Tony, Grammy winner Tom Kitt on Broadway’s pandemic reopening

·3-min read

Broadway shows reopened Tuesday night after shutting down for a year and a half following the onset of the pandemic. Fan favorites like “Wicked,” “The Lion King,” and “Hamilton” are allowing audiences with masks and proof of vaccination to experience their magic once more. For Tony and Grammy-winning composer Tom Kitt, Broadway’s reopening has been a long time coming.

“I'm so grateful that these goalposts that have been moving around have firmly landed,” Kitt told Yahoo Finance Live. “I can't tell you what it means to just be back on the train, going to rehearsal, being with my community, creating in the room. You realize what you've been missing.”

Kitt, who also received an Emmy in 2014 and the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, joined Yahoo Finance Live to discuss how the pandemic impacted his career, the shutdown and reopening of Broadway, as well as his latest studio album “Reflect.”

For Kitt, the most challenging thing about having to abruptly close theater doors in the beginning of 2020 was the uncertainty and having to put the work for shows that were about to open on pause.

“It was quite traumatic,” Kitt said. “[There was] a lot of work, obviously, going into getting those shows right to the place where they were about to open and also suddenly realizing the fear of how you've been moving around New York [was traumatic].”

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 21: Tom Kitt performs during the Brooklyn Children's Theatre's
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 21: Tom Kitt performs during the Brooklyn Children's Theatre's "Brooklyn On Broadway" Gala at Edison Ballroom on October 21, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images)

“Reflect:” creativity amid the pandemic

According to Kitt, “Reflect” started out as a song cycle that ended up turning into an album. It features several prominent Broadway performers, including Elizabeth Stanley, Javier Muñoz, Heidi Blickenstaff, and Mandy Gonzalez. “Reflect” also features all of Kitt’s children, whom he says taught him so much throughout the pandemic.

Kitt said that he aimed to collaborate with others on the project to “speak to so many of the different experiences” that his fellow artists were had in the past year and a half. In the beginning, however, he felt that it was challenging to create during such a turbulent time.

“One of the things that pulled me out of this initial state of not feeling like I wanted or could create something was this urgency, suddenly, to speak to this moment,” Kitt said. “And it was a conversation I had with my wife Rita saying the world needs artists now more than ever.”

As for productions he is currently involved with, Kit said that he recently began rehearsal for “The Visitor” at The Public Theater; “Jagged Little Pill” will begin performances in October at Broadhurst Theatre; and “Flying Over Sunset” will begin rehearsals in October, with previews starting in November.

Kitt is currently nominated for his second Tony Award for Best Orchestrations for his work on the rock musical “Jagged Little Pill.” The 74th Tony Awards are set for Sept. 26 at the Winter Garden Theater.

“It never gets old to be recognized by your peers, to be contributing to the world of theater in ways that have connected and moved people,” Kitt said. “And I've had a number of shows — I'm very thankful — on Broadway, some which have brought nominations, some which haven't. So you just realize, when this light shines on you, to really appreciate it, live in the moment, and just celebrate everyone who's a part of this, whether you're nominated or not.”

Thomas Hum is a writer at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter: @thomashumTV

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