The Omicron variant of COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc on Broadway, with “Ain’t Too Proud” becoming the fourth Broadway show in little more than a week to announce it was shutting down earlier than anticipated (it’s closing January 16); “Mrs. Doubtfire” announcing it was going “on hiatus” for nine weeks starting January 10, with the hopes of reopening March 14 and rehiring the 115 who are losing their jobs; and the Public Theater on New Year’s Day canceling its 18th annual Under the Radar Festival, the oldest and largest of the winter festivals, because of “multiple disruptions related to the rapid community spread of the Omicron variant – including artist and staff availability, artist and audience cancellations, major flight interruptions, and visa processing delays.”
There have been so many cancelations of individual performances that it’s hard to keep up: As of this morning, “The Music Man” is canceled until Thursday after star Hugh Jackman announced he had tested positive for COVID (see his Tweeted video below), and “Skeleton Crew,” the only Broadway show scheduled to open in January, is canceled until Friday.
The bad news has given an edge to the transition into a new year, creating stories – like that of Reynaldo Piniella, the sudden Broadway actor whose fortunes flipped within 24 hours – some dizzying highs and lows.
In his first official speech after his midnight inauguration in Times Square, New York City’s new Mayor Eric Adams said: “New York is not closed. It is still open and alive… We will not be controlled by crisis…Enjoy a Broadway show, send your kids to school, go back to the office – these are declarations of confidence that our city is our own.”