This article has been updated to reflect developments [12/22/21, 9:30pm]
As the U.S. faces a new wave of COVID – fueled by the highly transmissible omicron variant, making up 73% of new infections last week, according to the CDC – NPR reported via The Associated Press:
Many stages on both Broadway and the West End have been forced to go dark once more as the live theater community grapples with backstage outbreaks of the coronavirus and its variants, temporarily closing everything from London’s revival of Cabaret starring Eddie Redmayne to mighty Hamilton in New York.
At one point last week, according to the report, five of 32 Broadway shows were dealing with canceled performances. This week, producers of the Broadway musical Jagged Little Pill announced that it would close that show because of multiple positive COVID-19 cases within the company.
Update: Today NPR reported that nine Broadway musicals have announced that they will be on haitus until after Christmas because of breakthrough infections.
Here in Houston – where hospital officials say that positive omicron cases are doubling every two to three days and the Harris County threat level has been raised to “orange” (significant) as of Monday – local performing arts groups have been impacted by COVID. So far there have not been a large number of canceled performances or productions, though the situation is developing.
The only production that has closed, based on Houston Arts Journal’s review of local companies, is Disney’s The Little Mermaid by Theatre Under The Stars.
Originally scheduled to run through December 24 at The Hobby Center, TUTS announced on December 20, that it would cancel all remaining performances due to COVID among cast and crew:
Update: This evening, the Ensemble Theatre announced that breakthrough COVID cases have forced the company to cancel the December 23 performance of A Motown Christmas – with remaining performances in the run to be determined.
Last week, Stages Theatre canceled performances of Panto Little Mermaid because of a positive COVID test in the cast, according to an email from Dancie Perugini Ware Public Relations. That production has now been cleared to resume on December 22 and will continue, with additional shows scheduled, through January 2.
Stages’ concurrent production of Sister’s Christmas Catechism has not been disrupted and continues to run as scheduled through December 31.
Another show that has coped with COVID is A Christmas Carol at The Alley Theatre, which canceled performances on December 19:
The Alley has since resumed its scheduled run of A Christmas Carol through December 29.
Among other local holiday offerings, the following productions are currently running without disruption:
- Houston Ballet’s The Nutcracker through December 24
- A.D. Players’ The Christmas Shoes through December 26
- The Music Box Theater’s A Beatles Holiday Cabaret through December 28
You can find COVID safety protocol for each company on their respective websites.
Read more here:
COVID surge cancels Houston theater performances, basketball games and holiday parties (via Houston Chronicle)
Latest COVID surge hits Broadway duruing the lucrative holiday season (via NPR)