Welcome to today’s edition of ShentonSTAGE Daily (Please feel free to forward this e-mail to friends, and invite them to be added to this list!)
SPECIAL COVID UPDATE EDITION
As we hurtle towards Christmas, this newsletter was intending to take a break from daily publication — not least because I am on a break myself. I just arrived in Florida yesterday, after five nights in Provincetown — the latter is my usual summer destination, but after not being allowed to visit for the last two summers, we decided to pay our first-ever winter visit there — but now we’ve come south to get some Christmas sun, as we join a Cruise to the Dominican Republic, before heading back to New York for new year’s (and a show or two….maybe).
Last week I reported on the West End shutting down show by show here,
and how defensive (some) producers (and industry folk, like casting directors) have become, and intent on shooting the messenger.
But regardless of whether I report it or not, it is happening in real time, on both sides of the Atlantic, even if Boris Johnson today refused to bring in new restrictions ahead of Christmas, citing the lack of sufficient evidence, though he said new curbs could be imposed after December 25. (In Scotland, however, public Hogmanay events have already been cancelled, and sporting events will be spectator-free for the next three weeks)
As David Schneider tweeted yesterday,
Just today came news that CINDERELLA is suspending all performances until February 9:
In the UK, this is already proving ruinous for Christmas shows and the theatres that house them as an anchor to their programming and enables them to stay afloat the rest of the year.
Amongst the raft of cancellations, the Edinburgh Playhouse run of WHITE CHRISTMAS has already been called off:
And the Globe has cancelled indoor performances at its Sam Wanamaker Playhouse to December 31, but is going ahead with outdoor performances in the main house of THE FIR TREE are going ahead:
A friend who is in the cast of TROUBLE IN MIND posted on Facebook about clearing her dressing room, so whether it even resumes performances in January is clearly still up for grabs.
MEANWHILE, ON BROADWAY…..
Things aren’t looking any better on Broadway, where the Radio City Christmas Spectacular was the first show to cancel the rest of its Christmas season:
This has been followed by the producers of JAGGED LITTLE PILL, the musical based on the back catalogue of Alanis Morrisette, bringing the curtain down on the entire production after a COVID related suspension: as the producers said in a joint statement,
“The drastic turn of events this week with the rapid spread of the Omicron variant has, once again, changed everything. We are dismayed by what appears to be another substantial public health crisis, and – due to the detection of multiple positive COVID-19 cases within the company – need to prioritize the health and safety of the cast, crew, and entire team working on Jagged Little Pill. In light of the extreme uncertainty ahead of us this winter, and forced to choose between continuing performances and protecting our company, we’ve made the difficult decision to close our doors.” It played its final performance on December 17.
Off-Broadway, the musical TREVOR — originally running at Stage 42 to January 2 — also announced that it played its final performance on December 19, after COVID positive cases in the company.
Numerous other shows have cancelled one or more performances, like MRS DOUBTFIRE:
As Michael Paulson, theatre reporter for the New York Times, noted last Saturday,
The Broadway League is seeking to put a positive spin on things, with its President Charlotte St Martin telling the New York Times last week, “There’s no question that this current rash of breakthrough cases is concerning, but the industry has not shut down. I’m knocking on wood so much I have bruised knuckles, but so far we’re still open, and a two- or three-day shutdown, now and then, I think is to be expected.”
If only I could be like Nellie Forbush in SOUTH PACIFIC:
I hear the human race
Is fallin’ on its face
And hasn’t very far to go
But ev’ry whip-poor-will
Is sellin’ me a bill
And tellin’ me it just ain’t so
I could say life is just a bowl of Jello
And appear more intelligent and smart
But I’m stuck like a dope
With a thing called hope
And I can’t get it out of my heart
Not this heart
SEE YOU SOON
I’m not committing to when this newsletter will appear next, but in the meanwhile, you can find me on Twitter @ShentonStage