The hits just keep coming. And not in a good way.
The buzzy Broadway revival of The Music Man, starring Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster, has cancelled performances through January 2, as Jackman has tested positive for Covid-19 and must isolate for at least five days, according to new CDC guidance. The production had only just started a ballyhooed run after initially announcing in 2019.
Jackman isn’t the first in the show to test positive, either: Foster bowed out for several performances last week when she contracted the virus. It’s unclear how many company members now have it in addition to the two headliners.
Since both stars are out until next week, the production is offering refunds, as many buyers came specifically to see them. Jackman is among the most bankable stage stars in the industry, if not the world, and was the prime driver of more than $20 million in advance sales when the show was announced, according to a production rep. One outlet reported a single seat selling for over $11,700 on the secondary market.
Much of that total advance has likely been preserved, as the production continually rescheduled tickets throughout the pandemic, rather than issuing blanket refunds as many other shows did. In other words, a weeklong hiatus will not pose the same kind of financial hurdle as it might for other shows, eight of which have now announced permanent closures amid the Omicron surge.
Other aspects of The Music Man are brand new since its announcement, not least of which is the ouster of lead producer Scott Rudin, who has since been ostracized from the industry for abusive behavior toward employees. British producer Kate Horton has taken over the company as executive producer.
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The Music Man now joins almost two dozen Broadway shows that have cancelled recent performances due to insurmountable Covid cases within the company. All Broadway workers must be fully vaccinated, and given the protective effects of available vaccines, no reported cases have resulted in hospitalizations. However, even mild symptoms can knock workers out for days at a time, and if the company doesn’t have enough understudies to take over on short notice, the show can’t go on.