There are ‘no plans’ to shut down Broadway even as Covid cases lead to canceled performances, theater group says

People pass by posters for Broadway shows in Times Square amid the coronavirus pandemic on March 30, 2021 in New York City.
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Broadway won’t be shutting down despite at least two closed productions and a string of Covid-related cancellations, a theater group said Tuesday.

“At the present time, there are no plans to shut down Broadway,” said Charlotte St. Martin, president of the Broadway League, the national trade association for the theater industry.

Nine shows were postponed on Tuesday, including “The Lion King,” “Dear Evan Hansen,” “Ain’t Too Proud” and “Hadestown,” and many of them won’t reopen after Christmas. St. Martin noted that 21 other performances are expected to run Tuesday night.

“We have the strongest protocols in theater today and we are ensuring their adherence every day,” she said. “The posting of shows on a daily basis shows that the protocols work. We test, and if the tests are positive, the show doesn’t go on and the cast and crew then are protected from further contact.”

St. Martin said that the group’s epidemiologists are working to determine if there are any protocols that need to be updated or changed.

Broadway has taken precautions to ensure that workers and audience members are vaccinated and patrons are required to wear masks during performances. In many cases, the company members and workers who have tested positive have been asymptomatic or have shown only mild symptoms. But they are not allowed to return to Broadway until they are considered no longer contagious.

In some instances, productions have been able to continue even if a cast member tests positive for Covid-19, with understudies or swing players taking their place.

So far, “Jagged Little Pill” is the only musical that has announced it will cease production amid New York City’s omicron surge. It joins the comedic play “Chicken & Biscuits,” which closed at the end of November due to coronavirus concerns.

The highly infectious omicron variant has emerged as the dominant coronavirus strain and pushed the number of new cases in the U.S. to its highest levels in months. The rise in cases in New York has been particularly pronounced, with the number of new infections soarng more than 80% over the past two weeks.