NY to host ‘pop-up’ performances to boost ailing arts industry

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New York will host a series of “pop-up” arts performances across the state to try to rejuvenate the ailing industry amid COVID-19, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday.

“When you shut down Broadway, when you shut down movie theaters, you shut down an entire economy,” the governor said at a press briefing.

“So we’re going to accelerate [their] reopening with 300 pop-up arts [performances] across the state.”

Star participants will include Hugh Jackman, Mandy Patinkin, Chris Rock, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kenan Thompson, Matthew Broderick and Patti Smith, the state said.

The program, called NY PopsUp, will feature performances over the next 100 days starting Feb. 20 at the Javits Center, a state vaccination hub, in Manhattan, the governor said.

“These are just pop-up performances. … They’re free,” Cuomo said. “They are not designed to be rescheduled and draw a crowd because we actually don’t want a crowd.

“Then they will be shown online.

“We want the performances, we don’t want mass gatherings,’’ the governor said. “We don’t want large cross-contamination.”

It comes almost a year after Broadway shut down over the COVID-19 pandemic.

Asked about the potential reopening of Broadway, the governor did not give a timeline but said he envisions eventually having a percentage of performers and audience members tested and cleared before heading through the doors.

“There are venues that we want to start to reopen with testing and capacity limitations,” Cuomo said.

“And then yes, theaters, arenas — why can’t you do it with Broadway? You can open a Broadway stage with a set percentage of occupants where people have [been] tested prior to walking into the theater, both from a public point of view and a practical point of view,” the governor said.

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