Dec 18, 2021 - Health

Broadway cancels performances due to COVID cases

Broadway theaters stand closed along an empty street in the theater district on June 30, 2020 in New York City

Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Many Broadway shows announced plans this week to cancel performances following COVID-19 cases among cast or crew members.

Driving the news: The cancellations come as COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths are rising across the country as the Omicron variant gains a bigger foothold in the U.S.

Why it matters: Broadway shows are a vital part of New York City, creating about 97,000 jobs and contributing $14.7 billion to the city's economy in the 2018-2019 season, according to the Broadway League.

  • A missed performance for a show that grosses $1 million a week would cost about $125,000, the New York Times reports. Weekends, when shows are most full, would lose more.
  • But cancellations now are especially painful because Broadway traditionally sees an attendance spike during the holiday season, according to the Times.

State of play: Shows such as “Tina,” a musical about Tina Turner, canceled performances from Friday to Monday due to COVID-19 cases.

  • "Hamilton," one of the first Broadway shows to reopen in September, canceled its Wednesday through Sunday night shows due to a breakthrough of COVID-19 cases.
  • On Friday, "MJ the Musical" announced that as a result of multiple positive test results within the company, all performances through Dec. 26 would be canceled.

Also: "The Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes" also had to cancel all of its remaining shows in 2021 due to COVID-19 cases. All tickets for the show will be fully refunded.

Flashback: In September, many Broadway shows like "Wicked" and "The Lion King" returned after 18 months of going dark due to the pandemic. It was the longest shutdown in Broadway history.

  • Broadway hit "Aladdin" announced in September that it canceled all future shows for two weeks because of a breakthrough of COVID-19 cases among cast members.
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