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Broadway in Syracuse is back: Two shows will launch national tours, giving downtown a boost

Broadway in Syracuse is returning this fall, and it couldn’t come soon enough for the Landmark Theatre, which, by the time of its season opener in October, will have been closed for a year and a half, since the start of the pandemic. Two shows will launch their national tours from Syracuse, giving downtown a much-needed boost.

The Landmark’s new season will include the Broadway hit Hamilton in March. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and the Blue Man Group will tech in Syracuse and launch their national tours. Executive Director Mike Intaglietta said that means their cast, crew, designers and musicians will spend weeks downtown in advance of their shows.

“They’ll be spending time in hotels, providing labor hours for our stage hands, they’ll be eating in our restaurants and drinking in our bars,” Intaglietta said.

Plus, he said some of the shows will spend weeks rehearsing across the street at the Redhouse Arts Center before they open, something that usually happens in New York City.

Intaglietta doesn’t know exactly how it will work with bringing an audience in when Charlie & The Chocolate Factory opens in mid-October. But theaters under 5,000 seats, like the Landmark, can now operate at full capacity, after the governor lifted COVID restrictions. Intaglietta said that’s good news.

“Being able to operate at full capacity is an absolute requirement for our Broadway shows, for our high-profile, national touring concerts and comedians,” he said.

As of now, unvaccinated people would still be required to wear masks.

The Landmark is currently in the middle of a $2.4 million renovation. All of the chairs, originally from 1928, when the theater opened, have been taken out and are being replaced.

“It is both terribly exciting and terrifying for a theater director to have a theater without chairs,” Intaglietta said. “This was a source of many complaints for years, if not decades. We’re excited to be able to provide more comfortable seating for our guests.”

Credit Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media
WRVO Public Media
A new marquee will be installed outside the Landmark.

The theater is also getting a new LED marquee outside above the entrance, which will all be complete by the end of summer. Intaglietta said it will be an incredible relief to bring people back into the building, including hundreds of workers. The theater hasn’t operated since March of last year. Around $1 million in federal stimulus funding was needed to keep it afloat.

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.