Broadway coronavirus updates: emergency relief agreement for union employees and two major shows that will not go on

The coronavirus has upended the old maxim “The show must go on.” It was just announced that two major productions, which had been suspended through April 12, after playing a number of preview performances, will not open even after the pandemic is over. Also as a result of the indefinite period that Broadway union employees will be out of work, The Broadway League has reached an agreement for providing temporary emergency relief.

Producers of the Broadway revival of Edward Albee’s iconic drama Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, starring Laurie Metcalf and Rupert Everett, have announced that the show, directed by Joe Mantello and originally set to open at the Booth Theatre on April 9, will not continue when Broadway resumes performances after the coronavirus shutdown. The cancellation, following the government-mandated suspension after nine preview performances, is due to the cast’s subsequent scheduling conflicts. Representatives of the production request that you please contact your point of purchase for ticket refund information.

Another casualty of the coronavirus is Martin McDonagh’s dark comedy Hangmen, which had been scheduled to open at the Golden Theatre on March 19, following thirteen preview performances there and previous sold-out runs on London’s West End and in its US premiere with Atlantic Theater Company. But the Broadway production of the Olivier Award-winning Best Play has, too, been closed without ever opening. According to the producers, “Because of the current health crisis which has created circumstances beyond our control, it is with deep regret that we are not able to resume performances . . . Given our show’s budget and capitalization, we do not have the economic resources to be able to continue to pay the theater owners, cast and crew through this still undefined closure period.” The production advises that ticket purchases made by credit card through Telecharge, TKTS, TDF, or at the Golden box office will be automatically refunded; for cash transactions and other refunds, please return to your point of sale.

In related economic news, The Broadway League, producers, theater owners, and general managers have reached an emergency relief agreement with fourteen Broadway unions to provide employees with pay and health insurance for a period of two and a half weeks during the current suspension of all Broadway shows through April 12. Should the shutdown continue beyond that date as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, the parties are open to renegotiating an extension of health-care benefits at that time.

We will continue to provide updates about the effects of the coronavirus on Broadway as they develop.

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Deb Miller
Deb Miller (PhD, Art History) is the Senior Correspondent and Editor for New York City, where she grew up seeing every show on Broadway. She is an active member of the Outer Critics Circle and served for more than a decade as a Voter, Nominator, and Judge for the Barrymore Awards for Excellence in Theatre. Outside of her home base in NYC, she has written and lectured extensively on the arts and theater throughout the world (including her many years in Amsterdam, London, and Venice, and her extensive work and personal connections with Andy Warhol and his circle) and previously served as a lead writer for Stage Magazine, Phindie, and Central Voice.


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