I remember reading about when Broadway shut down at the outset of the pandemic. It was such a huge story. All those poor people out of work and such a stark realization that this was all very, very real. So when Broadway reopened, I guess that was when I started feeling like we might finally be out of the woods, with life resuming to something of what it was. I suppose I see Broadway as the harbinger for the next phase of Covid life. If this story is anything to go by, it’s not great. Many Broadway shows were forced to cancel performances this week due to cast and crew testing positive for Covid.
Several Broadway shows were forced to cancel performances this week due to positive Covid-19 tests among the cast or crew, a setback for the industry that comes just months after it raised the curtain on an 18-month shutdown due to the pandemic.
“Aladdin” became the first Broadway show known to cancel performances due to Covid-19 when it called off multiple shows in September.
“Hamilton,” Lin-Manuel Miranda’s opus on the life of Alexander Hamilton, canceled its Wednesday night show less than an hour before it was set to begin due to breakthrough Covid-19 cases, according to a post on its Twitter page.
“Our highest priority is always the health and safety of every cast, crew, and audience member,” the show said on Twitter.
“We will have more information on upcoming performances as soon as possible. On behalf of everyone at Hamilton, we apologize for the disappointment and for any inconvenience this may cause,” the show said.
Hamilton was one of the first Broadway shows to reopen in September following the pandemic shutdown.
The Temptations musical “Ain’t Too Proud” canceled its Tuesday night Broadway performance “out of an abundance of caution … due to a breakthrough Covid-19 case,” the show said.
Performances were set to resume with Wednesday’s matinee, the show’s Twitter account said.
The show also canceled performances at The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, from Wednesday through December 26. “Even with robust precautions in place, breakthrough COVID-19 cases have been identified within the fully vaccinated company,” the show said.
“Freestyle Love Supreme,” which bills itself as a “fusion of hip hop, improv, and comedy,” canceled shows on Saturday and Monday due to breakthrough Covid-19 cases, it said on Twitter.
“The wellness of our cast, crew, and guests is of the utmost importance. We apologize for the inconvenience,” the show said.
Performances returned Tuesday with Miranda joining the cast on stage.
“Doubtfire,” a musical based on the 1993 film “Mrs. Doubtfire,” called off its shows Sunday due to positive Covid-19 tests in the company, it said on Twitter.
“Daily testing of everyone at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre allows the opportunity to isolate anyone who tests positive for the wellness and safety of audiences, cast, crew and theatre staff,” a statement from the production said.
The show’s performances on Tuesday and Wednesday were also canceled.
The Wednesday matinee performance of “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” was canceled, but the evening show was expected to go on.
The show said in a post on Twitter that regular testing is in place to “help us maintain a safe and healthy environment for all.”
“We will enchant you another time,” the show said.
“Tina,” the Tina Turner musical, called off both scheduled performances Wednesday “due to the detection of a limited number of positive covid test results within the Broadway company,” the production said.
Shows were expected to resume Thursday.
When Broadway reopened, the emphasis was on the strict precautions in place for audiences. These closures are a result of the cast and crews testing positive. I don’t doubt the precautions were just as strict for those working on Broadway as those attending. I think Omicron is just tough and causing breakthrough cases. Thank goodness they are still testing and finding out early. One article said the Broadway League was focused on getting all theater workers the booster. That’ll help, I hope. We need every safeguard possible at this point. This is heartbreaking at the holidays when these shows are a part of someone’s holiday plans. Not to mention the lost wages for the workers. Plus, these cancellations piggyback on the kerfuffle caused last week when parents showed up at theaters only to be denied entry due to the NYC kids’ mandate that went into effect that day.
The ray of hope, however, is that these shows expect to reopen by Christmas. I know I’m grasping at straws, but I’ve hit my wall with Covid ruining everything. I’ve got my masks, my husband and I have had our boosters, my 16yo has his appointment on Monday. I can’t believe we are still at this place with this plague, but we’ll keep doing my part to help get us out of it. Stay safe New York – and everyone else.
Photo credit: Instagram