Broadway shows canceled amid new virus outbreak – The Hollywood Reporter

Many stages on both Broadway and the West End were once again forced into the dark as the live theater community grapples with the behind-the-scenes outbreak of the coronavirus and its variations, temporarily shutting everything down from London’s revival Bar starring Eddie Redmayne to Strong Hamilton in New York.

“At the end of the day, we’ll be watching science, and science will say, ‘You need to put this show on,’” said Broadway League President Charlotte St. Martin told The Associated Press on Thursday. “We anticipated that because they told us that if a lot of people don’t get their photos, then new variations will come and new variations will be the case. And guess? It is called omicron. ”

On Broadway, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child canceled its fourth matinee, Tina canceled two shows on Wednesday and Hamilton called off performances until Friday night. Not too proud removed Tuesday’s performance and Supreme freedom love canceled two shows. Mrs. Doubtfire, which recently opened and has been dark since Sunday, plans to resume performances on Tuesday.

St. “We still have only five out of 32 shows with one canceled yesterday,” Martin said.

“If someone tests positive, even if it is a false positive, they are not allowed to continue and potentially infect others. That should be a reason for safety and comfort, not only for the community, but also for our theatergoers.”

Mary McColl, chief executive officer of the Actors’ Equities Association, a body that represents actors and stage managers, said the cancellations of performances meant that Broadway producers were looking into the cases. seriously and act appropriately.

“The fact that performances are being halted shows that producers and unions are on alert,” McColl said in a statement. “That’s what the security protocols are for and that shows that they’re working.”

In the more than 18 months that Broadway is closed, many theaters have adjusted, adding rigorous personal testing and installing portable air fans and air filters with MERV-13 or HEPA technology. But older theaters pose a particular risk when it comes to transmission, with tight backstage spaces and often crowded staff. St. Martin said an increased campaign is underway.

Rising rates of coronavirus infection in London, fueled by the omicron variant, also caused a series of cancellations between screenings in the West End.

It was a big blow to the theater sectors in both cities, which only recently reopened after more than a year of closures and counted on the holiday season to account for a large portion of their income.

UK programs include Hamilton, Lion King, Pi’s life, Coming from afar and Matilda the Musical canceled one or more shows this week because of the COVID-19 outbreak. Others have gone further: The National Theater has pulled the plug hex and Curious incidents of dogs at night for the next two weeks “due to the company’s illness.”

Donmar Warehouse has canceled performances of Case of force majeure, about an avalanche and its aftermath, until December 29 after several members of the company tested positive.

Artistic director Michael Longhurst said: “Sadly, it is ironic that we have had to cancel performances of this wonderful comedy program titled ‘Force Majeure’ because of a… force majeure event. .

Shows that remain public have scared audiences away after public health authorities warned people to cut back on socializing to help slow the spread of omicrons.

New rules that come into effect this week in London mean that theatergoers must present a negative coronavirus test or proof of vaccinations to be admitted. In Bar, the rules are even stronger: All attendees, even those fully vaccinated, must present a negative COVID-19 test before entering theaters.

In New York, rules have tightened for children: All children ages 5 to 11 must now show proof of receipt of at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to attend a Broadway show and must be accompanied by a vaccinated adult. If the child has been immunized less than 14 days prior to the performance, the child must also provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test in order to be admitted.

Madison Square Garden said late Thursday it will comply and require proof that children ages 5 to 11 have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in order to participate in the show. ceremony at Radio City Music Hall and its Cirque du Soleil performance. .

And the Metropolitan Opera is asking spectators and staff to receive a COVID-19 booster shot for entry starting January 17. The company said anyone who hasn’t been eligible for a booster shot will be allowed to join. two weeks after they qualify.

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