Broadway Show Canceled Over COVID After Audience Already Seated; Other Shows Canceled

Several Broadway show performances were canceled this week over COVID-19 outbreaks, in some cases after the audience had already taken their seats in the theater.

Wednesday’s performance of Broadway’s Moulin Rouge! at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre was canceled suddenly after the audience was seated and waiting for the music to start, Deadline reported.

A spokesperson confirmed to the New York Post that the cancelation was due to “a late-in-the-day positive test result in the company.”

On Friday morning, producers also canceled the performance scheduled for that evening. Currently, the show is scheduled to take the stage again on Saturday, December 18, at 2 p.m.

A slew of other shows, Hamilton, Jagged Little Pill, Harry Potter and the Cursed ChildTinaFreestyle Love Supreme, Mrs. Doubtfire, and Ain’t Too Proud have all also canceled performances since December 13 over breakthrough coronavirus cases.

MJ the musical, which is about Michael Jackson, announced Friday that it is canceling all preview performances through Christmas.

“As a result of multiple positive COVID test results within the company, and out of an abundance of caution, MJ is canceling all performances through December 26th. Previews will resume Monday, December 27,” producers said in a statement.

The decisions to cancel the other shows came before the audience was seated, although ticket-holders were still given very late notice, some cancelations coming just hours before the shows were to start.

For some in the Moulin Rouge! audience, getting suddenly kicked out of the theater brought back memories of the initial COVID-19 wave that infected New York City, when the lights went down on Broadway for the first time during the pandemic.

Some shows reopened in September, but the cancelations come just as Broadway’s busiest season gets underway, including the weekend before Christmas, generally a financially crucial weekend for performances.

“Wowowow. Moulin Rouge just canceled the performance tonight while we were already sitting in our seats at curtain time due to positive Covid cases. Welcome back to March 2020…” Twitter user Mark Sanderlin wrote.

COVID cases have skyrocketed in New York City over the last two weeks. As of Wednesday, the average number of new virus cases in the city had spiked to 3,554 a day, according to The New York Times.

On Friday, the city logged 21,027 new cases, beating the previous record of 19,942 positive cases in one day back in January.

The cancelations come amid reports that the new Omicron variant is rapidly spreading in New York and other areas of the country. Early data has pointed to the Omicron variant being less lethal but more contagious than the Delta variant.

The new variant has sparked concerns about a new wave of shutdowns in the city, which is still operating with some of the strictest pandemic restrictions in the country. At least a dozen restaurants across the city have already shuttered voluntarily due to concerns about rising COVID cases.

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