Thursday, July 25, 2024

Smoke leads to cancellations of “Hamilton” on Broadway and “Hamlet” in Central Park


As smoke from Canadian wildfires blanketed New York City and seeped into theaters, alarming ticket holders and performers, Broadway productions of “Hamilton” and “Camelot,” as well as Shakespeare in Park’s production of “Hamlet,” canceled performances.

Hamilton announced at 6:45 p.m. that he was canceling his 8 p.m. show on Wednesday because several cast members had called in sick.

“Hamilton’s performance tonight will not proceed as scheduled,” production spokesman Shane Marshall-Brown said in a statement. “Hazardous New York City air quality has made it impossible for a number of our artists to perform this evening.”

Around the same time, Lincoln Center Theatre announce and that its Broadway revival of “Camelot” also canceled its Wednesday night showing; “The impact of air quality has had on our artists,” spokeswoman Julianna Hannett noted.

“Shucked,” a new musical, planned a concert-style performance, featuring composer Brandi Clarke, after several of the cast were called sick for reasons a spokesperson said were partly unrelated to air quality.

The Public Theater canceled the final dress rehearsal of “Hamlet” on Wednesday night, and said the loss of rehearsal time plus ongoing concerns about air quality led him to cancel the first two scheduled previews of the play, on Thursday and Friday.

Broadway theater owners and producers held an emergency meeting Wednesday afternoon to discuss the impact of deteriorating air quality, but, given that many sponsors and performers were already there for the evening’s shows, decided to allow any shows that could go on with their performances that night. There were 31 performances originally scheduled to run in Broadway theaters on Wednesday nights; Due to upgrades made in response to the coronavirus pandemic, theaters have air filtration systems that are supposed to be able to reduce pollutants.

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“Broadway remains open this evening and most shows are scheduled,” Charlotte St. Martin, president of the Broadway League, said in a statement.

The decision came as air quality levels in New York reached record levels of unhealthy, and with several organizations, including the New York Yankees, canceling events — at first mostly outdoors, but then, as the haze settled, Indoors too.

The smoke affected live shows in New York for more than 24 hours. On Tuesday night, the Public Theater cut short an art rehearsal of “Hamlet,” citing air quality concerns, and then Little Island, a small park built on the Hudson River, canceled its art-making activities on Wednesday mornings.

Broadway felt its first major impact shortly after 2 p.m., when actress Jodie Comer halted her popular (and physically demanding) one-man show, “Prima Vasi,” just 10 minutes after it started, saying she was having trouble breathing. Resuming the show with her co-star, Comer returned to perform on Wednesday night.

There have been many other shows that have been canceled as government officials have begun to speak loudly about the health risks of going out. Vineyard Theatre performance cancellation From her new play ‘This Land Was Made’. New York Life Arts has canceled a Times Square dance performance by the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company. and BRIC, an arts organization based in Brooklyn, Opening night cancelled from the Brooklyn Celebration Festival, which was to include a concert led by Taj Mahal and Corinne Bailey Ray.



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