New York

Broadway Reopening Means Back To Work For Thousands Of New Yorkers: ‘All Of Us… Missed This So Much’

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Broadway shutdown wasn’t only a big blow to New York City’s tourist dollars, it also impacted tens of thousands of workers.

The industry supports nearly 97,000 jobs across the city. From actors to ushers, they have been living in uncertainty.

READ MORE: Broadway’s Reopening Is More Than Just Good News For Audiences: It Brings Big Business And Economic Impact

As CBS2’s Dave Carlin reported, everyone in the theater was jazzed when “Chicago,” which has been glittery and grinding on Broadway since 1996, returned like it never missed a beat.

Production families are being reunited across the Theater District, catching up and bringing back the “razzle dazzle” for audiences.

Big names like Jackman, Lupone, Rashad and Byrne get theatergoers’ attention. But in smaller print on the playbills are the unsung heroes — tech wizards, stage managers, ushers, box office, security people and many more.

“I am the associate choreographer for ‘Chicago’ the musical,” Gregory Butler told Carlin.

For years, Butler was in Chicago’s cast. Now behind the scenes, he makes sure every kick, finger snap and hip thrust are in true Fosse fashion.

“All of us, myself included, missed this so much,” he said. “This gift to do this on this level, not everybody gets to do this on this level.”

Web Extra: Reopening Dates For Various Broadway Shows

READ MORE: Broadway Coming Back With Diverse Voices On And Off Stage: ‘This Is Just The Beginning’

“I am the production wardrobe supervisor at ‘Wicked,’ and I have been since the beginning,” said Alyce Gilbert.

Gilbert makes magic overseeing Broadway’s most uniquely glamorous costumes.

“I think this is the time to be excited. It’s also the time to plan to see your show in November, December, January,” she said.

“I am the assistant hair supervisor at ‘Wicked’ on Broadway,” Ryan McWilliams said.

McWilliams’ career keeps his hands busy constantly, and that did not change during the shutdown.

“I started sewing masks… Any fabric I could get my hands on,” he said. “I now have a bunch to wear backstage.”

“Creating positions for themselves they may not have thought about,” said Randy Witherspoon, with Broadway caterer Spoonfed.

Witherspoon knows about that. After decades as a dresser backstage, the skilled chef started a catering company that serves Broadway.

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He remains part of a big family full of grateful, excited professionals thrilled to be back. Everyone from director to COVID safety manager is counted on to keep the reinvigorated Broadway healthy, hot and all that jazz.

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