BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A recent announcement by The Hippodrome about future Broadway performances isn’t just good news for theatre fans, it’s good for the city as a whole.

It’s been nearly one year since Broadway graced the stage at The Hippodrome, and we now know when that curtain will rise, bringing Broadway back to Baltimore.

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Empty seats and a stagnant stage, a result of the pandemic that has devastated an industry, and left the historic Hippodrome Theatre shuttered.

“We put 300,000 people through this building last year, and this year we haven’t had one person through the building,” Ron Legler, Frace-Merrick PAC, said.

But now, a glimmer of hope, with an announcement that Broadway will make its return to Baltimore on September 28, with the opening of  “Pretty Women, The Musical.”

“We have basically lifted up our entire season and pushed it a year forward,” Legler said. “So everything we were going to do last year is going to come into this year.”

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A long time coming, not just for theatre fans, but for the hundreds employed by the hippodrome, nearby restaurants and the hotels that house the cast and crew members.

“We’re just ready to get back, be together, celebrate Baltimore and to come back stronger and better than ever,” Legler said.

Better and safer. With an upgraded HVAC system and touchless environment, one thing you won’t see, social distancing, with hopes that by September, enough people will have been vaccinated to make it safe to open at full capacity.

“We don’t break even until we’re about 75% to capacity, so it would be horrific for the Broadway shows to come and try to do social distancing because the shows would lose so much money they would have to close the tour,” Legler said.

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But today, they’re focusing on the positives, a day in the not-so-distant future, when these seats will once again be filled.

Sean Streicher