We sent four photographers to capture scenes beyond the stage in the theater district. Here’s what they saw.
“Times Square is one of the most overphotographed places in the world,” said the photographer Sasha Arutyunova, “so the challenge is working against cliché.” Arutyunova, Andre D. Wagner, Chris Maggio and Sara Krulwich, photographers with distinct sensibilities, were tasked with capturing the scenes after the Broadway shows let out.
Andre D. Wagner
Wagner was drawn to the silent moments. “So much of my photography is loud, but these pictures are so quiet,” he said.
For some, Broadway is just another street. “Times Square has been made very family-friendly in the past decades, but there’s still a weird, gritty New York patina in there somewhere,” Maggio said. “Walking through the doors of a theater you’re transported to another world, but in reality you’re sitting only 50 feet away from the 42nd Street Cold Stone Creamery.”
Arutyunova shot on a Tuesday as a warm rain pelted passers-by. People quickly made their way under umbrellas or tried to catch an available bus. “Everyone was having their own little dramas,” she said. “That’s a lot of what New York is. The idea of feeling alone in a crowd.”
Krulwich, a New York Times staff photographer who has covered theater for over two decades, visited “Hadestown,” where she captured André De Shields removing the two rings he wears during his performance. “The rings are so meaningful to him,” she said, explaining that the first is for friendship and the second is for balance.
She usually documents what’s happening before the show or onstage during it. But for this series, she sought out the frenzied environment of the post-show rush. “Before the curtain goes up, actors are carefully putting on costumes, makeup, wigs and microphones. The movement is slow and precise,” she wrote. “After the show, the movement out of the theater is so fast.”