amBroadway | COVID forces more cancellations, ‘A Case for the Existence of God’ picked as Best Play and more

A Case for the Existence of God
Photo: Emilio Madrid

Once again, positive COVID tests force shows to cancel performances

The theater may want to be done with COVID, but COVID is not done with it. As demonstrated by the City’s once again high COVID alert level, multiple shows had to cancel performances last weekend due to too many cast and company members testing positive, including “Moulin Rouge!” and “The Skin of Our Teeth.” At the Public Theater, the sold-out new Off-Broadway musical “Suffs” has canceled performances through Sunday, May 22. Similarly, MCC has canceled performances of both of its new Off-Broadway productions, “Which Way to the Stage” and “Soft.” At the start of the month, many theaters stopped requiring audience members to provide proof of vaccination status while still requiring face masks. However, actors and other theater professionals are still undergoing regular COVID testing.

Neil Diamond musical set for Broadway

“A Beautiful Noise,” a Neil Diamond bio-jukebox musical, will play Broadway in the fall. The show’s producers confirmed on Wednesday that it will open at the  Broadhurst Theatre on Dec. 4 following an out-of-town run in Boston. The opening will coincide with the 50th anniversary of a series of concerts that Diamond gave in 1972 at Broadway’s Winter Garden Theatre. Will Swenson (“Hair”) is set to play Diamond.

Ben Platt to lead ‘Parade’ at City Center

Ben Platt, who has not appeared on the New York stage since his 2015 star-making, Tony-winning performance in “Dear Evan Hansen,” will headline a seven-performance run of the Jason Robert Brown musical “Parade” in early November at City Center. Platt will play Leo Frank, a real-life figure who was the tragic victim of anti-Semitism in the early 20th century South and wrongfully accused of murder. Since its original 1999 Broadway production, “Parade” has undergone significant revisions and received many regional productions. The City Center production will be directed by Michael Arden (“Once On This Island,” “Spring Awakening”). Micaela Diamond (“The Cher Show”) will play Lucille Frank, Leo’s wife.

Drama Critics’ Circle picks ‘A Case for the Existence of God’ as Best Play

The New York Drama Critics’ Circle (of which I am a member) has named Samuel Hunter’s “A Case for the Existence of God,” which is currently being produced Off-Broadway by Signature Theatre Company, as the Best Play of the 2021-22 season. In the play, a business meeting between two men (who are both fathers of young daughters who go to the same daycare center) about obtaining a mortgage segues into friendship, heartbreak, breakdown, and meditation. The dark musical comedy “Kimberly Akimbo,” which played an acclaimed Off-Broadway run at the Atlantic Theater Company and is slated to transfer to Broadway in the fall, won Best Musical. Special citations were awarded to actor and director Austin Pendleton (who is currently appearing on Broadway in “The Minutes) and playwright Sanaz Toossi (“English,” “Wish You Were Here”).

‘The Music Man’ to sell $76 standing room tickets

When I was in college, I bought a standing room ticket to see Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick in “The Producers “ for about $25 and felt as if I had gotten a pretty good deal (especially compared to the $480 premium tickets). This week, the hit Broadway revival of “The Music Man” announced that it would begin selling standing room tickets for $76 each (the figure obviously referring back to the song “76 Trombones”). While this is still a bargain compared to the show’s average ticket price ($275 last week) and top ticket price ($597), it does make one wonder whether $76 is excessive for standing room. However, it is worth noting that the show also sells $49 partial view rush tickets and subsidized $20 tickets for New York City students and teachers. 

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