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COVID-19: Westchester Broadway Theatre Closes After Nearly Half-Century Run

The Westchester Broadway Theatre.
The Westchester Broadway Theatre. Photo Credit: Google Maps street view

The show will not go on.

The Westchester Broadway Theatre in Elmsford will take its final bow after 46 years due to it being forced to shut down during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since opening in 1974, the Westchester Broadway Theatre has produced 217 musicals, served more than six million customers, and employed thousands of theatre professionals, many of who went on to Broadway.

Staff members said that now that it's closed, the interior of the theatre is going to be destroyed and turned into a warehouse, as the landlord doesn’t want to continue supporting the lease.

“As the world has been plugged into an intense emergency; we have determined there is no way we can reopen when the ban is lifted on live theatre,” they stated. “Dinner-theatre, because of social distancing requirements, will be the last entertainment category to be given permission.”

Bob Funking, Bill and Von Ann Stutler, founders of the Westchester Broadway Theatre said that despite shutting down, theatre-lovers can still get their fix at the White Plains Performing Arts Center, which has made renovations to “accommodate the new world of theatre.”

“As someone who grew up seeing and working on shows at WBT, it’s with a heavy heart that we say goodbye to our colleague,” Stephen Ferri, White Plains PAC’s Executive Producer said.

“The work they have done over the years was remarkable. When we heard of this news, we knew we had to do something to not only honor their legacy but also make sure we keep professional theatre alive in Westchester.”

According to Playbill: “Westchester Broadway Theatre was one of the last major dinner theatres still in operation. Once a staple of the theatre industry nationwide, the National Dinner Theatre Association now counts just 21 member theatres, many of which are themselves currently closed due to restrictions put in place in response to the spread of COVID-19.”

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