When New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo closed Broadway theaters on March 12, 2020, in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the New York theater scene was heating up ahead of the Tony Awards -- with 31 shows playing and another eight scheduled to begin performances by mid-April. Now the theaters will remain dark until at least September -- and the Tony Awards have been postponed indefinitely. But the uncertainty of when theaters (and Broadway-bound tourists) might return has forced some producers to close shows early -- or push new productions to sometime in the future.
Martin McDonagh’s new comedy, starring Dan Stevens ("Downton Abbey") and Mark Addy ("Game of Thrones"), announced March 20 it would not reopen after playing 13 preview performances ahead of an expected March 19 official opening.
Closed: "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?"
The revival of Edward Albee's classic drama, starring Laurie Metcalf and Rupert Everett, had played just nine preview performances before Broadway went dark. With the scheduled April 9 official opening off the table, producers decided to close the show on March 21.
Postponed: "Flying Over Sunset"
The new musical by composer Tom Kitt ("Next to Normal," pictured), lyricist Michael Korie ("Grey Gardens") and book writer James Lapine ("Into the Woods") was scheduled to begin performances on March 12 ahead of an official April 16 opening. On March 24, the Lincoln Center Theater announced the show's opening would be pushed to the fall -- and then in June pushed it back until spring 2021.
Postponed: "Birthday Candles"
Noah Haidle's play, starring Debra Messing and Andre Braugher, was due to begin performances in early April. But on March 25, Roundabout Theatre Company announced it would open this fall instead.
Postponed: "Caroline, or Change"
Roundabout also delayed the opening of its revival of the Jeanine Tesori-Tony Kushner musical "Caroline, or Change," starring Sharon D. Clarke in an Olivier Award-winning performance. The show had been set for an April 7 opening at Studio 54.
Postponed: "How I Learned to Drive"
Manhattan Theatre Club announced on April 7 it was postponing a Mary-Louise Parker-led revival of "How I Learned to Drive" to the 2020-21 season. The Pulitzer-winning drama, with David Morse as co-star, was due to open April 22, just before the cutoff for this year's Tony Awards.
The Tony-nominated musical was being evicted from the Winter Garden Theatre on June 6 (even though ticket sales had dramatically improved over the fall and winter). Now producers are hoping to find a new theater when Broadway opens up, though there's no guarantee that will happen. The adaptation of Tim Burton's 1988 movie played played 27 previews and 366 regular performances.
Postponed: "Plaza Suite"
A new revival of Neil Simon's comedy starring Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick will now play March 19, 2021 through July 18, 2021. The show had been expected to begin previews at the Hudson Theater on March 13, the day after theaters were shut down.
The new Michael Jackson musical, starring Tony nominee Ephraim Sykes as the late King of Pop, had been planning to begin performances in July for an August opening. But now it's pushed back its debut to next spring, with a new opening night set for April 15, 2021.
Disney's stage version of the animated hit "Frozen" became the first long-running show to close due to the pandemic. The Tony-nominated show opened in March 2018 and played 825 performances and 26 previews.
Postponed: "The Music Man"
A new revival of the classic musical starring Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster was set to begin performances in September for an official opening on Oct. 15. But in June, the production announced that the opening night would be pushed back to
Photo: Joan Marcus
Closed: "Mean Girls"
The musical, which Tina Fey and Jeff Richmond adapted from Fey's 2004 movie, opened in April 2018 and played 805 performances before the pandemic shut it down. On Jan. 7, 2011, producers announced the show would not reopen.
Postponed: The Tony Awards
Since there's no word yet on when Broadway performances might resume, the Broadway League on March 25 indefinitely postponed this year's Tony Awards, which had been scheduled for June 7 at Radio City Music Hall. Though nominations were announced in October 2020, no date has been set for the ceremony.