Back in Broadway’s pre-COVID days, April would always be a busy month, with numerous shows jostling to officially open before the deadline to be eligible for the Tony Awards at the end of April. However, this coming April looks like it will be the busiest ever.
In recent weeks, many upcoming shows have pushed back their first preview and opening night dates in the hope of waiting out the performance cancellations and declining grosses caused by the Omicron variant, including “Paradise Square,” “Mr. Saturday Night,” “The Minutes,” “For Colored Girls…,” and “The Little Prince.”
As of now, no less than 14 shows will open on Broadway in April, including “Paradise Square” (April 3), “Take Me Out” (April 4), “Birthday Candles” (April 10), “The Little Prince” (April 11), “American Buffalo” (April 14), “The Minutes” (April 17), “How I Learned to Drive” (April 19), “For Colored Girls…” (April 20), “Hangmen” (April 21), “Funny Girl” (April 24), “The Skin Of Our Teeth” (April 25), “A Strange Loop” (April 26), “Mr. Saturday Night” (April 27), and “Macbeth” (April 28). By comparison, only 19 shows are currently running on Broadway.
Not only that, “Mrs. Doubtfire” will return from its winter hiatus on March 15, “Plaza Suite” will open on March 28, and “Beetlejuice” will resume performances on Broadway on April 8.
If concerns over COVID remain the same in a few weeks’ time, and if and attendance and tourism are still down, many of the new shows will likely find themselves struggling and competing for a reduced number of audience members.
On Tuesday, it was announced that Martin McDonagh’s black comedy “Hangmen,” which was in previews at the time of the shutdown in March 2020, will return to Broadway in April. Soon after the shutdown began, the show’s producers announced that it would not reopen. However, industry insiders had been expecting the show to return since it received a significant amount of Shuttered Venue Operators Grant money.
When “Hangmen” played Off-Broadway in 2018, it starred Mark Addy (Robert Baratheon on “Game of Thrones”) and Johnny Flynn (“Lovesick”). In 2020, the Broadway production was led by Addy and Dan Stevens (Matthew Crawley on “Downton Abbey”). Now, the two main roles will be filled by David Threlfall (“The Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby”) and Alfie Allen (Theon Greyjoy on “Game of Thrones”).
A high-profile, non-Broadway show that could also be a hot ticket will be the acclaimed, contemporary adaptation of “Cyrano de Bergerac” starring Jamie McAvoy (“The Last King of Scotland,” “X-Men”), which will play a limited run at the BAM Harvey Theater beginning April 5.
For those interested in attending a show now rather than later, Broadway Week, in which many shows (including “The Lion King,” “Dear Evan Hansen,” “Moulin Rouge!,” “Hadestown,” “Come From Away” and “Company”) are currently offering 2-for-1 ticket deals, has been extended for two weeks through Feb. 27.
It is also worth noting that next Thursday night will finally mark the opening night of “The Music Man” with Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster, which has been in previews since late December and has weathered performance cancellations due to COVID. In a break with contemporary practice, the show is inviting theater critics to attend on opening night instead of final preview performances, which means that reviews will begin to come out the following day.