Broadway’s ‘The Music Man’, ‘Flying Over Sunset’ Postponed Until 2021 Amid Speculation Of Theater Shutdown Extension – Update

Flying Over Sunset
Carmen Cusack 'Flying Over Sunset' rehearsals Broadway World/Shutterstock

UPDATE, with Music Man confirmation Producers Scott Rudin, Barry Diller and David Geffen confirmed today that The Music Man Broadway revival starring Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster has been postponed until next spring, making the musical the second Broadway postponement announced today.

“We’re obviously profoundly disappointed to be unable to start rehearsals for The Music Man as scheduled,” said Rudin in a statement. “But safety is safety, and it has to take precedence over every other consideration – for both our audience and for our company. Despite the postponement, we are sticking together as a company, and we are grateful to be able to do so. And so we look forward arriving at The Winter Garden – with a beautiful, heartening Music Man in tow – at the beginning of April, and to being just one part of what we expect will once again be a vibrant and exciting Broadway.”

The Music Man had been set to begin performances this Fall, and will now start previews on  Wednesday, April 7, 2021, with opening night scheduled for Thursday, May 20 at the Winter Garden Theatre. Rehearsals will commence on Monday, February 8.

In a statement, Jackman said, “Performing on Broadway is a great honor for an actor; in fact, one of the greatest. No two shows are exactly alike, in large part due to the audience. Show One is filled with anticipation, fear and excitement. It’s like an opening night 8 times a week; the energy in the theater is palpable. It is those same feelings that happen every show thereafter – and you and I are going through it together. The change of dates will not take any of that away. What it will do, however, is help to ensure that The Music Man audiences, and our company, are in a completely safe environment. Can’t wait for that day!”

The production, directed by Jerry Zaks, with choreography by Warren Carlyle, will also star Jayne Houdyshell, Jefferson Mays, Marie Mullen and Shuler Hensley.

Earlier today, Lincoln Center Theater announced that it will postpone until Spring 2021 two productions it had planned for this Fall, including the James Lapine-directed Broadway musical Flying Over Sunset, due to the ongoing COVID-19 shutdown.

The postponements come as Broadway insiders tell Deadline they expect an imminent extension of the shutdown through Jan. 3, 2021. The Broadway League, the trade group representing theater owners and producers, has not officially extended the shutdown period beyond the current Sept. 6, the date through which already-purchased Broadway tickets can be refunded or exchanged. (The date is not an official reopening date.)

In addition to Flying Over Sunset, which features music by Tom Kitt and lyrics by Michael Korie, Lincoln Center Theater will postpone its Off Broadway production of new opera Intimate Apparel with music by Ricky Ian Gordon, libretto by Lynn Nottage based on her play, and direction by Bartlett Sher.

Both Intimate Apparel, at Lincoln Center’s Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater, and Flying Over Sunset, at the Vivian Beaumont Theater, were in previews when New York’s shutdown hit in March. Producers had hoped to begin performances in the Fall, but have now pushed the stagings to next spring, specific dates to be determined.

Flying Over Sunset chronicles a meeting between LSD advocates Aldous Huxley, Clare Boothe Luce and Cary Grant. The previously announced cast was Carmen Cusack as Luce, Harry Hadden-Paton as Huxley, and Tony Yazbeck as Grant. Casting news was not included in today postponement announcement.

In its announcement today, Lincoln Center Theater said its decision to postpone was “based on current information regarding Covid-19 and concern for the well-being and safety of its artists, audiences, and staff.” The not-for-profit theater company plans to stage an additional production at its smaller Claire Tow Theater in spring 2021, as well as an additional Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater production in summer 2021.

Broadway’s expected shutdown extension would also impact the planned return engagement of David Byrne’s American Utopia, which had booked a 17-week engagement at the Hudson Theatre from Sept. 18-Jan. 17. The Hudson is booked with Plaza Suite, starring Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker beginning March 19.

Also up in the air are the Roundabout Theatre Company’s Caroline or Change and Birthday Candles.

Live theater is expected to be among the last industries to return to New York, and currently is part of the state’s Phase 4 reopening plan (Phase 2, which allows limited retail operations, outdoor dining and barber and hair salons, among select other businesses, began this week).

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