Following the announcement earlier on Friday that Martin McDonagh’s Hangmen had played its final Broadway performance while still in previews, a similar fate has met the eagerly anticipated revival of Edward Albee’s masterwork of interdependent marital warfare, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Lead producers Scott Rudin, Barry Diller and David Geffen confirmed late Friday night that the production, which was shut down March 12 as part of government-mandated safety measures to control the spread of the new coronavirus, would not resume performances when Broadway reopens its doors.
The revival had played just nine previews at the Booth Theatre and was scheduled for an official opening April 9 in a limited engagement on sale through Aug. 2.
Marking the fourth Broadway revival of Albee’s caustic 1962 drama about a long dark night of the soul involving a hard-drinking, hard-fighting New England academic and his wife and their guests at an afterparty in their campus home, the production reunited two-time Tony winner Laurie Metcalf with Joe Mantello, her director on the acclaimed 2018 revival of Albee’s Three Tall Women.
Starring opposite Metcalf’s Martha was Rupert Everett as her husband George, Russell Tovey as cocky new guy on campus Nick and Patsy Ferran, an Olivier Award-winning new talent from the London stage making her Broadway debut as Nick’s mousy wife Honey.
The producers gave no statement about the decision to close the production, which, along with Hangmen, is feared to be one of many forced to pull the plug amid the crushing economic difficulties caused by the Broadway blackout.
The Broadway League, the 700-member trade association that oversees theater owners and operators, producers, presenters and general managers who present shows in nearly 200 markets across America, has set an April 13 date to restart operations on Broadway. But industry pundits are bracing for at least another month beyond that without revenues, in the best possible case scenario. Many fear it could stretch on for much of the year. The number of jobs lost across the sector will be devastating,
While the Tony Awards administration is dragging its heels about making an announcement, no one at this point believes the current calendar can remain in place, with eligibility cutoff for productions opening in the 2019-20 season set for April 23, nominations due to be announced April 28 and the presentation ceremony scheduled for live broadcast June 7 on CBS from Radio City Music Hall. News seems imminent outlining reshuffled plans, or even the decision to shelve the awards for this year in what seems destined to be a partial season marked by incoming productions that never made it to opening night.
On Friday, the League reached an emergency relief agreement with the 14 unions serving Broadway to provide actors, musicians, stagehands and other staff with pay and health insurance through the first weeks of the current shutdown due to the COVID-19 crisis.