amBroadway: Westchester Broadway Theatre shuts down, NYC Ballet delays opening to 2021 and more

A Geffen Playhouse production of “A Christmas Carol.”
Photo: Chris Whitaker

Westchester Broadway Theatre shuts down

The Westchester Broadway Theatre, a dinner theater in Elmsford which has produced full-scale productions of classic and contemporary musicals with professional casts for 46 years, has become the latest casualty of COVID-19. The theater’s founders confirmed this week that it will not reopen. Not only that, the building will be converted into a warehouse. “All Shook Up,” the Elvis Presley jukebox musical, opened at the theater in March right before the shutdown began. One of its best-known productions over the years was of Maury Yeston’s “Phantom,” which is based on the same source material as Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Phantom of the Opera.”

NYC Ballet delays return until next fall

The New York City Ballet, which had already canceled its annual run of “The Nutcracker,” has now confirmed that it will not return to Lincoln Center until at least September 2021, creating a projected financial loss of more than $45 million in ticket sales. The company had previously left open the possibility of it having some kind of live spring season. Looking ahead, the 2021-22 season will last 21 weeks and include six world premiere ballets, the annual fashion gala, a 50th anniversary celebration of the 1972 Stravinsky Festival and the return of “The Nutcracker.” In the meantime, the company is offering streaming performances and workshops.

Small theaters bring lawsuit seeking reopening date

A group of small Off-Broadway theaters (including the Soho Playhouse, Theater Center, Players Theater and Actors’ Temple Theatre) have filed a class action lawsuit in federal court against Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio to demand a firm date when they can reopen – even if it is at only 25 percent capacity. In the Complaint filed in U.S. District Court, the theaters allege that there is no longer any legal justification to shut down small theaters, especially  since other venues have been permitted to reopen at limited capacity such as malls, casinos, churches, restaurants, gyms, schools and catering halls.

Jefferson Mays to star in one-man ‘Christmas Carol’

Had the pandemic not occurred, Tony-winning actor Jefferson Mays (“I Am My Own Wife”) would be on Broadway right now playing Mayor Shinn in “The Music Man” alongside Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster. Instead, Mays will star in a one-man adaptation of “A Christmas Carol,” which will be made available for streaming beginning Nov. 28. Ticket sales will be used to raise money for various regional theaters including NJ’s George Street Playhouse. “In a time when theaters and arts workers across the country are in great need, bringing a story that celebrates the power of creativity, community, and our shared humanity is humbling,” director Michael Arden said in a statement. The adaptation previously played LA’s Geffen Playhouse in 2018. 

This week’s streaming recommendations…

“Dracula” (Norm Lewis stars in radio adaptation by Orson Welles), Fri and Sat, resounding.live…”Sovereignty” (courtroom drama by Cherokee lawyer and playwright Mary Kathryn Nagle), Fri and Sun, tfana.org…”Russian Troll Farm: A Workplace Comedy” (imagines the daily lives of professional internet trolls), through Mon, russiantrollfarm.com. 

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