No Broadway is not closing
After days of growing anxiety, Broadway woke up on Tuesday to more difficult news: the new Tony-winning musical. Small jagged pill had closed permanently over the weekend.
“We must prioritize the health and safety of the actors, the team and the whole team,The producers said in a statement. “Faced with the extreme uncertainty that awaits us this winter, and forced to choose between continued performance and protection of our company, we have made the difficult decision to close our doors.
The show, featuring the seminal music of Alanis Morissette, is now the fifth new production to announce an unscheduled closure, bringing together three pieces and the musical Diane. Like all Broadway shows, the company is fully vaccinated and tested daily. And like all Broadway shows, it faces daunting challenges as an Omicron-induced surge sweeps across the country.
A dozen shows have canceled at least one recent performance due to groundbreaking Covid cases, but the series of complete holiday disruptions are more shocking. Seven had canceled all performances over Christmas weekend as of Tuesday, including hits Hamilton, Aladdin, Dear Evan Hansen, and Hadesville.
They’re some of the biggest sellers in the industry, the ones who can withstand disruption in ways small businesses can’t. Producers seem confident that the weeklong shutdown is manageable given their early sales and cash reserves, especially those who have received insurance coverage or federal disaster relief. Still, seeing so many power plants shut down for Christmas is alarming, given how much the industry has capitalized on this lucrative holiday framework after 18 months in the dark.
It also means that the next box office numbers will be thinner, which could paint a clearer – albeit distressing – picture of Broadway’s overall health. Overall sales fell 26% last week, although the remaining performance was still 82% complete, signaling that demand is not cratering alongside supply. But the consensus of many theater executives is that a small number of shows have sold well, while the rest are somewhere between solid and struggling. The gap between the haves and have-nots is bigger than ever.
shredded the closure was particularly shocking as she appeared to be one of the well-heeled. Originally capitalized at $ 14 million, it received $ 10 million in federal funding to cover reopening expenses, in addition to strong business interruption insurance. Both are intended to prepare companies for the “extreme uncertainty” cited by producers – which sounds the alarm on other midsize shows.
“Some shows are just plain hard to sell,” said one veteran producer, who asked not to be nominated out of respect for the widespread hardship. “It has always been true. Most new shows aren’t big hits, even before the pandemic. But there are others who probably could have sold better and lasted longer without the virus, and are caught in the middle. I think Shredded is one of them, unfortunately. Everything was going well in 2019. ”
Cancellations aren’t limited to Broadway homes. Several Off Broadway shows, including the highly regarded Kimberly Akimbo at the Atlantic Theater, were dark for several nights. Others have, like Little jagged pill, decided to end their races altogether. Great productions outside America, including that of Andrew Lloyd Webber Cinderella in London and the transfer to Toronto from Tom Stoppard’s Leopoldstadt, have been suspended indefinitely or canceled altogether.
But despite the challenges, a full stop is not on the table, according to the Broadway League, which represents producers and theater owners.
“We have absolutely no intention of closing,” League president Charlotte St. Martin said in a meeting with The Hollywood reporter. “We are very attentive to the protocols … 20 to 30 shows continue to occur [every day] because we follow the protocols that we have in place, and it shows that they are working.
Ultimately, the League might not have a say in such a decision, as the 2020 shutdown was ordered by Governor Cuomo’s office. While Governor Kathy Hochul has the same power, the consequences of another complete shutdown would be catastrophic; given the reopening costs, which can run into the millions of dollars, most shows would shut down permanently. Mayor Bill de Blasio also declared his firm opposition: “No more closures,” he said at a press conference on Tuesday. “We went through them. We can’t go through this again.
It’s critical to note that Broadway’s antivirus protocols are among the best in the country, and the shows cancel performances precisely because they work and are taken seriously. They include a full vaccination for businesses and the public, mandatory masks at all times in the house, daily tests for company members before each performance, and improved ventilation systems.
As a result, most shows continue to perform on a daily basis and many have not closed a single curtain. Fans, experts and industry heavyweights have been calling on social media to keep the facts clear.
“No Broadway Show Has Been a Super Broadcaster” tweeted legend of the Harvey Fierstein theater. “We are all vaccinated and tested almost daily. If someone is positive, they isolate themselves. Public r vaccinated & wearing masks. BROADWAY DOES THIS WELL! “
Lynn Nottage, two-time Pulitzer winner, whose play Clyde is one of those without cancellation, Okay: “There’s so much emphasis on what’s closed on Broadway, let’s show some love to shows that are always OPEN. PLAY here to fend off the virus and the odds! She then listed a number of other rooms that remained open, including Slave game, Thoughts of a colored man, Trouble in Mind, and The Lehman Trilogy.
“This is the perfect time to move away from black and white thinking and embrace nuance” noted producer and publicist Matt Ross. “Yes, the shows are open. Yes, there will be phased cancellations. Yes, it is safe to attend a show and it is a deeply encouraging thing to do for a suffering workforce. “