Some of Broadway’s most iconic theaters are agreeing to make sweeping changes to improve accessibility for people with disabilities under a settlement with federal prosecutors.
Nine Broadway theaters will eliminate more than 500 accessibility barriers in their restrooms, concession counters, waiting areas and box offices under a deal announced Wednesday to address violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The theaters will also provide a total of 70 wheelchair-accessible seating locations and offer 134 aisle seats for individuals who can transfer to a traditional seat. Under the settlement, priority will be given to people with disabilities for tickets in both seating areas.
“Today’s resolution marks the culmination of years of work to ensure that one of New York City’s leading cultural and entertainment treasures — Broadway theater — is accessible to people with disabilities,” said Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.
Combined with a similar 2003 lawsuit involving another operator, Bharara said over 20 Broadway theaters will be “more accessible than ever before.”
Under the ADA, older buildings like the theaters must remove accessibility barriers where it is readily achievable to do so, prosecutors said.
The agreement this week involves nine theaters owned and operated by the Nederlander Organization including the Brooks Atkinson, the Gershwin, the Lunt-Fontanne, the Marquis, the Minskoff, the Nederlander, the Neil Simon, the Palace and the Richard Rodgers.
The improvements are expected to be completed over the next three years. The Nederlander Organization will also pay a $45,000 civil penalty.