BALTIMORE (WJZ) — When the coronavirus pandemic hit the United States earlier this year, theaters nationwide, including in Baltimore, were forced to close their doors with no answer as to when they’ll reopen.

That means hundreds of local artists, stagehands, technicians and support staff have no work and little hope of work any time soon.

“Right now, it’s like the whole entire bottom dropped out of our industry. There’s been zero revenue,” said Ron Legler, the president of the 107-year-old Hippodrome Theatre.

Before the pandemic, the Hippodrome was set to have its best season yet.

Now, popular shows like “Dear Evan Hansen” have been interrupted and concerts and comedy shows have been postponed or canceled.


“It’s a shame … because we were in the golden age of touring Broadway,” Legler said. “I mean, “Hamilton” lifted all these boats.”

Last season, more than 300,000 people visited the Hippodrome, enjoying the best of Broadway. Now, in hard-hit New York City, 41 theaters on Broadway are closed through June 7, but that date could be extended to Labor Day or later.

“Even with September 11, as horrible as that was, Broadway only closed for two days,” Legler said.

So with the Hippodrome sitting empty, Legler and his staff decided to reach out to theatergoers and post behind-the-scenes tours of 310,000 square-feet of theatrical history.

Those tours are available on the Hippodrome’s Instagram and Facebook pages as well as its website.

Until theaters can reopen, Legler has his fingers crossed that come November when “Hairspray” comes to town, lovers of the arts can see Tracy Turnblad’s adventures in Baltimore come to life on stage.

“This is going to take a long time to crawl out of,” he said.

For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.