COVID Catastrophe on Live Events: Broadway


Timothy Neesam (GumshoePhotos)

Robert Gruszka, Journalist

It’s been almost 700 days since Covid-19 initially shut down live events and gatherings across America and the world. With Covid-19 at an all-time high and cold and flu season at its peak, live events are starting to have more restrictions and some are even shutting down. 

One of the places seeing a lot of these impacts is the theater community, especially Broadway. Throughout December, most of the Broadway shows went on a several-day shutdown. Some of these shows that were coming to the end of their run on Broadway shut down early and others announced closing dates sooner than expected. Mrs. Doubtfire the New Musical Comedy announced that it would be closed from January 10th, with plans of reopening on March 14th, leaving 115 employees out of work for the hiatus. With several actors being out every day, swings and understudies have been put under more pressure than ever before. Many of them are going on stage in front of an audience with little rehearsal time for several roles that they have memorized. In The Music Man starring Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster, Kathy Voytko, a swing, had to go on for Sutton Foster. She found out in the early afternoon that she would be going on as Marian Paroo, the female lead, and had a small rehearsal before the evening show. There are shows like Wicked, which were able to have actors who had previously played a role come back and perform so that they could keep the show open. Carla Stickler, who hadn’t played the role of Elphaba since 2015 after stepping away from acting, flew in from Chicago and went on for Elphaba. All of these changes in the acting industry are traced back to Covid, and they are affecting more industries than acting alone. Stay tuned for the next articles in this series on live concerts and sports!