In what might be the harshest of the Covid Broadway cancellations, MJ, the new Michael Jackson musical, will not return to Broadway’s Neil Simon Theatre until Monday, Dec. 27, an announcement that wipes out the show’s opportunity for the lucrative pre-Christmas and Christmas Day box office.
In a tweeted statement, producers said, “As a result of multiple positive COVID test results within the company, and out of an abundance of caution, ‘MJ’ is canceling all performances through December 26th. Previews will resume Monday, December 27.”
The MJ announcement is the most far-reaching of the recent surge in Covid cancellations, which this week have tended toward one or two immediate performances followed by night-by-night decisions on further cancellations.
MJ’s 10-day shutdown is more in keeping with last month’s temporary shutdown of Chicken & Biscuits, the Douglas Lyons comedy at Circle in the Square that paused production from Nov. 9-19 due to breakthrough Covid cases. (Chicken & Biscuits subsequently closed permanently later that month, with producers citing the devastating financial impact of the Covid cancellations.
Though box office figures for individual shows are not available from the Broadway League this season, Chicken & Biscuits was thought to have been struggling at the box office even before the cancellations, which isn’t the case with MJ. The Michael Jackson musical, with a book by two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage, a score of Jackson hits and a starring performance by newcomer Myles Frost, has been playing to sold-out houses since beginning previews on Dec. 6. The musical is directed and choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon.
The MJ cancellations follow earlier announcements today that both Moulin Rouge! and Hamilton have canceled their Broadway performances for tonight, Friday Dec. 17, due to breakthrough Covid cases or positive test results. Today’s cancellations – there could well be more as the day goes on – are the latest in Broadway’s new wave of Covid-caused pauses this week. Jagged Little Pill, Mrs. Doubtfire, and Tina – The Tina Turner Musical all canceled performances this week due to the surge in Covid cases.
The cancellation surge arrives as New York City grapples with the emergence of the very contagious omicron variant.
As a result of multiple positive COVID test results within the company, and out of an abundance of caution, “MJ” is canceling all performances through December 26th. Previews will resume Monday, December 27. pic.twitter.com/neoyLJUGi5
— MJ (@MJtheMusical) December 17, 2021
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