MetroFocus: May 5, 2020

As the curve flattens, the focus now shifts to the economic devastation wrought by the virus. The state is facing record unemployment comparable to the Great Depression. New Yorkers are struggling to pay rent. Small businesses and lenders face delinquency. And landlords are bracing for the impact on all sides. So what’s next? As part of our Chasing The Dream initiative on poverty and opportunity in America, we examine how to restart the economy with Crain’s New York Business Columnist Greg David.

As with so many other businesses and industries affected by the coronavirus pandemic, Broadway has had its lights turned off. It has been less than two months since Broadway was shuttered and thousands of jobs and millions of dollars have been lost. But as the saying goes in that industry, the show must go on. But when and how? Will there be social distancing seating? Will theaters offer masks with show branding and hand sanitizer? Tonight, Tony award-winning producer Ken Davenport explores what Broadway can do to make theatergoers more comfortable post-pandemic.

Aired on May 5, 2020. 

TRANSCRIPT

> UP NEXT, 'METROFOCUS.'

WE'RE WORKING FROM HOME BUT WE'RE DEDICATED TO BRINGING YOU THE IMPORTANT STORIES ABOUT HOW OUR AREA IS AFFECTED BY CORONAVIRUS.

THIS IS 'METROFOCUS,' WITH RAFAEL P. ROMAN, JACK FORD, AND JENNA FLANAGAN.

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY JAMES AND MERRYL TISCH, SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, THE SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM, BERNARD AND IRENE SCHWARTZ, ROSALIND P. WALTER, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, AND BY -- ♪

> WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS' I'M I'M.

RAFAEL PI ROMAN.

NEW YORK IS STILL THE EPICENTER OF THE NATION'S CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC BUT THE CURVE HAS FLATTENED AND THE FOCUS BEGINNING TO SHIFT TO THE ECONOMIC CAUSED BY THE VIRUS.

WITH THE STATE STRUGGLING TO PAY RENT, WHAT'S NEEDED TO RESTART THE ECONOMY, JOINING US NOW TO HELP ANSWER THAT IS CHASING THE INITIATIVE ON POVERTY IN AMERICA IS THE DIRECTOR OF THE NEW SCHOOL OF JOURNALISM GREG.

WELCOME TO THE PROGRAM.

ALWAYS A PLEASURE TO TALK TO YOU.

ALWAYS A PLEASURE FOR ME TO BE HERE.

SO, GREG, LET ME START WITH THIS.

CAN YOU GIVE SUMMARY OF THE ECONOMIC CONSEQUENCES OF THE LOCKDOWN FOR NEW YORK STATE AND NEW YORK CITY?

THEY ARE DISASTROUS AND THERE'S NO OTHER WAY TO PUT IT.

IN NEW YORK CITY SOMEWHERE IN THE ORDER OF 700,000 PEOPLE HAVE FILED FOR UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE IN THE LAST SEVEN WEEK S. THE STATEWIDE NUMBER OF PEOPLE ON UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS ALREADY IS 1.6 MILLION.

IT MEANS WE PROBABLY REACH 20% UNEMPLOYMENT.

MAYBE A LITTLE BIT HIGHER THAN THAT.

SO WHAT'S THE COMPARISON TO THAT?

THE GREAT DEPRESSION.

WHEN NATIONALLY UNEMPLOYMENT WAS SOMEWHERE BETWEEN 20 AND 25%. NOTHING SINCE THE GREAT DEPRESSION HAS BEEN THIS BAD AND OF COURSE NEVER HAS AN ECONOMY FALTERED SO QUICKLY, NOT EVEN IN THE GREAT DEPRESSION.

WOW.

SO NO PART OF THE STATE WILL BEGIN TO OPEN UP THIS ECONOMY UNTIL MAY 15, AT THE EARLIEST, IS THAT RIGHT?

YOU ARE RIGHT ABOUT THAT.

AND THE PROSPECTS FOR DOWN STATE ARE FOR LATER THAN THAT.

WOW.

SO AS YOU KNOW, GREG, THERE ARE THOSE WHO ARGUE THAT WE MOVE THE GOAL POST ON THE LOCKDOWN.

HERE AND ACROSS THE COUNTRY.

THAT WHILE ORIGINALLY THEY WERE MEANT TO FLATTEN THE CURVE SO THAT HOSPITALS WOULDN'T BE OVERWHELMED, THEY SOMEHOW BECOME A NECESSITY IN PEOPLE'S MINDS, IN LEADERS'S MINDS, UNTIL THE VIRUS IS VIRTUALLY DEFEATED, THERE BY DELAYING THE ECONOMIC RECOVER I WHY.

DO YOU THINK THAT'S AN ACCURATE PORTRAYAL OF WHAT IS HAPPENING?

I KNOW A LOT OF PEOPLE THINK THAT.

I THINK PEOPLE DON'T WANT TWO SHUT DOWNS, IN ECONOMIC TERMS THAT COULD BE JUST DEVASTATING.

SO IF YOU'RE CONVINCED THE VIRUS IS NOT ELIMINATED AND WE GO BACK TO WORK WE'RE GOING TO HAVE ANOTHER REOCCURRENCE TO SHUT DOWN THE ECONOMY AGAIN, THAT'S A REASONABLE POSITION TO TAKE.

I ALSO THINK IT'S WRONG THAT MANY PEOPLE ARE EQUATING PEOPLE DIEING AND THE ECONOMY DIEING AS A CHOICE.

WELL, IT DOESN'T HAVE TO BE A CHOICE.

THERE ARE WAYS TO MAKE SURE THAT PEOPLE ARE ABLE TO GET THROUGH ECONOMICALLY WHILE WE DO WHAT'S NEEDED TO BE DONE WITH THE VIRUS.

SO WHILE ECK FONOMICS IS MY SPECIALTY I DON'T WANT TO TRUMP THE PUBLIC EXPERTS ABOUT WHAT WE NEED TO DO SO THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE DON'T DIE THE PRESIDENT SAYING WE ARE HEADED TO 100,000 DEATHS, HE'S NOT THE ONLY ONE SAYING THAT.

SO WHAT WILL IT TAKE IN THE NEXT FEW MONTHS TO BRING THE ECONOMY BACK OR TRY TO.

NOTHING.

THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP WE HAVE TO DO IS TO MAKE SURE THAT AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE PEOPLE ARE HOME.

SO ONE OF THE GREAT PROBLEMS IN THAT REGARD HAS BEEN EMPL EMPLOYMENT -- UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE SYSTEMS WHICH WERE NOT CAPABLE OF HANDLING THE LOAD.

MAYBE WE'RE FIXING THAT IN NEW YORK.

BUT WITH THE $600 FEDERAL BENEFIT THE MAXIMUM UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFIT IN NEW YORK CITY THESE DAYS IS ABOUT $1,000 A WEEK AND A LOT OF PEOPLE CAN GET BY ON $1,000 A WEEK SO THAT MAKES AN IMPORTANT EFFORT.

AND AS THE GOVERNOR HAS BEEN RAILING ABOUT FOR WEEKS NOW AS WELL AS THE GOVERNORS OF CONNECTICUT AND NEW JERSEY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IS GOING TO HAVE TO HELP IN -- HELP THE STATES DEAL WITH AN ENORMOUS FISCAL PROBLEM.

IF WE DON'T GET HELP FROM THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT WHAT WE'RE GOING TO SEE IS WIDESCALE LAY OFFS, SO CITY AND STATE WORKERS, TEACHERS, ET CETERA, BECAUSE NEW YORK STATE BUDGET FOR EXAMPLE HAS A $10 BILLION HOLE.

SO IF WE DON'T GET THAT, RECOVERING IS GOING TO BE REALLY HARD.

BECAUSE JUST WHEN THE ECONOMY STARTS TO PICK UP A MILLION OTHER PEOPLE, HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF OTHER PEOPLE WILL LOSE THEIR JOB.

THE THIRD MOST IMPORTANT THING IS HELP FOR SMALL BUSINESSES.

THERE'S BEEN ENORMOUS COVERAGE OF THE DISASTER OF THE SMALL BUSINESS LOAN PROGRAM BUT I'VE BEEN TALKING TO SMALL BUSINESSES AND COLLEAGUE AND I HAVE BEEN FOLLOWING SIX TO EIGHT COMPANIES, NOT ONE OF WHICH HAS GOTTEN A SMALL BUSINESS LOAN AS OF THIS MOMENT.

WELL, IF SMALL BUSINESSES DON'T REOPEN WE'RE NOT GOING TO HAVE MUCH OF A RECOVERY.

I'VE BEEN TALKING A LOT TO A PRINTING COMPANY IN THE BRONX CALLED BRONX DESIGN, THEY SHUT DOWN EVEN EARLIER THAN THE ORDER BECAUSE THEIR BUSINESS DRIED UP.

IT'S A HUSBAND AND AND WIFE AND THEIR DAUGHTER AND FOUR EMPLOYEES.

THEY DON'T KNOW IF THEY CAN REOPEN AND THEY HAVEN'T GOT A DIME OF HELP YET.

SO IF BUSINESSES LIKE THAT CAN'T REOPEN THEN THOSE FOUR PEOPLE WON'T HAVE JOB THAT'S THEY HAD BEFORE.

THOSE ARE THE THINGS THAT ARE REALLY IMPORTANT.

QUICKLY, IS THERE ANYTHING NOT DONE.

WELL WE NEED TO GET THOSE SMALL BUSINESSES LOANS.

WE NEED TO GET THE UNEMPLOYMENT SYSTEM WORKING SO THAT PEOPLE ARE GETTING THE BENEFIT TO PAY GROCERIES AND PAY THE RENT.

THOSE ARE THE THINGS THAT HAVE NOT BEEN DONE YET.

AND OF COURSE WE NEED THE REPUBLICANS IN WASHINGTON TO AGREE, YES, THERE HAS TO BE SOME AID TO THE STATES.

THEY DON'T WANT TO GIVE IT, AT LEAST SO FAR THEY SAID THEY DON'T WANT TO GIVE IT BECAUSE THEY SAY ESPECIALLY THE BIG BLUE STATES LIKE NEW YORK HAVE BEEN PROVE GATED IN THEIR SPENDING IN THE PAST AND THAT IF THEY WANTED THEN MAYBE THEY SHOULD CUT THE SPENDING.

DO YOU THINK THEY HAVE SOME MERIT TO THOSE ARGUMENTS?

WELL, THAT DEPENDS, I THINK IT'S A REALLY BROAD BRUSH.

ARE THERE STATES WHO ARE MISKREENTS WHO HAVEN'T PAID THEIR PENSION BILL, YOU BET.

KENNEL KEN, MITCH McMcCONNELL'S STATE HAS THE WORST FUNDED PENSION -- ILLINOIS ACTUALLY MADE THIS VERY DIFFICULT BECAUSE THEY ASKED FOR MONEY TO PAY THEIR PENSION BILLS WHICH THEY HAD NOT PAID BEFORE.

BUT FOR MOST STATES IT'S ABOUT A DECLINE IN REVENUE.

IT'S A DECLINE IN REVENUE THAT THEY HAD NO ABILITY TO CONTROL OR DEAL WITH.

SO YOU THINK THE REPUBLICANS WILL BEND AND THE MONEY WILL COME?

I DON'T KNOW WHAT WILL HAPPEN ON THAT FRONT BUT I KNOW THE PRESSURE WILL MOUNT AS GOVERNMENTS CAN'T PAY THEIR BILLS.

RIGHT.

WELL, IN SPEAKING ABOUT THE STEPS HE'D LIKE TO TAKE TO REBUILD THE CITY'S ECONOMY, MAYOR de BLASIO SAID NEW YORK CITY DOESN'T JUST NEED A RE RECOVERY IT NEEDS TRANSFORMATION FOR LONG-STANDING DISPARITIES, SAME ARGUMENT SINCE TAKING OFFICE IN 2014, WHAT DO YOU THINK?

IS THIS THE TIME FOR TRANSFORMATION IN OUR ECONOMY.

I TELL YOU THIS, THAT SPEECH WENT OVER TERRIBLY OVER BUSINESS PEOPLE, FELT COMPLETELY IGNORED BY HIS TASK FORCE WHEN HE OUTLINED THAT.

S ALMOST AS IF HE WANTS TO PROCEED WITH REOPENING THE ECONOMY WITHOUT INCORPORATING CIVIC AND BUSINESS LEADERS IN HOW TO DO IT.

SO I THINK HE SQUANDERED A MAJOR OPPORTUNITY AT THAT POINT.

NOW, THAT IS NOT TO SAY THAT THE IN EQEQUITIES THAT HAVE BEEN ALS EXISTING AND HAVE BEEN DEMONSTRATED BY THIS AREN'T A BIG PROBLEM AND I THINK EVERY PEOPLE, EVERYONE WOULD RECOGNIZE THAT.

BUT REMEMBER, ON ALL THESE COUNTS, NEW YORK IS BETTER OFF THAN OTHER PLACES.

WE HAVE A MUCH BETTER SAFETY NET.

WE HAVE WAYS TO GET PEOPLE FOOD.

WE HAVE CASH PAYMENTS.

WE HAVE ENORMOUS PROTECTION FOR TENANT THAT'S DON'T EXIST ELSEWHERE IN THE CITY.

WE HAVE A ROBUST MEDICAID PROGRAM AND THE DISPARITY NUMBERS, WELL, THEY'RE NOT GOOD IN NEW YORK, THEY'RE BETTER THAN IN MANY OTHER PLACES IN THE COUNTRY.

SO IT'S A TOUGH ISSUE BUT WE HAVE TO ADDRESS THESE ISSUES.

BUT IF THAT IS THE FOCUS I THINK THE REBUILDING AND THE RECOVERY OF THE CITY WILL BE SETBACK, NOT ENHANCED.

GREAT.

AS YOU SAID, IT'S TRUE THAT SOME OF THOSE DEVICE HAS BEEN REALLY -- OF THOSE DIVIDE HAS BEEN REALLY EXPOSED.

THE DIVIDE WITH HEALTH CARE.

ONE GROUP HAS HAD GOOD HEALTH CARE AND THOSE WHO HAVEN'T ARE SUFFERING THE CONSEQUENCES OF THIS PANDEMIC MUCH MORE.

SOME OF US CAN WORK AT HOME, SOME CAN'T.

WITH ALL OF THE IMPLICATIONS OF RISK AND THAT.

BUT LISTEN, THERE'S ALSO ANOTHER DIVIDE, YOU TOUCHED ON THE HOUSING DIVIDE.

ASIDE FROM THE LOSS OF BUSINESSES AND JOBS, THE ECONOMIC CRISIS THREATENING THE LOSS OF HOUSING PARTICULARLY FOR TENANTS.

AS YOU KNOW AROUND THE COUNTRY AND HERE IN NEW YORK THERE'S ACTIVISTS AND ELECTED OFFICIAL WHO'S ARE SPEAR HEADING OR PUSHING RENT STRIKES TO DEAL WITH THAT PROBLEM.

IS THAT THE CORRECT APPROACH?

NO IT'S NOT.

I JUST SPENT LAST WEEK TALKING TO SMALL LANDLORDS AROUND TO CITY AN THE QUESTION I WANT PEOPLE TO ASK IS SO WHAT HAPPENS WHEN TENANTS DON'T PAY THEIR RENT?

WHAT HAMS WHAT HAPPENS TO THE BILLS LANDLORDS HAVE.

IT'S AS IF PEOPLE THINK EVERY LANDLORD IS A BILLIONAIRE.

WELL THERE'S LOTS OF PEOPLE WHO MANAGE TWO BUILDINGS OR 150 APARTMENTS, THEY HAVE MORTGAGES TO PAY, THEY HAVE MAINTENANCE COST TO TAKE CARE OF, THEY HAVE ENORMOUS PROPERTY TAX BILLS.

I TALK TO SOMEONE THIS WEEK WHOSE RENT ROLL, 60% OF THE MONEY HE COLLECTS EACH MONTH GOES TO PROPERTY TAXES AND HIS WATER BILL.

AND SO WHEN THE LANDLORDS CAN'T MEET THEIR OBLIGATIONS WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

WELL LOTS OF TRADESMEN WILL LOSE THEIR JOBS BECAUSE THEY WON'T GET EMPLOYMENT TO FIX UP BUILDINGS.

BUILDINGS WILL DETERIORATE.

MAYBE MORTGAGES WILL GO INTO DEFAULT.

IT'S NOT A GOOD SCENARIO.

LOOK, PEOPLE NEED HELP PAYING THE RENT.

THE UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS ARE PART OF THE SOLUTION.

MAYBE THERE NEEDS TO BE BIGGER SOLUTIONS.

MAYBE WASHINGTON COULD COME UP WITH WAYS TO HELP PEOPLE PAY THE RENT.

THERE'S ONE OTHER POINT THAT TENANT ACTIVISTS HAVE REALLY MISSED AND I THINK CREATED A LOT OF TROUBLE.

WHICH SOMEONE FROM THE FUHRMAN CENTER TOLD ME LAST WEEK, YOU KNOW, IT SHOULD BE TENANTS AND LANDLORDS TOGETHER GOING TO WASHINGTON DEMANDING HELP.

TENANTS AND LANDLORDS FIGHTING OVER WHAT TO DO WILL NOT LEAD US TO A SOLUTION.

AND YOU KNOW, I -- THE SENATE NUMBER TWO PERSON IN THE STATE SENATE, MICHAEL GIA NERIS IS ONE OF THOSE CALLING FOR A RENT WAIVER BUT I NEVER HEARD HIM SAY HOW WE'RE GOING TO FINANCE THE RENT WAIVER.

I THINK THAT'S PRETTY IRRESPONSIBLE.

YEAH.

ALL RIGHT.

WE HAVE LESS THAN A MINUTE LEFT BUT I HAVE TO ASK THE QUESTION, AFTER 9/11 THERE WAS SENTIMENT AROUND THE COUNTRY THAT CITIES WERE DONE, THAT THEY WERE HISTORY, OF COURSE NEW YORK CITY PROVED THAT WRONG BECAUSE WE HAD A BOOM OVER THE LAST 20 YEARS.

DO YOU BELIEVE THAT AFTER THIS CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC IS OVER WE'RE GOING TO PROVE THAT WE CAN REBOUND YET AGAIN?

I HOPE SO BUT I'M NOT CONFIDENT.

I'M NOT CONFIDENT BECAUSE, YOU KNOW, YOU'RE WORKING FROM HOME, AND I'M WORKING FROM HOME, WELL, AFTER 9/11 PEOPLE SAY WE WILL WORK FROM HOME BUT THE TECHNOLOGY WASN'T THAT GOOD, WE COULDN'T HAVE DONE THIS INTERVIEW AFTER TERROR OF 9/11 BUT TODAY WE CAN.

I THINK THE RISK IS GREATER.

PEOPLE ARE CONFIDENT THAT THEY'RE SAFE IN THE CITY THEN I THINK WE'LL BE OKAY BUT I DON'T KNOW WHEN THAT WILL BE.

WE HAVE TO END IT THERE, RICK, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US TODAY, AS ALWAYS BEEN A PLEASURE.

BEEN A PLEASURE FOR ME.

WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS' I'M JACK FORD.

AS WITH SO MANY OTHER BUSINESSES AND INDUSTRIES AFFECTED BY THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC, BROADWAY HAS HAD ITS LIGHTS TURNED OFF.

FOR MORE THAN TWO MONTHS NOW SINCE THE TIME BROADWAY SHUTTER THOUSANDS OF JOBS AND MILLIONS OF DOLLARS LOST.

BUT AS THE SAYING GOES IN THAT INDUSTRY, THE SHOW MUST GO ON.

THE QUESTION NOW BECOMES WHEN AND IN WHAT FASHION.

TO TALK ABOUT ALL OF THAT, WE'RE PLEASED TO BE JOINED BY TONY-AWARD WINNER AND LEGENDARY BROADWAY PRODUCER, KEN DAVENPORT.

THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.

PLEASURE TO CHAT WITH YOU.

MY PLEASURE.

THANKS FOR HAVING ME.

MY FIRST QUESTION TO YOU, AND I'VE ASKED SOME OTHER BROADWAY FOLK S ABOUT THIS IS, WHAT ARE YOUR VERY FIRST THOUGHTS WHEN YOU HEARD THAT BROADWAY WAS GOING TO BE SHUTTER.

SO MY VERY FIRST THOUGHTS WERE, WE WON'T BE DOWN THAT LONG, WE CAN'T BE DOWN THAT LONG, RIGHT, WE'RE BROADWAY.

THIS IS A COMMON NOT ONLY ON BROADWAY BUT A NEW YORKER THOUGHT.

WE'RE A VERY RESILIENT GROUP OF PEOPLE AND THINK NOTHING CAN AFFECT US FOR THAT LONG.

AND SO I ACTUALLY, THE FRIDAY BEFORE THE SHUT DOWN I SAID TO MY OFFICE LET'S TEST WORKING FROM HOME.

WE'LL JUST TEST IS, WE'LL SEE HOW IT GOES AND OVER THE WEEKEND OF COURSE THE GOVERNOR ISSUED THE STAY-AT-HOME ORDERS, SO WE NEVER WENT BACK TO WORK.

I THOUGHT IT WAS GOING TO BE SHORTER.

I WAS WRONG.

YEAH.

SO WHAT DOES A BROADWAY PRODUCER WHO HAS LITERALLY RIGHT NOW NOTHING TO PRODUCE DO WITH HIS TIME?

WELL, THAT'S THE THING, RIGHT, SO BROADWAY PRODUCERS ARE ENTREPRENEURS, WE ARE START-UP BUSINESS PEOPLE.

THIS IS WHAT WE DO.

SO I'M DOING A LOT OF MY R AND D WORK, MY DEVELOPMENT WORK.

SO I GOT A NUMBER OF PROJECTS IN LINE FOR BROADWAY THAT WEREN'T SCHEDULED TO BE HERE FOR COUPLE YEARS SO I FOCUS ON THOSE.

WHETHER THE NEIL DIAMOND OR A LOT OF THE SCRIPT AND EARLY WORK.

SO IN SOME WAYS THIS HAS GIVEN YOU AN OPPORTUNITY TO DO THINGS THAT OTHERWISE, THINGS THAT ARE GOING ACTIVELY YOU WOULDN'T HAVE A CHANCE TO DO.

YEAH, ONE OF THE BEST PIECES OF ADVICE I GOT FROM SOMEONE OUTSIDE THE INDUSTRY IS THIS IS A GREAT TIME FOR ALL BUSINESS OWNERS TO LOOK AT THE PLUMBING OF THEIR BUSINESS.

RIGHT.

YOU CAN'T SELL ANYTHING RIGHT NOW.

IT'S LIKE, WE CAN'T SELL TICKETS.

EVEN IF YOU WANTED TO NO ONE IS GOING TO BUY THEM, RIGHT.

SO DON'T TRY.

SO I'M WORKING ON THE SCRIPT.

WE'RE WORKING ON THE SCORES.

I'M WORKING ON THE MARKETING MATERIALS.

WE'RE CRAFTING THAT.

AND THEN WE'LL BE READY WHEN THIS IS ALL SAID AND DONE AND HOPEFULLY A LITTLE AHEAD.

AND THE PLUMTING WILL BE IF -- PLUMBING WILL BE IN EVEN BETTER SHAPE.

ALL RIGHT.

HERE'S A QUESTION I'M SURE YOU'RE BESIEGED BY, I'M GOING TO ASK IT ANYWAY, THAT IS, YOUR BEST-INFORMED GUESS AS TO WHEN THERE WILL BE SOME TYPE OF PRODUCTIONS AVAILABLE ON BROADWAY WOULD BE WHEN?

THIS IS THE QUESTION, AND FRANKLY EVERY TIME I TRY TO GIVE AN ANSWER TO THEY REQUEST, -- AN ANSWER TO THIS QUESTION BY THE TIME I START TO GIVE THE ANSWER MY OPINION CHANGEDS.

BROADWAY WILL COME BACK WHEN TAKING CUES FROM GOVERNOR AND FEDERAL AND STATE OFFICIALS AN THE DOCTORS.

THIS IS WHAT IT'S ABOUT.

I LISTEN TO FAUCI FRANKLY LIKE HE IS OUR RESIDENT.

SO WE HAVE TO TAKE OUR CUES FROM THAT ABOUT THE SPECIFICS.

I ALSO THINK ONE OF THE ADVANTAGES, I WROTE ABOUT THIS IN A BLOG THE OTHER DAY, ONE OF THE ADVANTAGES BROADWAY HAS IS TO LOOK AT WHAT EVERYONE ELSE IS DOING.

THERE'S PRODUCTIONS GOING ON IN SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA RIGHT NOW.

THERE WILL BE OTHER MASS GATHERINGS, EVEN OF A FEW HUNDRED PEOPLE ACROSS THE COUNTRY AS WE SEE CERTAIN STATE THAT'S ARE NOT EPICENTERS START TO OPEN UP, WHETHER LARGE CHURCHES OR OTHER EVENTS SO WE'LL SEE WHAT HAPPENS IN TERMS OF PROTOCOL WHAT'S WORKING, WHAT'S NOT.

IN TERMS OF YOUR QUESTION, WE'LL COME BACK WHEN OUR AUDIENCE IS READY TO COME BACK.

I KEEP SAYING THE FIRST TIME WE OPEN UP BACK AGAIN, I MEAN, IT'S GOING TO BE AND IT SHOULD BE ELECTRIC.

WE WILL BE SO STARVED FOR THAT TYPE OF ENTERTAINMENT.

I SAW YOU SAY THAT AND MY FIRST THOUGHT WAS, I WANT TO BE IN THE THEATER.

YEAH.

THAT FIRST NIGHT.

IMAGINE THAT FEELING.

WE HAD THE SAME THING AFTER 9/11 WHEN WE REOPENED.

AND THAT WAS ONLY A COUPLE DAYS.

SO IMAGINE WHAT IT'S GOING TO BE LIKE FOR YOU BEING ONE OF THOSE THEATER-GOERS THAT FIRST NIGHT.

SO IT'S GOING TO BE AMAZING.

NOW I WANT TO MAKE SURE EVERYONE IN THAT AUDIENCE IS SO FOCUSED ON THE FACTS AN AMAZING EXPERIENCE.

WE DON'T WANT -- I DON'T WANT EVERYONE TO BE NERVOUS OR CONCERNED.

AND SO, I FEEL LIKE WE ARE GOING TO WAIT UNTIL WE'RE READY FOR THAT.

I DON'T KNOW EXACTLY WHEN THAT WILL BE.

I MEAN, I WAS JUST READING CNN, FAUCI THINKS THERE MAY BE A VACCINATION EARLIER.

IT CHANGES SO FREQUENTLY.

QUITE LITERALLY MINUTE TO MINUTE.

WE'RE TALKING WITH TONY-AWARD WINNING BROADWAY PRODUCER, KEN DAVENPORT ABOUT THESE ISSUES.

NOW LET ME ASK YOU IN FASHION QUESTION.

I KNOW YOU'RE REACHING OUT TO PEOPLE, WHO ARE YOU TALKING TO, AND WHAT KIND OF IDEAS ARE YOU GETTING THAT YOU THINK MIGHT MAKE SOME SENSE?

SO I'M A BIG BELIEVER IN SURVEYING AND ASKING PEOPLE THEIR OPINIONS.

YOU KNOW, OFTEN WE GET A LOT OF PEOPLE SAYING AROUND BOARD TABLES AND THINGS, AND LIKE, HEY, WE'RE TAUKSING ABOUT THIS, IT'S IMPORTANT.

IN ALL INDUSTRIES THIS IS HAPPENING.

I'M A BIG BELIEVER ASKING KIDS, ASKING FRANKLY JUST TODAY I HAD A BLOG ASKING INVESTORS, WHEN WILL YOU WANT TO COME BACK AND SUPPORT THIS INDUSTRY THAT YOU LOVE.

THAT'S A VERY IMPORTANT QUESTION.

WHAT A LOT OF PEOPLE DON'T REALIZE, BROADWAY ISN'T A GIANT CORPORATION.

BUSINESSES MADE UP BY INDIVIDUAL INVESTORS.

WILL THEY WANT TO COME BACK RIGHT AWAY?

WHO KNOWS.

SO I ALSO ASKED THEATER-GOERS, LIKE, WHAT WILL MAKE YOU COMFORTABLE?

WE GOT A WHOLE BUNCH OF RESPONSES THAT ARE FASCINATING AND INTERESTING.

EVERYTHING FROM SOCIAL DISTANCING IN SEATS, WHICH, AGAIN, I'M NOT SURE ABOUT.

I THINK I'D WANT A FULL HOUSE.

TO CUSTOM MASKS, YOU KNOW, WITH THE SHOW BRAND ON THEM.

TO ALL SORTS OF THINGS, HAND SANITIZER, AND ALLOWING AU AUDIENCES TO COME INTO THE THEATER EARLIER SO THERE AREN'T LINES.

ALL SORTS OF THINGS.

WHAT I LOVE ABOUT THIS IS IT IS A GIANT WHITE BOARD RIGHT NOW.

WE NEED TO THROW OUT LOTS OF IDEAS AND FIND THE ONES THAT MAKE THEM COMFORTABLE AND GET THEM COMING BACK.

WE TALK ABOUT THE PHRASE USED ALL THE TIME WHEN TALKING ABOUT THIS SCENARIO, THE LIGHTS WENT OUT ON BROADWAY, THE DOORS WERE SHUTTERED ON BROADWAY, ONCE IT'S TIME TO COME BACK IN WHATEVER FASHION IT'S GOING TO BE, IS IT POSSIBLE TO SIMPLY JUST FLIP THE LIGHT SWITCH, TURN THE LIGHTS BACK ON IN THESE THEATERS, WHAT HAS TO TAKE PLACE, LET'S TALK ABOUT THOSE THAT WERE UP AND RUNNING WHEN THE LIGHTS WENT OUT, IF YOU WILL, WHAT HAS TO HAPPEN FOR THEM TO GET BACK.

IT'S A GOOD QUESTION BECAUSE WE'RE NOT A PENCIL FACTORY, WE JUST SHUT DOWN, THREE MONTHS LATER WE COME BACK AND TURN ON THE LIGHTS AND START MAKING PENCILS.

IT DOESN'T HAPPEN THAT WAY.

WE HAVE TO GO THROUGH SOME REHEARSAL TO GET EVERYONE BACK UP TO SPEED, MAKE SURE OF SAFETY -- IF THERE WASN'T PANDEMIC WE NEED TO GO THROUGH SAFETY PROTOCOL.

NOW WE'VE GONE THROUGH THIS HEALTH CRISIS AND WE HAVE A LOT OF ISSUES TO DEAL WITH ABOUT KEEPING OUR COMPANY SAFE.

NOT ONLY THE AUDIENCE BUT HOW DO WE KEEP THE MUSICIANS SAFE IN THE PITS AN THE ACTORS AND ALL OF THE HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE THAT IT TAKES TO PUT ON A BIG MUSICAL.

SO IT WILL TAKE SOME EFFORT.

BIG MARKETING CAMPAIGNS WILL NEED TO COME BACK, RIGHT.

SO A LOT OF THINGS ARE GOING TO HAPPEN BEFORE WE EVEN TURN THE LIGHTS ON, FROM REHEARSALS TO GETTING THE WORD OUT TO THE CUSTOMERS WE'RE GOING TO BE OUT FOR SEVERAL MONTHS.

THE ENGINE DOESN'T JUST FLIP ON.

WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO GIVE IT A BIG OLD CRANK.

IS THERE A CONCERN THAT SOME SHOWS THAT WERE RUNNING AND MAYBE DOING FAIRLY WELL BEFORE THIS HAPPENED EITHER FOR A NUMBER OF REASONS MAYBE OTHERS HAVE OTHER COMMITMENT NOW IN TERMS OF THE TIME OR THE THEATERS OR WHATEVER ISSUE MIGHT A RISE THAT SOME OF THEM THAT WERE SUCCESSFUL MIGHT NOT COME BACK AT ALL.

YEAH THERE'S ALWAYS A CONCERN AND I THINK THERE'S A BIG UNKNOWN TO THAT.

I DON'T KNOW, FROM WHAT I'M HEARING MOST OF THE SHOWS RIGHT NOW ARE ALL COMING BACK, EXCEPT A COUPLE ANNOYANCED -- ANNOUNCED THEY WEREN'T.

BUT RIGHT NOW SEEMS LIKE EVERYONE'S GEARING UP TO COME BACK.

WHICH IS GREAT AND EXCITING.

IT'S STILL AN UNKNOWN WHEN THINGS GET BACK.

NO ONE KNOWS WHAT WILL LOOK LIKE.

THIS IS WHY FRANKLY WE NEED A LOT OF SUPPORT.

NOT JUST TALKING ABOUT GOVERNMENTAL SUPPORT, BUT I AM.

I WANTED TO ASK YOU THAT TOO ABOUT, IS BROADWAY -- WE TALK ABOUT BROADWAY AS IF IT IS A MONOLITHIC ENTITY, AS YOU SAID IT'S IMPORTANT TO KNOW IT'S A SERIES OF SMALL BUSINESSES, GREAT CHARACTERIZATION YOU USED.

AND YOU ARE ALL ENTREPRENEURS RUNNING THESE SMALL BUSINESSES SO IS THERE ANY HELP EITHER IMMEDIATELY OR ON THE HORIZON FOR THE BROADWAY, THOSE SMALL BUSINESSES FROM EITHER FEDERAL OR STATE GOVERNMENT?

WELL, WE HAVE A LOT OF FAITH IN OUR ELECTED OFFICIALS AND THEY KNOW THAT BROADWAY PROVIDES A HECK OF A LOT OF MONEY TO THE BOTTOM LINE OF THIS CITY, NOT ONLY IN DIRECT TAXES AND ALL OF THE OTHER THINGS, BUT, JUST, OTHER REVENUE, THE ECONOMIC IMPACT OF BROADWAY, WE HIRE A LOT OF PEOPLE, WE BRING A LOT OF PEOPLE TO THIS CITY.

SO THEY CERTAINLY KNOW THAT.

AND THEY'VE BEEN SUPPORTIVE.

SO WE'RE HOPEFUL THEY WILL CONTINUE TO BE AND RECOGNIZE THAT, AND WE'LL SEE.

BROADWAY I BELIEVE IS NOT ONLY ECONOMIC ENGINE BUT IT'S ALSO A SYMBOL, RIGHT, OF THE LITERAL AND FIGURE ATIVE HELP.

SO IT'S TO ALL OF OUR BENEFIT THAT IT COME BACK AND COME BACK STRONG, INCLUDING ALL OF THE LOCALS.

LIKE WE ARE HOPING THAT THE LOCALS COME BACK AND BUY A TICKET TO A SHOW RIGHT AWAY AND THAT THEY GO SEE THEIR FAVORITE SHOW WHEN THEY CAN, WHEN THEY FEEL COMFORTABLE.

IN DOING SO.

BECAUSE THAT'S GOING TO BE IMPORTANT.

BROADWAY'S IMPORTANT.

LAST QUESTION FOR YOU.

I GOT ABOUT A MINUTE HERE FOR THIS.

BUT THE FANS ARE UNDERSTANDABLY STARVED FOR BROADWAY, FOR PLAYS, AND FOR MUSICALS AND FOR EVERYTHING THAT IT GIVES US, WHAT'S A QUICK MESSAGE THAT YOU COULD SEND OUT TO PEOPLE WATCHING THIS WHO ARE IN THAT FAN BASE TO LET THEM WALK AWAY FROM THIS CONVERSATION WITH.

AS YOU SAID AT THE TOP OF THIS, THE SHOW WILL GO ON, IT WILL JUST BE A LITTLE BIT LATER THAN WE WOULD LIKE.

BROADWAY HAS ROLLED OUT A GREAT CAMPAIGN CALLED ONLY INTERMISSION.

THAT'S WHAT WE'RE ON, IT'S ONLY INTERMISSION, WE WILL BE BACK.

OH, THAT'S GREAT.

THE INTERMISSION IS A LITTLE BIT LONGER, SO GOOD NEWS IS YOU HAVE PLENTY OF TIME TO HIT THE RESTROOM, NO RUSH.

WE WILL BE BACK.

AND WE WILL BE BACK AND WILL EVENTUALLY BE BIGGER AND BETTER THAN WE EVER WERE BEFORE.

WE'VE GONE THROUGH SOME MAJOR WORLD EVENTS, THE THEATER, REMEMBER, HAS BEEN AROUND THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS OF YEARS RIGHT, RIGHT.

IT HANT GOING ANYWHERE.

AND GREAT THING IS TO REMIND THEATER GOERS WHY THEY LOVE IT, BECAUSE IT LIFTS SPIRITS.

IT DOES.

AND WE'LL BE READY WITH OPEN ARMS TO LIFT EVERYONE'S SPIRITS WHEN THIS IS ALL OVER.

THAT'S WHAT WE COUNT ON FROM BROADWAY, LEGENDARY BROADWAY PRODUCER, KEN DAVENPORT, WE LOOK FORWARD TO BEING IN THEATER WITH YOU ON THE NEXT PRODUCTION.

LOOK FORWARD TO HAVING YOU.

STAY WELL.

TAKE CARE NOW.

YOU TOO, BYE-BYE.

FOR THE LATEST NEWS ON THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC AND YOUR COMMUNITY VISIT US AT METROFOCUS.ORG, FACEBOOK AND TWITTER.

GOOD NIGHT AND STAY SAFE.

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY JAMES AND MERRYL TISCH, SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, THE SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM, BERNARD AND IRENE SCHWARTZ, ROSALIND P. WALTER, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, AND BY -- ♪ 'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY JAMES AND MERRYL TISCH, SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, THE SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM, BERNARD AND IRENE SCHWARTZ, ROSALIND P. WALTER, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, AND BY -- ♪

©2021 WNET. All Rights Reserved. 825 Eighth Avenue, New York, NY 10019

WNET is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Tax ID: 26-2810489