Theater tours drum up excitement ahead of Broadway's reopening

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- A hotel in New York City is looking to "Raise the Curtain" for tourists with a program to get folks excited before Broadway shows re-open starting September 14.

The Langham Hotel has joined forces with Broadway Up Close to offer guests tours of the theater district.

For the tourists who are starting trickle into the city, the tour offers a way to experience some Broadway magic before the shows start up again this fall.

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During Broadway's darkest days, in the middle of an unprecedented shutdown lasting almost a year and a half, Tim Dolan has found a way to keep the dream alive.

"You can't run and see 'Wicked,'" he said. "You can't see "Hadestown.' You can't see 'Lion King.' We become the show on a sidewalk."

His guided tours offer visitors a Broadway closeup when theaters themselves are closed.

"Especially with someone who has never been to New York, has never seen a show, I'm happy to be their first dipping of their toe into the waters of Broadway," he said. "Until they come back and can see 'Wicked' or 'Hamilton.'"

His tours start at the Langham Hotel, where Richard Bussiere is managing director.

"The recovery of our beautiful city is totally dependent upon the recovery of Broadway," he said.

Plays and musicals took in more than $1.8 billion during the season before the spread of COVID-19, when more than 14.7 million tickets were sold.

Now, the Langham is looking to bridge the gap before shows can reopen.

"Guests coming to town now have the opportunity to take this tour and learn about the history of Broadway," Bussiere said.

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The hotel is located near the city's 19th century theater district south of Times Square.

"George M. Cohan's famous song goes, 'Give my regards to Broadway, remember me to Herald Square,' where our theaters used to be," Dolan said.

He and his fellow tour guides have been showing folks around for more than a decade and have no plans to stop once Broadway shows finally raise their curtains again.

"(I am) happy to be an ambassador for this glorious city and this glorious industry," he said.

Until all the lights have been turned back on, BroadwayUpClose.com offers a way to get back into the spirit of Broadway and a way to generate enthusiasm for this industry so vital to the New York City economy.

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