Lin-Manuel Miranda felt joyful seeing Elmo in Times Square.
Julie Taymor sees visual poetry in a moment where the audience, as well as her characters, are masked.
And Stephen Schwartz is just happy to see audiences again.
The creative minds behind “Hamilton,” “The Lion King” and “Wicked” are delighted that their shows are running again. But, even more important, they’re relieved that theater is back.
“People are ready,” said Taymor, the director of “The Lion King,” “and it’s time.”
Schwartz, the composer and lyricist of “Wicked,” said the long months of streaming have been no substitute for live theater.
“The thing about live theater is it’s a community, not just onstage, but with the audience the whole theater becomes a community, and we’ve just really really missed that,” he said. “You can’t equal that experience on screens — on little screens or even big screens — it’s just not the same as live people and a live audience and what happens every night between them and among them in that theater. That’s irreplaceable.”
The three creators spoke to The New York Times in a joint interview Tuesday afternoon as they prepared for their own shows to open. They had decided to open on the same night to call attention to Broadway and to signal that the industry is open, ready for visitors and prioritizing safety (all theatergoers must be vaccinated, except children under 12, and masked).
“Broadway is a huge part of New York City — what defines New York City, and the economy of New York City,” Schwartz said. “So we are really thrilled to be back, and we want everyone out there to know it’s safe to come and join us.”
Taymor said theater has a particularly important role to play in times when the world is confronting so many challenges. “This is what we do as theater people, especially in the dark times,” she said. “This is exactly what we’re here for — we’re here to inspire and excite.”
Miranda, who not only wrote “Hamilton” but also starred in the original production, said he was relieved to see theater back.
“There was a lot of fear that this day would never come,” he said. “Just even walking over here and seeing Times Square bustling, and seeing Elmo again, and I saw the line around the TKTS booth for the first time in a year and change, and so I’m just really thrilled that theater’s back.”
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