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Hurricane Irene Shuts Broadway Productions: Disney Shows Among Cancellations (Developing)

The Lion King Theater
Mario Tama/Getty Images

The first cancellations trickle in hours after the Broadway and Off-Broadway League said Friday that this weekend's shows are still scheduled to go on.

Hours after the Broadway League and the Off-Broadway League said that all Broadway shows are still cheduled to play this weekend, Disney announced that it has canceled this weekend's shows for Broadway's The Lion King and Mary Poppins.

"All performances of The Lion King at the Minskoff Theatre and Mary Poppins at the New Amsterdam Theatre Saturday, August 27th and Sunday, August 28th are cancelled due to Hurricane Irene," Disney's statement said.

The decision was made for the "patrons' and staff's safety following the announcement of the impending suspension of MTA and Metro North service." Tickets for all three performances for the shows will be refunded.

Also joining the list of weekend casualties is Lincoln Center Theater's War Horse, which won the 2011 Tony Award for best play. The Nederlander Organization also tweeted that all Broadway shows in its theaters would be canceled for Saturday and Sunday. That list includes Wicked, The Addams Family, Follies, Catch Me If You Can and Priscilla Queen of the Desert. It now seems safe to assume that most or all of the other shows playing on Broadway will cancel weekend performances due to safety concerns.

The Broadway League, the official representative organization for Broadway, has released no update and its site continues to show that all performances are continuing as scheduled. But Playbill.com and other outlets are reporting that all Broadway theaters will go dark for the weekend, making this the biggest emergency shut-down since the 9/11 attacks in 2001.

The Off-Broadway productions of Summer Shorts 5, Captain Ferguson's School for Balloon Warfare and Olive and the Bitter Herbs at the 59E59 Theaters have also been canceled for the weekend due to Irene.

The special, one-night staged reading of Side Man by Warren Leight with Zachary Quinto and Melissa Leo, originally set to take place Sunday at 1 p.m., has also been nixed "in response to predicted hurricane conditions," the update on the Guild Hall website said.

Entertainment companies said they will keep New York employees up-to-date on potential hurricane effects on offices over the weekend and on Monday.

Time Warner, for example, will keep employees informed through its internal messaging systems, a spokesman said.

David Rooney reports from New York.