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Hamilton, Aladdin, Lion King, Dear Evan Hansen, Ain’t Too Proud, Hadestown, Music Man, Moulin Rouge! and SIX on Broadway have all canceled performances through Christmas amid the rise of the new COVID-19 variant, bringing the running tally to 10 major musicals going dark during the normally busy holiday week.
Hamilton, Aladdin, Lion King, Ain’t Too Proud and Hadestown cited breakthrough COVID-19 cases, while Dear Evan Hansen made the move out of an “abundance of caution” amid the surge in New York City.
The hit rap musical from Lin-Manuel Miranda about the life of founding father Alexander Hamilton announced on social media Monday that performances from Dec. 20 and through Dec. 26 are canceled. The announcement extends the show’s shutdown from last week, after first canceling performances starting the night of Dec. 17 due to positive cases.
“In the ongoing effort to ensure the well-being of our cast, crew and audience, this week’s performances of Hamilton on Broadway have been canceled due to breakthrough COVID-19 cases,” read the statement on Twitter. “On behalf of everyone at Hamilton, we apologize for the disappointment and for any inconvenience this may cause.” Information on upcoming performances will be shared “as soon as possible,” the message added.
Disney’s long-running Aladdin, meanwhile, initially canceled all performances from Dec. 21 through Dec. 24, with plans to resume shows on Dec. 26. “Through our continuing rigorous testing protocols, additional breakthrough COVID-19 cases have been detected within the company of Aladdin at The New Amsterdam Theatre,” read the statement posted to Twitter on Monday. However, the show announced on Dec. 24 that it would extend its Christmas closure through Dec. 28, with a plan to return on Dec. 29.
Lion King, another veteran Disney show that has detected multiple breakthrough cases, won’t have performances through Dec. 26 and will resume Dec. 27 with a matinee show.
The award-winning musical Dear Evan Hansen canceled its Dec. 20 through Dec. 26 shows on Monday night, announcing plans to resume performances on Dec. 27. “Please continue to stay safe, and take care of yourselves and each other,” read the Twitter message, in part.
Ain’t Too Proud, the musical about The Temptations, said it will be closing through Dec. 26 due to breakthrough cases within the company. The announcement extends the shutdown from Dec. 15 due to its first breakthrough case.
Hadestown, the musical about the Greek myth of Orpheus, said it was making the “difficult decision” to cancel this week’s shows through Dec. 27: “We are actively working to keep our cast, crew and audiences as safe as possible.”
SIX, which offers a pop-musical spin on the lives and legacies of Henry VIII’s six wives, announced that despite “so many … looking forward to joining us on these dates,” it has canceled performances through Dec. 28 due to breakthrough COVID cases, with shows expected to resume on Wednesday, Dec. 29.
Moulin Rouge! has canceled its Christmas performances, with refunds for the Dec. 23 through Dec. 25 shows. The Tony Award-winning musical is currently slated to resume performances with its Dec. 26 matinee.
On Dec. 25, Broadway’s anticipated Music Man revival starring Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster canceled its Dec. 25 performance and Dec. 26 matinee citing COVID breakthrough cases in the cast just days after opening for previews on Dec. 20. The announcement follows star Sutton Foster missing a Thursday preview performance after testing positive.
MJ, which follows the making of the late Michael Jackson’s 1992 Dangerous world tour, was the first Broadway musical to nix Christmas week shows as a result of multiple positive COVID-19 test results. On Friday, producers for the show canceled preview performances from Dec. 17 through Dec. 26. The show is slated to open Feb. 1, 2022.
The upcoming, anticipated play Skeleton Crew has also delayed its official opening to Jan. 19.
All tickets will be refunded.
The holiday week, typically one of Broadway’s busiest times of the year, comes as New York City is experiencing a rise in COVID-19 cases from the highly contagious Omicron variant, which became the dominant strain on Monday. For the third day in a row on Sunday, New York had reported a record level of daily positive cases, with federal and state officials warning of an incoming wave across the state and country. “It is going to be a tough few weeks, months, as we get deeper into the winter,” Dr. Anthony Fauci said on CNN’s State of the Union.
Heading into the Christmas week, nine of the 32 operating shows had canceled some performances due to breakthrough cases, also including Moulin Rouge!, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Tina, Freestyle Love Supreme, Jagged Little Pill and Mrs. Doubtfire.
The holiday performance schedule is set to bring additional matinee shows for the weeks of Christmas and New Year’s, providing the opportunity for a key boost in ticket sales following the industry’s reopening after its year-plus pandemic shutdown. In 2019, the week ending Dec. 29 saw Broadway gross more than $55 million in ticket sales, per the Broadway League. Proof of vaccination and a masking mandate is in place for audiences at any Broadway show.
When speaking to The Hollywood Reporter ahead of Omicron’s arrival, multiple industry members said that, financially, Broadway could likely withstand only a single major relaunch and hoped to avoid major COVID-related shutdowns as much as possible.
The decision to keep the curtain raised, however — as well as the specificities around COVID-19 safety protocols — remains up to each show. On Monday night, the Tony-winning Jagged Little Pill, the musical of Alanis Morissette’s rock songs, announced that it would be closing for good after the “drastic turn of events” and multiple breakthrough cases amid Omicron. “In light of the extreme uncertainty ahead of us this winter, and forced to choose between continuing performances and protecting our company, we’ve made the difficult decision to close our doors,” said the producers.
Despite the string of holiday closures and cancellations, Broadway League President Charlotte St. Martin told THR, also on Monday, that the theater district has aggressive plans in place to avoid another complete shutdown.
“We have absolutely no plans to shut down. We are paying serious attention to the protocols. The other 20 to 30 shows continue to perform because we’re following the protocols that we set up, and it shows they’re working,” said Martin, noting that the league launched BWAYTODAY.COM to guide ticket buyers in response to the quickly evolving Omicron. “Because there were so many false rumors that Broadway was shutting down, we got our folks together on Friday and made that all happen in one day. We’re very aggressive in our outreach of saying: We’re not closing.”
Dec. 20, 11 a.m. Updated to include Aladdin‘s Christmas-week cancellations.
Dec. 21, 5:45 a.m. Updated to include Dear Evan Hansen, Ain’t Too Proud and Hadestown‘s Christmas-week cancellations, Jagged Little Pill‘s closure and quotes from Broadway League President Charlotte St. Martin.
10 a.m. Updated to include Lion King‘s Christmas-week cancellations.
Dec. 22, 7:50 a.m. Updated to include SIX‘s Christmas-week cancellations.
Dec. 24, 3 p.m. Updated to include Christmas cancellations for Music Man and Moulin Rouge!
Dec. 25, 1:50 p.m. Updated to include the extended closure of Aladdin through Dec. 29.
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