Catching live performances in theaters may be a possibility sooner than expected.
Last week, Dr. Anthony Fauci lowered the hopes of many Broadway and general live performance fans after suggesting it could take a year after a vaccine is developed to see a return of audiences to theaters.
Those comments suggesting it could take until the end of 2021 for reopenings to occur caused “Wicked” music director Evan Roider to reach out to the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for further clarification, reported the New York Post.
In a Facebook post, Roider said Fauci told him those comments were meant as far as returning to "pre-pandemic normal,” meaning people not wearing masks, or social distancing or paying attention to crowds in theaters.
He then elaborated that audiences could see a gradual and sooner return to theaters with safety protocols in place.
"However, and this is a big however, that does not mean that theaters will be shut down until the end of 2021,” Fauci wrote, according to Roider. “Depending on the level of infection in a state/city/community, I can see opening of theaters with attention to varying degrees of masking, reduced capacity, and attention to other public health issues.”
Fauci added: “As vaccines control the virus more and more, we can foresee a significant lessening of restrictive public health measures so that we gradually approach true “normal” as we get through 2021."
Fauci’s earlier and more disheartening comments regarding theater reopenings came during a virtual question and answer forum with actress Jennifer Garner.
"I think it's going to be a combination of a vaccine that has been around for almost a year and good public health measures. I would think by the time we get to the end of 2021 - maybe even the middle of 2021," he told Garner.
Broadway theaters have been dark since the onset of the pandemic in March. In June, the Broadway League announced all shows would remain on hold until at least January 3, 2021.