Welcome to today’s edition of ShentonSTAGE Daily that is e-mailed to subscribers every morning (to subscribe, send message to ShentonStageMailingList@gmail.com), and is also available online here.
COVID CANCELLATIONS SWEEPING THE WEST END AND BEYOND
Moulin Rouge resumed performances at the Piccadilly Theatre last night, albeit with a significantly changed line-up of principals — as a friend tweeted:
(Meanwhile, on Broadway, Washington Post theatre critic Peter Marks noticed this when he revisited DEAR EVAN HANSEN last week:
Other shows, however, are falling like flies on both sides of the Atlantic. We’ve already seen performances suspended of Ocean at the End of the Line and Life of Pi in the West End; last night Tina was cancelled; and The RSC announced the supension of its current run of THE COMEDY OF ERRORS at the Barbican Theatre from December 15-22 inclusive.
Today The Lion King has announced a suspension till Thursday.
Today, too, the National announced the postponement of tomorrow’s planned opening of HEX, and is scheduled instead for December 21 now. In a statement reprinted in THE STAGE, Rufus Norris (artistic director of the NT, and director of HEX and its lyricist) said:
Also announced today, THE RHYTHMICS, a new musical that has twice had to postpone its press night opening, has now cancelled the remainder of its run and will not now open at all, having only played a handful of previews, owing to Covid cases in the company.
According to a press statement,
“With the necessary self-isolation requirements for confirmed Covid-19 cases, and the fact that productions of this scale are unable to contract and rehearse significant understudies, the decision has been taken to cease performances entirely. The show will close 3 weeks earlier than planned.”
Katy Lipson, of Aria Entertainment, one of the three co-producing entities, said:
“Our beautiful production of Rhythmics has just been dealt blow after blow including having to cancel two press nights and so we have been left with no other option than to close the show before we even were able to officially open it. This company have worked so hard to tell this beautiful story, but we have to do what is best for all involved and the show itself and therefore have decided to not continue with the production until January 8th. We hope that one day audiences will get to share the joy and sentiments of this new British musical.”
The Society of London Theatre (SOLT) and UK Theatre (UKT) have been conspicuously silent, as ever, as this crisis unfolds. No one could have anticipated the arrival of Omicron, of course, or its very fast spread, but the industry’s governing body that represents its theatre owners and producers might have at least been able to establish some common ground ahead of a development that is now engulfing the industry. But SOLT and UK Theatre steadfastly refused to intervene to set that common ground around Covid safety; and now we see the result playing out.
TODAY’S THEATRE BIRTHDAYS (DEC 14):
Miranda Hart, 49; Barbara Leigh-Hunt, 86; Natascha McElhone, 52 (pictured: in The RSC production of QUEEN ANNE, with Emma Cunliffe, in 2015)
SEE YOU TOMORROW
See you in your inbox tomorrow. But if you can’t wait that long, you can find me on Twitter @ShentonStage (though not as often on weekends)