City Tries Helping Small Theaters With Off-Broadway Pop-Up Performances Across NYC

The pop-ups are done in a way that will keep crowds small, and will be in all five boroughs as the city said it is trying to contribute to the same small companies that bring in $1.3 billion to the city's economy in normal times

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The sounds of singing and of a performance, reminiscent of pre-pandemic Ne York City, rang out on city streets once again Friday night, part of the city's effort to entertain residents with artists and performers who still call The Big Apple home.

The audience wasn't in a a concert hall or a Broadway theater, but rather was made up of people who happened to be walking by, stopped, took out their phone and listened to the small show on Astor Place in Manhattan.

The seemingly random act of artistry was just one example of the "Off Broadway in the Boros" program, which does exactly as its name describes — brings shows and performances to the five boroughs during the pandemic.

"We've been really exploring the new medium that is this online platform, but at the same time there's nothing that's going to replace that in-person experience," said Artisic Director of the program, Mia Yoo.

The pop-ups are done in a way that will keep crowds small, to 50 people or less. Friday evening's performance was put together by Dane Terry, who said he almost forgot how much he enjoyed the whole process.

"I didn't know until today how much I ... really missed that. I love writing, love sort of hiding and writing and making a thing then going out and sharing it," Terry said.

The program serves as a way to help the small theater industry and its performers. The mayor's Office of Media Entertainment said small theaters contributed $1.3 billion to the city's economy before the COVID-19 pandemic. Now the city is trying to contribute to those same small companies.

"We just want to make sure we are amplifying that and really keeping it on the forefront of everyone's minds," said Anne Del Castillo, the Commissioner of the Office of Media and Entertainment.

There are performances scheduled in Queens and Brooklyn on Saturday, and on Staten Island on Monday. While the locations of the pop-up performances are being kept secret, organizers advise those looking to keep their eyes peeled.

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