To Mask, or Not to Mask: The New Masking Policy on Broadway Was Devised at Office

The doctor’s office is where the new masking policy for “The Kite Runner” on Broadway was conceived.

One of the show’s creators, Tracey McFarland, was taking her baby to his theater-loving physician. While the pediatrician expressed interest in seeing the performance, he informed her that he would not be attending if masks were not required, as they are at most Broadway shows today.

McFarland pondered this and came up with the idea of having some performances where masks were mandatory and others where they were optional. She discussed it in the workplace.

McFarland recalled a phone call in which people stated things like “You know, I’ve had friends who have been asking for it,” which was one of the factors that led to the event now requiring masks on Fridays.

“We recently came to the conclusion that there is a sizable untapped market.”Entering their second season following the long pandemic shutdown, arts presenters are still grappling with the dilemma posed by the coronavirus.

They know that some audience members will be discouraged by mask requirements at a time when masks have disappeared from so many other settings, but they also know that others will be reluctant to attend indoor performances if masks are not required. They run the danger of turning off some potential ticket buyers regardless of what they do.

Mask and immunization guidelines that were once agreed upon unanimously when live performance was revived have given birth to a number of different schools of thought. With a few exceptions, on May 1, 2018  Broadway theatres no longer required patrons to show proof of vaccination, and on July 1, 2018 masks were no longer required.

Attendees of “Hamlet” and “The Oresteia” at the Park Avenue Armory this summer, however, were required to wear masks and provide immunization certificates.

This summer, the Public Theater’s Free Shakespeare in the Park event required evidence of immunization at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park but did not need masks for audience members.

Now the Show Will Require a Mask

“We are masking on Fridays,” an usher informed a woman who had made it deep into the theatre without a mask on her face. The lady expressed her regret and produced a mask from her handbag.

A 26-year-old woman from the Bronx named Rina Park said that she and her friends had purchased tickets to see “The Kite Runner” without realizing that masks would be required. A member of their group lives with someone who is immunocompromised, so when they heard the show would require masks, they were relieved.

Thankfully, Ms. Park and her companions have been quite secure. “Even when I’m not outdoors, I always wear my mask.”

The mask-wearing performances of “The Kite Runner” have reportedly been successful thus far, according to the show’s creators.

Victoria Lang, one of the producers, said that so far there doesn’t seem to be any effect on ticket sales from the mask requirement being implemented for select shows.

In any case, the presentation has convinced at least one person to go who otherwise would not have.

On Friday, doctor Dr. Marc Wager, whose refusal to attend a mask-optional performance inspired the producers to mandate masks at some concerts, went to a performance with his mask on. Visit TheActiveNews.com for more informative articles and posts.

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