NEW YORK CITY — All manner of New York City performers could get their long-awaited curtain call from the coronavirus pandemic.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio on Monday separately announced plans to restart live performances in the city.
The initiatives aim to bring back the city’s dormant arts sector through a combination of socially-distant and COVID-19 tested events. Cuomo said they’ll set the stage to eventually reopen Broadway.
“I don’t have a firm timeline for you, but that’s the path we’re headed while we’re watching the infection rate and the hospitalization rate at the same time,” he said.
Cuomo’s plan — NY PopsUp — is a statewide, 100-day festival offering 300 “pop up” events. The events will launch Feb. 20 at the Javits Center and run through Labor Day.
Confirmed performers include Hugh Jackman, Amy Schumer, Alec Baldwin, Chris Rock, Matthew Broderick, Sarah Jessica Parker, Patti Smith, Mandy Patinkin and Billy Porter, according to a release.
There will be a combination of in-person and online events designed to thread the needle between live performance without mass gatherings, Cuomo said.
“They are not designed to be pre-scheduled and draw a crowd because we don’t want a crowd,” he said.
The events will “crescendo” with the Tribeca Film Festival’s 20th anniversary and the opening of Little Island at Pier 55, Cuomo said.
De Blasio’s plan, announced soon after Cuomo’s, riffs off the city’s open restaurant and streets programs.
“Open Culture” offers new single-day permits for arts and cultural institutions and entertainment venues. Once the permit is secured, those venues can hold socially-distant performances at more than 100 street locations across the five boroughs.
De Blasio framed it as part of his “Recovery For All Of Us” campaign unveiled in his final State of the City. The city’s cultural scene serves as its conscience and source of hope, and no recovery would be complete without it, he said.
“Open Culture — bringing culture to the people in the streets of New York City,” he said.
De Blasio on Monday also announced “Curtains Up NYC” — an effort to help qualified venues tap into federal Save Our Stages money.
The federal program offers grants up to $10 million to help struggling live performance venues, organizations and performers during the coronavirus pandemic.
Curtains Up NYC will provide free webinars three times a week over the program and its application process. It also will link up applicants to trained counselors for virtual one-on-one sessions.
The program officially begins Wednesday.