amBroadway | COVID strikes Broadway again,  ‘Mrs. Doubtfire’ finds new kids and more

Phillipa Soo (foreground) in the world premiere musical Suffs, with book, music, and lyrics by Shaina Taub, music direction and music supervision by Andrea Grody, choreography by Raja Feather Kelly, and direction by Leigh Silverman at The Public Theater.
Photo: Joan Marcus

COVID infections strike Broadway again

COVID-19 has not been kind to Broadway’s busiest times. After causing havoc during the lucrative winter holidays, it is now making its presence known as numerous shows get ready to officially open before the end of April. Generally speaking, shows are in a better position today to go forward with performances in spite of cast and company members testing positive because producers have invested in more backup support. However, if a show is a star-vehicle and the star is sidelined, or if it is in previews and understudies and swings have not yet been readied, the show is more likely to need to pause performances.

Daniel Craig, who is currently playing the title character in “Macbeth,” tested positive last weekend, just days following the production’s first preview performance. Performances have been canceled since last Friday night and are expected to resume on Friday, April 8. At “Plaza Suite,” Matthew Broderick tested positive this week. For now, the production will go forward with his standby, Tony winner Michael McGrath, playing opposite Sarah Jessica Parker. The new musical “Strange Loop” had to cancel its first preview performance on Wednesday due to positive cases.

It is also affecting Off-Broadway. “Suffs,” a new musical at the Public Theater about the women who fought for the right to vote, had to cancel its Tuesday night performance due to positive tests among the cast, including Shaina Taub, who also wrote the show. “Ugh. it’s true. I’m sick with stupid covid,” Taub wrote on social media.

Parents, prepare for ‘PAW Patrol Live!’ at MSG

Many parents have mixed feelings about “PAW Patrol,” as best demonstrated by a recent “Saturday Night Live” sketch which imagines the real-life implications of having a town’s municipal services handled by a group of puppies with high-tech gadgets. Nevertheless, their children are likely to get a kick out of “PAW Patrol Live!,” which will play the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden this weekend. Ahead of the performances, cast members posed with NYPD wellness dogs at the Midtown South Precinct and with rescue dogs at Acme Dog Run in Brooklyn.

 ‘Mrs. Doubtfire’ finds new kids

When “Mrs. Doubtfire” opened on Broadway back in December, one couldn’t help but notice that Avery Sell and Jake Ryan Flynn, the actors playing children Natalie and Christopher Hillard, looked as if they had outgrown their roles, assumedly due to the fact that they were cast before the shutdown occurred in March 2020. When the show returns from hiatus on April 14, their roles will be taken over by Austin Elle Fisher and Ava Gail Prince (alternating as Natalie) and Titus Landegger and Tyler Wladis (alternating as Christopher). One has to give credit to the show’s producers for allowing Sell and Flynn to open the show and appear on the original cast album.

 ‘Unofficial Bridgerton Musical’ wins Grammy

In an unlikely turn of events at the Grammy Awards, 19-year-old Emily Bear and 22-year-old Abigail Barlow won the award for best musical theater album over “The Unofficial Bridgerton Musical,” which was developed on TikTok, over new albums with songs by Bob Dylan (“Girl from the North Country”), Andrew Lloyd Webber (“Cinderella”), Stephen Schwartz (“Snapshots”), and Burt Bacharach “Some Lovers”). The 38-minute album (which is available for streaming) includes such songs as “Tis the Season,” “Lady Whistledown,” and “Burn for You.”