METROFOCUS: March 25, 2021

On March 29th one of the most highly anticipated murder trials in years begins opening arguments on the death of George Floyd. After a process that took more than two weeks, a jury was selected with difficulty, as some potential jurors were dismissed after admitting they could not unsee the video that captured his final moments. Now officer Derek Chauvin who pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck is charged with murder and manslaughter and his fate will be televised on Court TV. The killing drew outrage and a worldwide reckoning on police reform and racial justice as street protests in Minneapolis spread across the nation. With the complete jury selected, there are nine jurors who self-identify as white and six who self-identify as people of color, including four who self-identify as Black. Tonight as a part of our Chasing The Dream initiative, we take a look at what can we expect to hear over the next four weeks and from the 400 witnesses who will be called as well as how the trial will be judged by the nation. Gloria Browne-Marshall, Constitutional Law Professor at New York City’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Civil Rights Attorney and author of “She Took Justice: The Black Woman, Law, and Power – 1619 to 1969” join us.

It’s now been over a year since theater doors were shuttered because of the coronavirus- making this the longest shutdown in Broadway’s storied history. And the effects have been devasting for all those who work in and around the theater district, as well as for New York City as a whole. But as the State begins to ease lockdowns and present guidelines to safely open more public spaces for the first time in months, there is hope on the Great White Way. Broadway League President Charlotte St. Martin joins us in advance of this World Theater Day weekend to discuss the impact this shutdown has had on the theater community and her hopes for when and how Broadway theaters can reopen safely.

TRANSCRIPT

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

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM.

THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND.

BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION AND BY -- JANET PRINDLE SEIDLER, JODY AND JOHN ARNHOLD, CHERYL AND PHILIP MILSTEIN FAMILY, JUDY AND JOSH WESTON, AND THE DR. ROBERT C.

AND TINA SOHN FOUNDATION, THE JPB FOUNDATION.

> GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

I'M JACK FORD.

THE JURY HAS BEEN SELECTED, OPENING ARGUMENTS SCHEDULED TO GIVE NEXT WEEK IN ONE OF THE MORE HIGHLY-ANTICIPATED CRIMINAL TRIALS IN RECENT HISTORY.

IT HAS BEEN 10 MONTHS SINCE GEORGE FLOYD'S DEATH IN POLICE CUSTODY IN MINNEAPOLIS.

THAT'S WHEN VIDEO OF THEN-MINNEAPOLIS POLICE OFFICER DEREK CHAUVIN WITH HIS KNEE ON THE NECK OF GEORGE FLOYD FOR NEARLY 10 MINUTES PARKED NATIONWIDE PROTEST.

NOW THE CASE IS GOING TO BE HEARD IN A CRIMINAL COURT, WITH CHAUVIN FACING MANSLAUGHTER AND MURDER CHARGES.

WHAT CAN WE EXPECT FROM THE PROSECUTION AND THE DEFENSE AS THIS TRIAL UNWINDS?

JOINING US TONIGHT TO HELP US WITH A PREVIEW, WE'RE DELIGHTED TO HAVE WITH US GLORIA BROWNE-MARSHALL, A PROFESSOR OF CONSTITUTIONAL LAW AT JOHN JAY COLLEGE, ALSO A CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY AND THE AUTHOR OF A NUMBER OF BOOKS, MOST RECENTLY CALLED 'SHE TOOK JUSTICE, THE BLACK WOMAN LAW AND POWER.'

THIS CONVERSATION IS PART OF OUR ONGOING 'CHASING THE DREAM' INITIATIVE ON POVERTY, JUSTICE AND ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY.

GLORIA, WELCOME TO YOU.

THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.

THANK YOU.

LET'S START WITH, I THINK, SOMETHING THAT MIGHT BE A BIT OF A MISPERCEPTION.

I MENTIONED THE JURY HAS BEEN SELECTED.

ABOUT THREE WEEKS, AS THEY THOUGHT, A LOT OF QUESTIONING OF A LOT OF POTENTIAL JURORS.

ENDED UP WITH 15 JURORS, 12 REGULAR SEATED, TWO ALTERNATES AND AN ADDITIONAL ONE THEY'RE GOING TO HOLD UNTIL THEY'RE READY TO START ON MONDAY JUST IN CASE THERE'S SOME SORT OF PROBLEM WITH ONE OF THE JURORS.

NOW, FOLKS MIGHT BE SURPRISED WHEN THEY LEARN THAT OF THAT GROUP, ONLY ONE SAID THEY HAD NOT SEEN ANY PORTION OF THAT VIDEO OF THEN-OFFICER DEREK CHAUVIN WITH HIS KNEE ON GEORGE FLOYD'S HEAD.

EXPLAIN TO US, IF YOU WOULD, WHY IS IT OKAY FOR YOU TO BE ABLE TO SIT AS A JUROR IN THIS CASE WHEN ALL BUT ONE SAID, YEAH, I'VE SEEN AT LEAST SOME PORTION OF THAT VIDEO?

GIVEN THE WORLD WIDE PHENOMENON THAT IS THE PROTEST AROUND GEORGE FLOYD'S DEATH, THAT PEOPLE AREN'T FAMILIAR WITH THE VIDEO EVEN THE ONE PERSON WHO DIDN'T SEE THE COMPLETE VIDEO SAW PHOTOS.

SO IT WOULD BE ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE.

THE DEFENSE ASKED FOR A CHANGE OF VENUE BASED ON THE SETTLEMENT AND BASED ON THE VIDEOS, AND THE JUDGE SAID IT WOULD BE IMPOSSIBLE TO GO SOMEWHERE AND FIND A JURY WHO HADN'T HAD SOME TYPE OF EXPERIENCE WITH THE VIDEO AND WITH THE PROTESTS.

IT'S A MATTER OF HOW HAD THAT VIDEO ACTUALLY AFFECTED THAT PERSON BECOMES THE QUESTION, NOT WHETHER OR NOT THEY'VE SEEN IT.

SO IF I WAS A POTENTIAL JUROR AND I SAID, OKAY, I SAW THE VIDEO AND I HAVE MADE UP MY MIND ON THIS, WOULD THAT GET ME ESSENTIALLY OFF AND NOT BE CONSIDERED AS OPPOSED TO SAYING, I'VE SEEN THE VIDEO, BUT I'M PERFECTLY WILLING TO LISTEN TO BOTH SIDES HERE?

YES, I THINK THAT IS WHAT IT COMES DOWN TO.

WE ARE NOT WITHOUT PREJUDICES AND BIASES AND NOT LIVING YOU SHOULD A RUNDER A ROCK.

YOU DON'T WANT A JUROR THAT LIVES UNDER A ROCK ANYWAY.

ARE YOU WILLING TO LISTEN TO THE JUDGE'S RULINGS AND APPLICATION OF EVIDENCE AND MAKE UP YOUR MIND IN A FAIR AND UNBIASSED WAY, THAT'S WHAT BOTH SIDES ARE LOOKING FOR IN THIS CASE.

I SUSPECT SOME PEOPLE ARE SURPRISED AT THE FACT THAT THERE ARE GOING TO BE TWO TRIALS HERE, THE FIRST GOING FORWARD AGAINST DEREK CHAUVIN, THE OTHERS GOING FORWARD SOME MONTHS DOWN THE ROAD, THE OTHER POLICE OFFICERS WHO WERE PRESENT AT THE TIME.

WHY IS IT DO YOU THINK THAT YOU'RE SEEING THE PROSECUTION SAY, WE WANT TO FOCUS ON DEREK CHAUVIN FIRST, AND THEN WE'LL GET TO THE OTHER DEFENDANTS?

YOU HAVE TO FIGURE OUT HOW YOU'RE GOING TO USE YOUR POWER.

WHAT'S THE BEST POWER PLAY HERE?

IS IT BETTER TO GO FOR THE BIG GUN AND THEN, IF YOU TAKE HIM DOWN, YOU CAN SAY, WELL, IF YOU'RE AIDING AND ABETTING, WHICH IS WHAT THE OTHER OFFICERS ARE CHARGED WITH, AND THERE'S NO CRIME TO AID AND ABET BECAUSE THE PERSON HAS BEEN ACQUITTED, THEN YOU CAN SAY HOW CAN WE BE CONVICTED OF A CRIME THAT SOMEONE ELSE ACTUALLY PLAYED A MAJOR ROLE IN.

IT UNDERMINES THAT SENSE OF GUILTY BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT.

YOU LOOK FOR WHERE YOU CAN CHIP AWAY AT THIS SEASON OF GUILTY SO THAT YOU CAN BRING IN THAT REASONABLE DOUBT THAT THE DEFENSE COUNSEL WANTS THE JURIES TO FEEL.

LET ME ASK YOUR OPINION.

I'M NOT SURE AT THIS JUNCTURE I KNOW WHAT I'D DO IF I WAS A DEFENSE ATTORNEY AND I'VE PROSECUTED AND DEFENDED A DOZEN MURDER CASES, INCLUDING DEATH PENALTY CASES.

WOULD WE BE BETTER OFF BEING TRIED WITH DEREK CHAUVIN, OR ARE WE BETTER OFF BEING TRIED SEPARATE AND DISTINCT FROM HIM?

I CAN SEE ARGUMENTS OF BOTH SIDES TOO, BUT ON THE ONE SIDE THE DEFENSE COUNSEL FOR THE OTHER OFFICERS ARE SAYING, WE'RE GOING TO BE IN HIS SHADOW, WHAT PEOPLE SHE OF HIM THEY'RE GOING TO THINK OF US.

AND IF WE CAN LOOK AT OURSELVES AS ROOKIE COPS, WHICH THEY WERE, THEY'RE YOUNG, INEXPERIENCED AND BEING DRAGGED INTO A SITUATION BEYOND THEIR CONTROL, THE WAY THEY'RE GOING TO BE LOOKED AT WILL BE DIFFERENTLY IF THEY'RE TRIED SEPARATELY THAN IF THEY'VE TRIED WITH THIS PERSON AND WHATEVER MISDEEDS HE'S DONE WILL REFLECT BADLY ON THOSE OTHER OFFICERS.

ON THE ONE HAND, THE ARGUMENTS ARE GOING TO BE SOMEWHAT SIMILAR, BUT THE WAY YOU LOOK AT THOSE ROOKIE OFFICERS WILL BE DIFFERENT ESPECIALLY WITH THE DEFENSE COUNSEL WOULD WANT THE JURY TO SEE THEM DIFFERENTLY, AS YOUNG AND INEXPERIENCED AND IN OVER THEIR HEADS AS OPPOSED TO HOW DEREK CHAUVIN WILL BE VIEWED ONCE THE PROSECUTOR GETS INVOLVED IN THE CASE.

SAYING ESSENTIALLY THAT WAS HIM, WE'RE DIFFERENT.

THAT'S AN EXCELLENT POINT.

IT BRINGS UP ANOTHER THING.

SO THIS VIDEO IS SO POWERFUL AND SO DISTRESSING IN SO MANY WAYS.

WE TALKED ABOUT HOW AND WE SAW HOW IT SPARKED SO MANY PROTESTS.

I SUSPECT A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO ARE LOOKING AT THIS FROM WITHOUT ARE GOING TO SAY, OKAY, THEY'VE GOT THE VIDEO.

WHAT KIND OF DEFENSE CAN THERE POSSIBLY BE HERE?

THE PROSECUTION HAS THE VIDEO, THIS IS SORT OF AN OPEN-AND-SHUT SLAM DUNK CASE.

IS THAT SO?

NO.

IN THIS COUNTRY IT'S BEEN STATED THAT OVER A THOUSAND PEOPLE DIE AT THE HANDS OF POLICE EVERY YEAR.

THERE ARE SO VERY FEW PROSECUTIONS, SO POLICE OFFICERS RARELY HAVE TO SHOW OR TELL WHY THEY FEARED FOR THEIR LIVES.

AND SO WE DON'T KNOW, BUT WE ASSUME IN THIS SOCIETY THAT POLICE OFFICERS ARE ALWAYS ACTING AND WHEN THEY DO TAKE A LIFE BECAUSE SOMEONE HAS THREATENED THEIR LIFE.

WE'VE HAD VIDEOS IN RODNEY KING, TAMIR RICE AND WALTER SCOTT AND FI CASTILE.

THERE'S GOING TO BE THIS ARGUMENT, WE DON'T KNOW WHAT HAPPENED BEFORE THE VIDEO.

SO YOU CAN'T ASSUME THAT THE OFFICER DIDN'T FEAR FOR HIS LIFE OR THAT THERE WAS SOMETHING THAT GEORGE FLOYD WAS DOING OR CAPABLE OF DOING DURING THAT TIME PERIOD THAT WE ONLY SAW THE PART AT THE END.

SO I'M SURE THE DEFENSE COUNSEL WILL BRING INTO ACCOUNT ERRATIC BEHAVIOR AND TRY TO RAISE THE ACTIONS OF GEORGE FLOYD TO MAKE IT APPEAR AS THOUGH THE POLICE OFFICER CHAUVIN WAS REASONABLE IN HOLDING HIM DOWN DURING THAT TIME PERIOD.

SO TWO THINGS.

ONE, THE GLOSS ON POLICING GIVES THEM THE KIND OF CELEBRATED, RAISED CREDIBILITY THAT THE AVERAGE PERSON DOESN'T HAVE.

TWO, THEY'D SAY THE VIDEO BEGAN AT A CERTAIN TIME AND WE DON'T KNOW WHAT HAPPENED BEFORE THAT.

ONCE AGAIN, WE'RE TALKING WITH GLORIA BROWNE-MARSHALL, A CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY, PROFESSOR ABOUT THE UPCOMING TRIAL OF THE DEATH OF GEORGE FLOYD AND THE TRIAL OF FORMER MINNEAPOLIS POLICE OFFICER DEREK CHAUVIN.

WERE YOU SURPRISED BY THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE SETTLEMENT OF THE CIVIL SUIT, THE $27 MILLION SETTLEMENT OF THE CIVIL SUIT BEING ANNOUNCED ESSENTIALLY WHEN THEY'RE IN THE MIDST OF PICKING THE JURY.

WHY DID THE DEFENSE SAY THAT WAS A PROBLEM HERE?

WELL, IT HAPPENED QUICKLY IN BR BREONNA TAYLOR'S CASE AND NOW IT'S SET A PRECEDENT IN WHICH SETTLEMENTS COME BEFORE THE CRIMINAL TRIAL.

USUALLY IN THE PAST THEY'D SAY, LET'S WAIT UNTIL THE CRIMINAL TRIAL IS OVER BECAUSE YOU HAVE A CONVICTION, THAT COULD CERTAINLY UP THE DAMAGES LEVEL.

OR EVEN ALLOW FOR DAMAGES.

I MEAN, THERE ARE CASES WHERE THERE'S AN ACQUITTAL AND THE CITY IS SAYING, WHY SHOULD WE PAY ANYTHING BECAUSE WE'RE GOING TO DO WHAT WE CAN DO TO CHANGE POLICY, BUT WITHOUT A CRIMINAL CONVICTION, WE DON'T HAVE THE BURDEN ANYMORE TO PAY A PENNY.

SO I CAN SEE WHY THE DEFENSE COUNSEL WOULD SAY, WELL, THIS HAS TAINTED THE JURY.

AND THERE WERE TWO JURORS WHO SAID THAT KNOWLEDGE OF THAT $27 MILLION SETTLEMENT DID CHANGE THEIR MINDS ABOUT THE CASE AND THOSE TWO POTENTIAL JURORS WERE TAKEN OFF.

SO I DO THINK THE DEFENSE HAD A REASONABLE ARGUMENT TO MAKE.

ANY DEFENSE WOULD MAKE THAT REASONABLE ARGUMENT THAT THE JURY WAS TAINTED BY KNOWLEDGE OF A SETTLEMENT, BECAUSE THE SETTLEMENT IS SAYING THERE WAS WRONGDOING.

EVEN THOUGH THEY'RE SAYING THERE WASN'T WRONGDOING, BUT WE KNOW THE CITY ISN'T PAYING OUT OF THE KINDNESS OF THEIR HEART.

IT COULD PERSUADE JURORS TO BELIEVE THAT THESE PEOPLE HAD DONE SOMETHING WRONG OR THE CITY WOULD HAVE NEVER PAID OUT THE MONEY IN DAMAGES.

WHY DO YOU THINK?

AND THIS IS PROBABLY THE LAST QUESTION.

WE HAVE ABOUT TWO MINUTES HERE.

WHY DO YOU THINK FROM THE PROSECUTOR'S PERSPECTIVE THEY ARGUED SO STRONGLY TO GIVE THEM A VARIETY OF CHARGES TO DEAL WITH?

THEY HAVE MANSLAUGHTER, WHICH MEANS ENGAGING IN RECKLESS CONDUCT IN WHICH YOU SHOULD HAVE REALIZED COULD KILL SOMEBODY, THEN YOU HAVE MURDER THREE, WHICH IS YOU DIDN'T INTEND TO HURT SOMEBODY.

WHY WOULD THE PROSECUTION WANT SO MANY OPTIONS FOR THE JURY?

IT'S SO RARE TO BRING AN OFFICER INTO THE COURTROOM AND HAVE THEIR SIDE EXPLAINED.

OF COURSE, THE OFFICER DOES NOT HAVE TO TESTIFY.

BUT TO PUT ON EVIDENCE THAT THE OFFICER DID IN SOME WAY CONTRIBUTE IS WHAT THE PROSECUTOR IS GOING TO HAVE TO PROVE TO A REASONABLE DOUBT.

WAS THE OFFICER ACTING RECKLESSLY TO THE POINT OF ALMOST KNOWING THIS WAS GOING TO BE THE RESULT IF YOU CONTINUE TO ACT IN THIS WAY, THIS IS TAKING IT UP TO BEYOND MANSLAUGHTER TO MURDER.

IT'S SO DIFFICULT TO CONVICT AN OFFICER.

I'M SURE THIS PROSECUTION HAS SEEN IN THE PAST THAT THESE OFFICERS HAVE WALKED WHEN THEY'VE TRIED TO GO FOR THE TYPE OF CHARGES THAT YOU WOULD SEE IN A CIVILIAN CASE THAT THEY'RE TRYING TO HEDGE THEIR BETS TO MAKE SURE THAT THERE IS THE HIGHER POSSIBILITY OR PROBABILITY THAT THE JURORS WILL FIND THIS OFFICER GUILTY.

IT IS VERY DIFFICULT TO CONVICT AN OFFICER.

THE GLOSS OR CELEBRITY AROUND POLICING RIGHT NOW IS SO HIGH THAT I THINK THIS PROSECUTOR IS DOING THE RIGHT THING BY ADDING MANSLAUGHTER.

ONE LAST THING QUICKLY.

FROM YOUR PERSPECTIVE AS SOMEBODY WHO IS A WRITER, A PROFESSOR, A CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY, WERE YOU BOTH SURPRISED AND PLEASED ON THE DECISION THAT SAYS WE'RE GOING TO BROADCAST THIS TRIAL, WE'RE GOING TO PUT CAMERAS AND LET PEOPLE SEE WHAT HAPPENS INSIDE THIS COURTROOM?

I THINK WHAT HAPPENED WITH BREONNA TAYLOR CONTINUED TO UNDERMINE THE TRUST WE HAVE IN CRIMINAL JUSTICE AND POLICING.

THERE'S A NEED FOR CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM.

THE PROSECUTORS' OFFICES ARE NOT TRUSTED ANYMORE.

THAT'S DULY SO BECAUSE THEY HAVE TURNED THEIR BACKS ON JUSTICE TOO MANY TIMES WHEN IT COMES TO PROSECUTORS.

THERE ARE VERY GOOD PROSECUTORS, BUT I THINK IN ORDER TO MAINTAIN THAT TRUST THAT WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO HAVE A CAMERA IN THAT COURTROOM.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR SPENDING TIME WITH US.

YOU'VE BEEN SO HELPFUL IN HELPS US UNDERSTAND AND APPRECIATE WHAT'S GOING ON HERE.

YOU BE WELL NOW.

> GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

I'M JACK FORD.

IT HAS NOW BEEN OVER A YEAR SINCE THE LIGHTS WENT OUT ON BROADWAY.

THEATER DOORS HAVE BEEN SHUTTERED SINCE MARCH OF 2020 DUE TO THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC, MAKING THIS THE LONGEST SHUTDOWN IN BROADWAY'S STORIED HISTORY.

NOW AS NEW YORK STATE BEGINS TO EASE LOCKDOWNS AND PROVIDE GUIDELINES TO SAFELY REOPEN VENUES FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MONTHS, THERE IS SOME HOPE ON THE GREAT WHITE WAY.

JOINING ME NOW TO DISCUSS COVID-19'S IMPACT ON THE BROADWAY THEATER DISTRICT, ON THE ECONOMY AND ALSO BROADWAY'S PLANS TO REOPEN SAFELY IS PRESIDENT OF THE BROADWAY LEAGUE CHARLOTTE ST. MARTIN.

CHARLOTTE, WELCOME.

GOOD TO HAVE YOU BACK WITH US.

IT'S GREAT TO BE BACK, JACK.

BEFORE WE TALK ABOUT MOVING FORWARD, LET ME TALK ABOUT THE IMPACT HERE.

IT HAS BEEN EXTRAORDINARY.

LET'S START WITH THE IMPACT ON THE INDUSTRY, ON THE BROADWAY INDUSTRY, THOSE WHO ARE EMPLOYED BY THE BROADWAY INDUSTRY.

HOW CAN YOU CHARACTERIZE IT FOR US?

IT'S BEEN NOTHING SHORT OF DYNAMIC LOSS.

THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE THAT HAVE BEEN UNEMPLOYED IS JUST STAGGERING.

WE'VE NEVER HAD A TIME IN HISTORY WHERE THAT WAS THE CASE FOR THIS INDUSTRY.

THE ESTIMATES ARE BETWEEN 60 AND 70%. PEOPLE HAVE LEFT NEW YORK AND MOVED HOME SO THEY COULD LIVE WITH FAMILY IF THEY COULD NOT FIND WORK.

UNFORTUNATELY WITH THEATER, AN AWFUL LOT OF PEOPLE WHO DON'T GET JOBS CAN THEN GO WORK IN THE HOSPITALITY OR RESTAURANT BUSINESS AND THAT'S BEEN DECIMATED AS WELL.

SO IT'S BEEN NOTHING SHORT OF DISAS DISASTROUS.

I SAW AN ARTICLE TALKING ABOUT FOCUSED ON ONE PRODUCTION AND SOME OF THE PEOPLE THERE AND WHAT'S HAPPENED TO THEM.

I WAS STRUCK BY HOW MANY OF THEM SAID, I DON'T KNOW THAT I'LL EVER BE ABLE TO GO BACK TO BROADWAY AGAIN.

HOW CONCERNED ARE ALL OF YOU THAT NOT ONLY HAVE YOU LOST PEOPLE, BUT YOU MIGHT HAVE LOST THEM FOREVER?

WELL, I MEAN, WE REALLY WON'T KNOW UNTIL WE'RE BACK AND WE TRY TO GET THOSE 31 SHOWS THAT HAVE SAID THEY'LL BE BACK, PLUS THE NEW SHOWS.

WHAT I DO KNOW ABOUT OUR PEOPLE IS, THEY REALLY ARE ADDICTED TO THEATER.

IT IS IN THEIR HEART, THEIR SOUL.

SOMETHING TELLS ME THEY'LL BE BACK.

I MEAN THAT PHRASE 'THE SHOW MUST GO ON' IS REAL IN OUR PEOPLE'S LIVES.

CERTAINLY THAT ADDICTION TO THEATER IS A BLESSING FOR ALL OF US TO HAVE THEM THERE.

YOU'VE GOT A GREAT BACKDROP HERE.

I KNOW YOU ARE NOT ANYWHERE NEAR A BEACH, BUT YOU CAN TELL THEATER PEOPLE.

I'M GOING TO MAKE THIS BACKDROP LOOK GOOD FOR EVERYBODY.

IT'S HARD TO COME UP WITH EXACT NUMBERS, BUT THERE'S SOME PRETTY SIGNIFICANT NUMBERS IN TERMS OF WHAT THIS HAS MEANT TO THE LOSS NOT JUST OF BROADWAY, BUT TO THE BUSINESSES IN THE AREA, TO NEW YORK CITY IN GENERAL.

ONE OF THE THINGS THAT THE BROADWAY LEAGUE DOES IS, WE DO AN ENORMOUS AMOUNT OF RESEARCH ON THE DEMOGRAPHICS, ON OUR ECONOMY.

SO WE HAVE EXCELLENT INFORMATION.

OUR LAST FULL YEAR OF OPERATION THE ECONOMIC IMPACT REFLECTED FOR NEW YORK CITY WAS ALMOST $15 BILLION.

IT WAS $14.7 BILLION.

AND IT REFLECTS THAT WE'VE DIRECTLY EMPLOY OR ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR 97,000 JOBS IN NEW YORK CITY ALONE.

SO THAT'S REAL IMPACT.

WE PAY OVER A BILLION DOLLARS IN TAXES TO NEW YORK CITY AND NEW YORK STATE.

SO THE ECONOMIC IMPACT IS HARD ON EVERYONE, INCLUDING OUR CITY AND STATE.

AS WE TALK ABOUT MOVING FORWARD, I DO WANT TO MENTION TO YOU THE POPUPS WE'VE SEEN TAKING PLACE IN NEW YORK.

I HAVEN'T BEEN IN THE CITY AT ALL, BUT I'VE SEEN THEM ON THE NEWS.

THEY JUST LOOK LIKE THEY ARE SUCH A MOMENT OF SALVATION FOR PEOPLE IN THE CITY.

HOW DID THE IDEA FOR THAT COME ABOUT, AND HOW DO YOU PUT THEM TOGETHER?

ACTUALLY, I THINK THIS WAS THE GOVERNOR'S IDEA, AND I THINK IN THE BEGINNING HE HAD NO IDEA OF HOW MUCH PEOPLE MISSED THEIR ENTERTAINMENT AND ESPECIALLY THEATER AND THE ARTS.

SCOTT RUDEN AND JANE ROSENTHAL WERE TAPPED TO DO OVER 300 POPUPS BEFORE LABOR DAY.

THEY ARE REALLY BUSY.

I THINK THE WHOLE POINT OF THEM IS TO REMIND PEOPLE THAT WE'RE GOING TO GET BACK TO LIFE AS NORMAL AT SOME POINT AND TO GIVE THEM AN APPETITE FOR RETURNING.

SO TALKING ABOUT GETTING BACK TO NORMAL AT SOME POINT, I AM SURE YOU ARE CONSTANTLY BESIEGED -- AND I'M GOING TO JOIN THE CHORUS HERE -- BY PEOPLE SAYING, OKAY, WHEN?

OBVIOUSLY THIS IS FAIRLY INEXACT IN TERMS OF THESE ESTIMATES HERE, BUT WHEN WOULD YOU THINK THAT PERHAPS YOU'RE GOING TO SEE SHOWS AND PRODUCTIONS OPENING UP IN BROADWAY THEATERS?

WELL, RIGHT NOW WE'RE CAUTIOUSLY OPTIMISTIC THAT EARLY FALL IS THE TIME WHEN WE WILL START TO SEE THE CURTAINS RISE AGAIN.

DR. FAUCI ACTUALLY SAID ABOUT A MONTH AGO THAT IF THINGS CONTINUED AT THE CURRENT PACE, MEANING, THE INCIDENCE RATE GOING DOWN AND THE VACCINE RATE GOING UP, THAT IT WAS VERY POSSIBLE FOR THEATER TO OPEN IN THE FALL OF 2021.

AND SO FAR IN NEW YORK CITY BOTH OF THOSE THINGS ARE GOING ALONG THE LINES THAT HE TALKED ABOUT.

NOBODY DROPPED A CRYSTAL BALL ON MY DOORSTEP YESTERDAY, SO I CAN'T REALLY SAY AND IT REALLY DOES DEPEND UPON THE GOVERNOR AND THE SCIENTISTS AND DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH THAT SAY, OKAY, THIS LOOKS LIKE WE CAN DO THIS.

BECAUSE AS I'VE SAID, WE CANNOT SOCIALLY DISTANCE.

IT JUST DOESN'T WORK FOR US.

SO BASICALLY EVERYTHING HAS TO BE RIGHT, BECAUSE WE WILL NOT RETURN UNTIL WE ARE ASSURED THAT OUR AUDIENCE, OUR CAST AND OUR CREW IS SAFE.

ONCE AGAIN WE'RE TALKING WITH CHARLOTTE ST. MARTIN, WHO IS THE PRESIDENT OF THE BROADWAY LEAGUE, ABOUT PLANS FOR BROADWAY MOVING FORWARD.

WE'RE HEARING THE SUGGESTION THAT VENUES CAN OPEN WITH A CERTAIN PERCENTAGE OF SEATS, IF YOU WILL.

WE SAW THE NFL SEASON TAKE PLACE WITH SMALL NUMBERS OF FOLKS IN THE STADIUMS.

RIGHT NOW AS YOU AND I ARE SPEAKING THE NCAA TOURNAMENT IS TAKING PLACE WITH A SMALLER PERCENTAGE OF PEOPLE IN THESE BUILDINGS.

BUT THAT'S A DIFFERENT BUSINESS MODEL.

THEY MAKE THEIR MONEY FROM TELEVISION.

SO IS THERE A PERCENTAGE THAT PEOPLE SAY, OKAY, 40, 50% FOR MOVIE THEATERS, THAT'S GREAT.

WHAT ABOUT FOR BROADWAY THEATERS?

WHAT DO YOU NEED IN THE SEATS FOR YOU TO EXIST?

OF COURSE, THERE'S NO EXACT SCIENCE, BECAUSE TWO SHOWS THAT HAVE TWO ACTORS AND SOME SHOWS THAT HAVE 60 AND AN ORCHESTRA.

BUT THE AVERAGE RULE OF THUMB THAT WE SAY WE NEED IS 75% OF THE SEATS IN OUR THEATERS TO BE FILLED.

SOME SHOWS NEED 90%, THEY'RE SUCH EXPENSIVE PRODUCTIONS.

I MEAN, IT'S NOT UNCOMMON FOR 300-400 PEOPLE TO BE INVOLVED IN PUTTING ON A SHOW.

THOSE PEOPLE ARE THE BEST THEATRICAL EMPLOYEES IN THE WORLD, BUT THEY'RE ALSO THE MOST EXPENSIVE.

SO WE CAN'T DO AT 30%. PEOPLE SAY, WELL, WHAT IF YOU DID 30%? I SAY, THE SHOWS WOULD CLOSE IN A WEEK OR TWO, AND WE DON'T WANT THAT EITHER.

WHEN YOU AND I LAST SPOKE A NUMBER OF MONTHS AGO, YOU HAD AN INTERESTING ANSWER TO THE QUESTION I POSED ABOUT GETTING PEOPLE BACK INTO THE THEATERS.

YOU SAID THEN, IT'S NOT A FUNCTION OF WHAT THE GOVERNMENT MIGHT SAY THE NUMBERS ARE, IT'S A FUNCTION OF WHEN THE THEATER-GOERS WILL BE COMFORTABLE COMING BACK INTO THESE THEATERS.

WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU ALL ARE GOING TO HAVE TO DO TO HELP MAKE ENOUGH OF THE THEATER-GOERS COMFORTABLE THAT THEY WILL SAY, ALL RIGHT, I'M READY, I'M READY TO COME BACK IN AND SIT DOWN IN THIS THEATER AND WATCH A PRODUCTION?

WELL, I THINK IT WILL BE A NUMBER OF THINGS.

WE'LL CERTAINLY HAVE SOME VISIBLE CHANGES.

I THINK THEATER-GOERS SHOULD EXPECT MASKS.

THEY SHOULD EXPECT SOME CONTACTLESS SERVICES, WHETHER IT'S TICKETING OR RESTROOMS OR THE REFRESHMENT STAND.

I THINK WE'LL BE LOOKING AT POTENTIALLY DIFFERENT INGRESS AND REAGGRESGRESS TO THE THEATE.

AND WE DON'T KNOW YET ABOUT A FEW THINGS, BECAUSE THE SCIENTISTS DON'T KNOW YET, SO WE DON'T KNOW YET.

I THINK PEOPLE WILL HAVE TO HEAR THAT OTHERS WENT TO THE THEATER, HAD A GREAT TIME AND DIDN'T GET SICK TWO WEEKS LATER.

AND WORD OF MOUTH HAS ALWAYS BEEN THE BEST FORM OF ADVERTISING FOR THEATER, AND WE BELIEVE IT WILL BE THE SAME THING FOR WHEN WE RETURN.

WE'RE HEARING A LOT OF CONVERSATION AMONGST PEOPLE IN THE TRAVEL INDUSTRY, THE HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY, THE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY ABOUT THIS IDEA OF UTILIZING PROOF OF VACCINATIONS IN SOME FASHION TO GET PEOPLE IN THE DOORS AND MAYBE AT ONE POINT MAKE THE PEOPLE, EVERYBODY AROUND EVERYBODY ELSE, IF YOU WOULD, COMFORTABLE.

ARE YOU CONSIDERING THAT AS A POSSIBILITY?

WELL, THERE'S BEEN SOME CONVERSATION IN THE STATE ABOUT A PASSPORT.

I THINK VERY EARLY IN THESE CONVERSATIONS I SUGGESTED THAT PEOPLE HAVE A CERTIFICATE THAT SAID THEY'D EITHER BEEN TESTED IN THE LAST COUPLE OF DAYS OR THEY HAD BEEN FULLY VACCINATED.

I STILL BELIEVE THAT WILL BE A VERY POWERFUL THING TO HAPPEN, BUT WE'RE CERTAINLY NOT CAPABLE OF MAKING THAT HAPPEN ON OUR OWN.

IT HAS TO BE A CITY OR A STATE-DRIVEN ACTIVITY.

AND WE HEAR THAT THERE ARE POSSIBILITIES THAT THAT COULD HAPPEN AND WILL HAPPEN.

LAST QUESTION FOR YOU.

I'VE GOT A LITTLE BIT LESS THAN 2 MINUTES HERE.

THIS WILL BE THE GREAT TEASER FOR BROADWAY COMING BACK.

YOU MENTIONS THERE ARE A LOT OF SHOWS THAT HAVE COMMITTED SAYING, WE'RE COMING BACK.

GIVE ME AN IDEA OF HOW MANY HAVE SAID THAT AND SOME OF THE ONES WE MIGHT RECOGNIZE THAT ARE INDEED COMMITTED TO COMING BACK.

GOODNESS, YES.

EVERY SHOW VIRNL LYVIRTUALLY HA COMMITTED TO COME BACK WHETHER IT'S 'LION KING' OR 'WICKED' OR 'PHANTOM OF THE OPERA' OR THE REVIVAL OF 'WEST SIDE STORY' OR 'BOOK OF MORMAN.'

FORTUNATELY THE BILL THAT WAS JUST APPROVED IN CONGRESS IS GOING TO GIVE A LITTLE RELIEF FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THE HISTORY TO BROADWAY, WHICH WILL HELP US GET OPEN AND STAY OPEN FOR A COUPLE MONTHS.

LAST QUESTION, I'LL MAKE THIS THE LAST QUESTION, REAL QUICK.

HAVE YOU BEEN SURPRISED THAT SO MANY OF THE THEATERS HAVE SAID, YEP, WE'RE ALL IN, WE'LL GET THROUGH THIS AND WE'RE COMING BACK AGAIN?

NOT A THING ABOUT THAT SURPRISES ME.

THESE PEOPLE HAVE A PASSION FOR THEIR CRAFT THAT IS UNLIKE ANY CRAFT I HAVE EVER KNOWN.

WE WILL BE BACK.

AND I THINK WE'LL BE BACK STRONGER THAN EVER.

THE PINUP DEMAND IS UNBELIEVABLE.

I CAN PROMISE YOU WHEN THE DOORS OPEN, MY WIFE AND I WILL BE THERE, WEARING MASKS, HAVING BEEN VACCINATED, WE WILL BE THERE.

ONCE AGAIN, CHARLOTTE ST.

MARTIN, PRESIDENT OF THE BROADWAY LEAGUE, IT'S SO GOOD TO TALK WITH YOU AND HEAR SOME OPTIMISTIC THOUGHTS ABOUT WHAT'S HAPPENING ON BROADWAY.

YOU STAY WELL.

THANK YOU, JACK.

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM.

THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND.

BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION AND BY -- JANET PRINDLE SEIDLER, JODY AND JOHN ARNHOLD, CHERYL AND PHILIP MILSTEIN FAMILY, JUDY AND JOSH WESTON, AND THE DR. ROBERT C.

AND TINA SOHN FOUNDATION, THE JPB FOUNDATION.

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, The Peter G. Peterson and Joan Ganz Cooney Fund, Bernard and Denise Schwartz, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, The Ambrose Monell Foundation, Janet Prindle Seidler, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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