The Ballet, the philharmonic, stand-up comedy, concerts, and our beloved Broadway all vanished last spring.
New Yorkers will be introduced to the art they enjoy in 2021, thanks to the Covid-19 vaccine rollout and the prospect of warmer weather.
In reality, we’ll be fully immersed in it. In the driveway, there are violin popups. The Upper West Side hosts Broadway productions. Musical concerts, a massive outdoor reading room with nightly author readings, and an outdoor cabaret stage on Hearst Plaza with shows all day and night.
That’s all part of Lincoln Center’s “Restart Stages” initiative, which aims to revitalize the arts and New York City. The performances begin on April 7th, World Health Day, and tickets to events at ten specially built outdoor venues will be provided first to healthcare staff. The majority of the shows will be free and open to the public on a first-come, first-served basis. The Lincoln Center Board of Directors and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation have also contributed to the project’s funding (SNF).
According to CNN, Henry Timms, President and CEO of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, workers quickly found new ways to use the center’s 16 acres of outdoor space, and they collaborated with numerous organizations across the city to help where they could.
“What we really wanted to do was use the outdoor space. So that was the genesis of the restart stage project. And also Lincoln Center, we’re a very proud New York institution, and we really wanted to play our part in bringing New York back,” Timms said. “There are lots of people who are very down on the future and down on New York.
“We are all feeling very much like we want to do our part in that recovery. So that’s been our general thinking. There’s so much focus on the economic recovery, which, of course, is essential, but tied to that, there has to be this human recovery, which is how do we all as human beings start to come out with this period where we’ve been kept away from each other, we’ve been disconnected.”
An arts revival, according to Timms, will “help bring people together, bind people to themselves, to each other.”
The Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance (BAAD! ), the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute, Harlem Week and the Harlem Arts Alliance, the Korean Cultural Center New York, and Weeksville Heritage Center are only a few of the organizations with which Lincoln Center has collaborated.
Beginning next month, Film at Lincoln Center will host film screenings, evening concerts by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, a concert and cabaret series by Lincoln Center Theater, and New York City Ballet dance workshops. There will also be open rehearsals of cast members from a variety of productions.
The performances will take place during the day and evening, and they will all take place outdoors, with safety precautions in place for performers, spectators, and workers.
“There will be lots of things going on at once,” Timms said, adding that “the phone is ringing” and the center is still opening up more shows. They are currently in discussions with Broadway producers to see how they can assist with outdoor space for plays and musicals.
“The phone is ringing now in the sense that people are realizing we’re doing this and realize that we want to partner in some interesting ways,” Timms said. “We are really trying to do this in a very open way.”
New York has also launched a “Open Culture” initiative, which will run from March 1 to October 31. It requires singers, comedians, and dancers to apply for permits to perform outdoor shows in order to “share their talents with a community in desperate need of entertainment.”
New York City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer tweeted of the program: “After a unanimous vote in the Council the new Open Culture program will bring song, dance, comedy, & performances to our streets.”
Hundreds of pop-up shows will overlap with New Yorkers’ everyday lives as part of NY PopsUp. “Revitalize the spirit and emotional well-being of New York citizens with the energy of live performance while jumpstarting New York’s struggling live entertainment sector.” according to the series of events.
The shows will run until Labor Day, with over 1,000 performances planned. The performances will commemorate the Tribeca Film Festival’s 20th anniversary (June 9-20) as well as the launch of Little Island at Pier 55 in June.