Broadway shows shut down over breakthrough covid cases

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.

[From CNN]

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

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

23 Responses to “Broadway shows shut down over breakthrough covid cases”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. ThatsNotOkay says:

    If you need a sprinkle of Broadway during these times, watch a rebroadcast or stream Annie! Live! The level of Broadway excellence among the background performers was astounding. They have pent up brilliance and need an outlet. It will fill you with pure joy!

  2. Oria says:

    Yeah, it’s a problem. The vaccines can protect us, but not stop the spread.
    In my country the government has gone out to say the vaccine unfortunately doesn’t work as good as they did only after 4 months, and they opened and lifted restrictions too early. So people who was vaccinated got sick and spread it like crazy before they were able to catch it. (We know people were vaccinated because of the vaccine passes in restaurants, bars and events, so they could track the “super spreaders” down easily).

    That gave me the same exhaustion as covid did last year. Even with vaccines, it will keep spreading and when vaccines become inefficient so soon, it’s doesn’t create any feeling of safety really.

    Latest news in our country is scientists researching and finding indications that the virus is mutating because of the vaccines, not in spite of it. Which again just leads to more exhaustion because now the government has decided to lock down again.

    I really hope we will see medicines and efficient treatments soon!

    • Kimmie says:

      Not surprised by any of this. It seems like in a rush to get back to normal there was. O consideration on what if vaccinated could spread too. Which country are you in?

  3. FHMom says:

    The only thing my daughter wanted for Xmas was tickets to a Broadway play. I’m giving her a snow globe with a NY scene and a rain check. I feel horrible, but it doesn’t feel like the time to be planning trips to NYC.

    • Jennifer says:

      Smart idea. I just would not take a trip now anyway, especially for something that may get canceled at any second.

      I am in a show now (rehearsals) and am seriously wondering how it’s going to go. We have a mask mandate here and my theater was harassing the public health officer for weeks in August to get permission to not wear masks. It was utterly denied, which I am grateful for since someone got it after the first week of shows. Only one came down with it. I haven’t heard of anyone else getting it since that show.

      I seriously wonder if going maskless on Broadway is why this is happening.

      • Gabriella says:

        My parents just got back from NYC and saw a few shows, including Tina Turner. My mom said that they were super strict about vaccines and masks, and one guy who’s mask kept falling below his nose got a stern talking to with the threat of ejection. It’s imperfect, and Omicron is suuuuper contagious, but I do respect the effort.

  4. Case says:

    This is horrible, but I also feel like so many activities and events tried to get back to normal with what has still been considered unchecked spread of the virus. Vaccine mandates are great, mask mandates are great. But at least in the US, I’m not sure we’ve ever had COVID under control for more than a few weeks. I have a lot of health problems, and so the fact that I’ve still been living like it’s 2020 has kept me all too aware of how not-okay things have been in 2021 while many people acted like it was fine.

    From what I’ve been reading from scientists, it won’t always be like this. It will calm down, it will be come endemic and have a “season” like the flu rather than be a constant threat. But it’s still in its acute phase and will continue mutating until it’s out of that stage.

  5. Amy Too says:

    Were the people who tested having symptoms of were they symptomless but got tested anyways bc that’s what broadway does and then they were positive? I’m wondering if we might get to a point where everyone is vaccinated, and the vaccines are preventing people from getting serious symptoms, being hospitalized, and dying, so we just accept that people will sometimes test positive and not shut everything down? Like with influenza (actual influenza like what we get our flu shots for, not just a stomach bug or cold). People sometimes have it, and we accept that there’s a risk of contracting it when we’re out in public, and there are probably people who, if we were testing everyone all the time would test positive for it without having symptoms or only having mild symptoms because they just didn’t get enough viral load or they had the flu shot that year. But since we don’t test for it, we don’t know when symptomless people have it, so we don’t do shut downs when people test positive. It’s something I think about.

    • Case says:

      I’m sure we will get to that point, but we need to get to well below 1,000 deaths a day from the virus before we can think that way. It’s simply too unpredictable to do that just yet. The flu doesn’t kill hundreds of thousands in the U.S. every year. I realize the energy around COVID has completely changed in 2021 and many people are like “eh, we have to live with it,” but we’re still very much in a raging pandemic and that shouldn’t be normalized.

      Because even if a Broadway performer tests positive and feels fine — good for them — that doesn’t mean the scene partner they’re singing with won’t have a totally different experience and suffer long-term effects from it.

      • Amy Too says:

        I agree with you that we’re not there yet but I also feel like the huge majority of those deaths and hospitalizations are among the unvaccinated and they, and the states/counties they live in, should be the ones taking much huger precautions. With the broadway shows, if everyone is vaccinated and everyone is masked, then shutting everything down when symptomless people are testing positive (I don’t know if they were all symptomless, but if they were) seems to be at the strictest end of covid precautions. Like these aren’t the people we need to be making stay home. If they’re symptomless than the vaccines are doing their job. And if everyone who sees them is vaccinated and wearing masks, then they’re probably not going to infect an unvaccinated person who ends up getting super sick and dying, because there are no unvaccinated people there to infect, and they’re all wearing masks. I guess I mostly just wish the whole country would keep the same energy for shutdowns, or the people who need to be shut down (the unvaccinated and the restaurants and public places that allow people to come in who aren’t vaccinated or masked) are the ones who were being shut down. It’s a very nuanced and unfortunate and new situation that we’re in, and it sometimes feels like those who are doing everything right are being punished *because* those who are doing everything wrong are keeping the infection, hospitalization, and death numbers sky high.

    • liz says:

      In NYC, a lot of institutions, including all of Broadway, do regular testing. My child’s school tests everyone once a week and closed for winter break a day early because of a spike in positive cases. Almost every positive case was asymptomatic and those with symptoms were very mild – one of Kiddo’s friends is “really tired” but otherwise feels fine – no fever, no cough . . . Everyone’s employer (mine, hubby’s and Kiddo’s) cancelled their holiday parties – as they should have. NYS has reinstated a mask mandate (not like I ever stopped wearing one).

      We are past this being a pandemic. It is now endemic and needs to be managed that way – with decisions made based on science and data, not emotion and public relations. There are no short-term fixes – closing shows and schools for a few days/weeks will not change the trajectory of the number of cases. The only things that will work will be getting as many people as possible vaccinated and everyone properly wearing medical masks when they should be.

      I don’t blame those who cannot be vaccinated – I blame the pharmaceutical companies that refuse to release the patents on the vaccines so they can be more equitably distributed (there is no good reason why I’ve had three shots when in much of the world, people can’t get one). I resent those who will not get vaccinated – they are intentionally making this worse for everyone.

      • Case says:

        It is false according to scientists to suggest that it is endemic at this point in time. For a virus to be endemic, it needs to be stabilized first and COVID has not reached that place. Immunologists believe we could reach that stage by the end of 2022 as the virus reaches the end of its acute stage and stops mutating so rapidly. Right now, COVID is a leading cause of death in the United States and cases and deaths remain the same as the last holiday season despite vaccines becoming available since then. COVID will be with us forever, but it will not remain such a high threat level forever. THAT is when it will become endemic.

      • Natters says:

        I think I caught my case of Covid at our company Christmas party because one of my co workers wasn’t vaccinated. Our HR department is in another state so my company pretty much does what they want. This woman just had to get vaccinated this week because of the new mandate otherwise she would have lost her job. Now there is no way to exactly where I caught it, I live in NYC but company Christmas parties and Santacon should have been cancelled. Santacon was one big super spreader.

  6. Michelle says:

    Sorry to say this but I don’t think there is a glimmer of hope that things will get better before Christmas. I’m in Denmark and things are really bad here, even with 79% of the total population fully vaccinated. Testing is free, frequent, and recommended here for near daily use and so the numbers coming out of Denmark are reliable. Over 75% of identified omicron cases here are in fully vaccinated people.

    I’m not saying to panic or anything, I’m so tired of covid, but even with me WFH, my husband WFH, masking, and our vaccinations, we are in self isolation. My husband and I saw ONE person this week, and they have just tested positive for COVID despite being fully vaccinated.

    Keep staying safe out there everyone and I hope the situation in Europe isn’t repeated in the US.

    • JBones says:

      I’m in Canada. I was the most cautious person I knew (germaphobe living in a pandemic- hell), and my family and I just caught COVID. A dinner with extended fam and boom- after all the hardwork and mental gymnastics to avoid it since March 2020- and so close to getting our kids under 12 vaccinated. Gah, but glad we all had it at the same time and it was a lovely evening with family.

      The symptoms were a little scary and all over the place for the kids. My husband and I, both double vaxxed since May, can’t smell or taste and are experiencing lingering coughs among other uncomfortable symptoms. I can’t even taste a TIMBIEB, and they’re only available for a limited time (single tear)……

      Schools in our city have shut down and thousands of staff/students/close contacts are now in quarantine. From where I stand, this will likely not be over until the Omnicron, or some other mild variant, infects the masses and takes this sh*tshow into common cold territory.

  7. Natters says:

    I live in NYC and just tested positive for breakthrough Covid. I feel like crap and now have to quarantine for ten days so no Christmas for me. I’m just glad I was vaccinated and had my booster shot because it probably saved me from going to the hospital. Right now I just feel like I had a bad flu. Stay safe!

    • Case says:

      Get well soon!

    • Ann says:

      So sorry. My daughter is in New York too and she and her roommates all just tested positive. So basically she feels like she has a bad cold. They are all having to miss work, etc. And New York has been careful! You have to show your vaccine card to get into restaurants, etc. She told me that apparently most of the bars in Brooklyn, where loads of young people live, have closed for now.

      Get better soon.

    • Twin falls says:

      I had break through Covid over thanksgiving – I I lost my sense of smell and had a nasty cough for a few weeks but nowhere near needing to be hospitalized thankfully. I hope you’re feeling better soon!