreads the virus as effectively as a sneeze or cough.

    Another interim challenge will be for the actors, who will need to take social distancing measures during rehearsals and onstage.

    Ken, thank you for all of your efforts and ideas to keep theatre alive and well!

    Wishing everyone strength and good health!

  • Ilene Argento says:

    I was actually going to suggest #3 – not crazy – perhaps even show-themed hand wipes so people can wipe down chair arms if they want (or their hands). Perhaps a bit insane, but not crazy! Will snacks/drinks be eliminated inside also (I hope so – just for noise purposes!)?

  • Jean Erm says:

    So many people are stuck on this glove thing – please pay attention to the experts on this – I love the show-themed hand sanitizer and wipes idea – but if I came to a front of house worker wearing gloves I would cringe as much as I do when I hit a cashier with gloves – they are not sanitizing BETWEEN patrons, they are using a material that holds contamination more than skin and making it worse. Please encourage sanitizing between rather than wearing gloves that will get contaminated & then spread the contaminate.

    I think at first the “leave a seat between groups” is a great idea (people who purchase tickets together would sit next to each other, then skip a seat between the next purchase). If there are groups larger than 4 or 5 you could offer a discount because it would save you a seat-skip & it would encourage people to purchase tickets in blocks with people they are comfortable sitting in close proximity and they are making that choice.

    Not sure how you would pull it off, but if you could somehow manage to seat “center” people first, then outside people (Maybe you would not guarantee specific seats, but a specific ROW, and the first people seated would start in the middle). Spacing does very little when you have people who have center seats show up at the last minute and crawl over everyone to get to their assigned seats.

    Perhaps different entrances for different areas of seating would create some isolation (again, no idea of HOW – but if you could pull it off this would help reduce some cross-exposure).

    I support ideas above of EVERYONE wear’s a mask (unless dr’s note excludes… not sure what conditions that would be) and all electronic tickets with touch-free scanners.

    Add – Thermal scanners as you get your ticket scanned, you also have your temperature scanned – if you’re running a fever you do not attend (again – like ideas above of easy ticket exchange, or virtual viewing option if you are sick – Virtual option does NOT have to be fancy, multi camera view. One well-placed camera on full stage view would give a better view than some seats!)

    I appreciate the thoughtfulness of this post and the replies!

  • Maddie says:

    In regards to selling merch, here are few ideas:
    One of the main things that can be done is change the way the merch is displayed. For example, all of the small items go in rotating cases (most do this, but more so), and t-shirts can be displayed on top of each other in stacks in a clear case. Like the smallest size on top and the largest on the bottom, so that people can see the size difference without a shirt needing to be touched. You could display the contents of the survivor program by using it as a wrap over the table of merch booth so there doesn’t need to be a display one.
    And for the merch itself, things can be wrapped and/or pre-bagged so people can take things home and clean them themselves. Or, a buy-in-theater and ship-to-home process, which would be especially great for out of town theater goers. Just a few ideas! I’m excited to get back to the theater once it’s safe.

  • Great conversation and well-timed! For all of the challenges, this moment presents a remarkable opportunity as well. We’ve got two generations of people who are digital natives (Millennials and Gen Y) who can seamlessly transition into a touch-free backend experience (virtual ticket/merch sales, virtual playbills, etc.) – but more substantial than that, we’re now seeing that those from older generations have in many cases been forced to become more digitally proficient during this crisis (relying on virtual purchasing/food delivery/video communication, mainly through apps) I think we’ll see people of all ages coming out of this moment expecting to do more online than ever, so this is a great time to ramp up some of that infrastructure in the commercial theater world that may have been lagging behind the times anyway. Doing more virtually (whether via websites/apps/etc) also presents even more opportunities for interaction with audiences virtually leading up to the show – delivering behind the scenes content, advertising merch, etc. Any new chance to increase that connection between audience/show is a big plus.

    I also envision a touch-free theatergoing experience, where tickets could all be stored on phones and scanned touch-free, merch/refreshments could be purchased via an app or QR code scan and picked up, contact-free, at intermission, and folks could have the option of downloading a virtual playbill onto their smartphone rather than holding a paper one (at least for awhile! love paper playbills). Venue bathrooms can and should be upgraded to touch-free flush/sink/soap/towel (theaters should really be working on this right now if they haven’t started already) with wipes available for surfaces we can’t avoid touching, and sanitizing stations could become standard in high traffic areas. Theaters will also have to think about social distancing on bathroom/concession lines, which can be tricky and may need to be re-worked given the layouts of many broadway houses. I think wearing masks is going to be part of our culture for the foreseeable future, whether a theater provides them or not.

    For additional reference, it’s interesting to take a look at what hotels/restaurants and other public spaces are doing now in cities such as Wuhan that have lifted lockdowns, because we’re starting to see precedents forming and it’ll be interesting to watch those spaces and see which approaches are successful…

    Finally, we just need to keep in mind that nothing is forever. Theaters will probably be operating at decreased capacity for awhile, and that it may be years before we’re willing to pack into venues shoulder to shoulder. But I do think people will come back to live venues once restrictions have lifted if we can create a truly safe experience for them, so this is an opportunity for forward thinking folks to lead the way. This is just a moment in time and we will get through it together!

  • anita simons says:

    These are all great ideas and we visit Broadway once a year and pack in 8-9 shows in 7 days. I remember how packed it is at intermission to get to a bathroom, so changes to Broadway venues will be critical to safety of audience.

    I’ve been thinking about this problem since our Gov issued stay at home orders in CA. I live in an active senior community with a large theater and active club that produces 2 shows a year in our large hall that seats over 300 people. Many of us are in the “at risk” category, so we have decided that even if our clubhouse and theater are opened up in a few months, we will not be flocking back to participate socially in large groups. Socializing is one of the main reasons that people move here, not to mention the golf course, tennis, etc.

    I decided if the future did not allow live theater on a stage, we would do it virtually. I got a cast together that had presented a play reading of one of my plays back in February and they all agreed they would try to do it via Zoom. I got a director for the cast, trained everyone on Zoom and after 2 weeks of rehearsals, we presented our first Zoom play reading on April 22. We had no idea how it would work, but it was a great success and we plan on doing another one end of May and will continue to do this until there is a vaccine or we feel it’s safe to go back into large groups.

    My suggestion for any theater (including ours) is that when it is safe to have smaller groups together cast your play with actors who are virus free and healthy and can rehearse in small groups. Let your theater audience know that there will be limited seating at performances in order to keep them all at a safe distance as they enter the theater and while they are seated. In our case, we have audio/video capabilities and can record two performances. We would pick the best of the performances and then broadcast on our local in-house TV station. With a smaller audience, at least you get a reaction and the production can be taped. I’ve seen several taped productions recently that had an audience and I had the best seat in the house. I loved “One Man Two Guvnors” –plus I could pause it and go to the bathroom or get something to eat from my own kitchen. I also saw the professional virtual reading of “Lips Together, Teeth Apart” and the one thing missing was the Audience! By recording a show even with a smaller audience, the viewer feels they are in the theater. And theaters can make money by charging to view the production from safety of their home while a live audience can feel safe in smaller numbers.

    Live theater will return, but it has to be slow and safe and our world will never be the same after this pandemic.

  • Todd Fogdall says:

    Social distance seating

    Separate ingress and egress routes

    Close lobbies – you come in and go to your seat

    Pre-order concessions only that are grab and go

    No reusable take-in cups

    Digital playbills only

    Digital tickets only

    Close box office windows – no will call

    Digital streaming option for those with tickets who decide not to attend. They can still stream the show from home on a protected feed.

    Purell sponsorship of all theaters everywhere =)

  • PIETRIGA Claire-Marine says:

    – A reminder at the same time we’re asked to turn off our cellphones : cough in your elbow, eventual rules for intermission
    – At intermission, divide people in groups of seats for the restrooms to limit the size of the line.
    – Unisex bathrooms: to help reduce the size of the lines as well
    – disinfectant in each stall of the restroom
    – on the digital tickets : a reminder of the theatre rule regarding the situation

  • Elise says:

    Hi Ken, Everyone’s ideas are great. This is from my dentist’s email to me. I wonder if the theater owners would be able to get something comparable for theaters – and if they are able to install the equipment, the producers should advertise that fact as it will drive audiences to your show versus a theater that isn’t doing the extra precaution:
    “We added upper air UVC lights to each of our treatment rooms and common areas that will safely kill germs and viruses 24/7. Additionally, we purchased a mobile UVC system to disinfect rooms in between patients. This UV light cleaning system will eliminate unwanted surface and airborne virus. You have probably seen these units on the news, deployed in hospital settings. This is all manufactured in the USA through AmericanUltraviolet.com if you want more information. I’ve been very impressed with their healthcare experts and support. We will also be using air sanitizers, special suctions and additional PPE (personal protective equipment). We plan on using a multilayered approach to keep everyone as safe as possible.”

  • Chuck Miller says:

    Take a cue from retail – sneeze guards at open concession and box office areas. Time sensitive video of theatre cleaning on social media. Messaging from management about concerns and upgraded standards base on industry best practices. Thanks for the helpful conversation.

  • Elise says:

    Just saw on the Today show about new fogging equipment that disinfects spaces overnight – manufacturer: Halosil

  • Lisa says:

    It’s time for theaters to modernize. I spend way more time (and waaaay more money) on Broadway than I do on movies, and I love most of the live shows I’ve seen. But physically being in a Broadway theater is miserable, while movie theater seats are COMFORTABLE. Most movie theaters even have recliners now. Broadway seats are tiny, and I’m a petite person. When I go with tall friends, their knees are in their chin. Even after the virus, remember that 2/3 of Americans are overweight, and most are taller than the population 100 years ago.

    Reading the comments above, I understand all the concern, but if a theater told me they would take my temperature, hand me a mask when I entered, or do other similarly invasive things, I would NOT go. That’s a horror movie, not a night out.

  • Daniel says:

    How about broadway should start putting out shows that aren’t filled with identity politics and shock value abrasiveness, are less focused on spending as much money as possible and focus more on compelling stories, and lower prices!?

  • Paul Wolf says:

    Hi Ken,

    I’m responding to your excellent invitation to give ideas about making audiences feel comfortable about returning to the theatre —

    Have each theatre produce a 10-minute (or 5-minute or 1-minute) musical video that would theatrically (needless to say) demo vacuuming, scrubbing, sanitizing their venue, from hallways to restrooms to each and every seat. And when they finish, down the main aisle would strut the stars of upcoming shows. This would produce three benefits:

    — 1) a “contest” (among Ken’s subscribers) to see which theatre is doing the best not only in sanitation, but in producing irresistible theatre

    — 2) a “demo” that would reinvigorate Ken’s “insiders,” those closest to theatre who will be inspired by each theatre’s progress, their unique actions, and the staff behind those actions gearing up to restart — and motivate others to do the same

    — 3) not least, the public would be reassured as theatres incorporate the brief musicals in their advertising, which ambitiously, may even be linked in a nation-wide campaign

  • Neil says:

    I think it is ESSENTIAL not to quickly ban stage door interactions through fear of COVID or in an easy attempt to comply with social distancing. Allowing ticket holders to wait at the stage door and say hi to their fav performers and get one autograph is a valued and for some essential element of a theatre visit. Procedures and facilities could easily be put in place to allow this to continue within current guidelines but many theatres seem to be too quick to just simply ban and stop all stage door interaction and dismiss the importance of this to many REGULAR theatre goers and repeat customers. Please please consider what I’ve said and don’t simple take the easy option.

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