With Broadway currently closed due to the threat of coronavirus, several productions have started to reschedule their runs to the fall. Today, the Roundabout Theatre Company announced that it will shift its spring and summer productions, including the Broadway runs of its revival of Tony Kushner and Jeanine Tesori’s Caroline, or Change starring Sharon D. Clarke at Studio 54, and Noah Haidle’s Birthday Candles, starring Debra Messing at the American Airlines Theatre, into fall 2020. Both productions were yet to start performances this spring before the shutdown, and according to the Roundabout, both Clarke and Messing will return for the runs in the fall.
The Roundabout is following in the footsteps of Lincoln Center Theater, which announced yesterday that it would reschedule its spring productions of Flying Over Sunset, the James Lapine–Tom Kitt–Michael Korie Broadway musical about LSD experimentation in the 1950s, and Intimate Apparel, the Off Broadway opera from Ricky Ian Gordon, Lynn Nottage, and Bartlett Sher into the fall. Theoretically, Broadway theaters have all shut down until April 13, as ordered by Governor Andrew Cuomo, but the theater shutdown will inevitably last longer, given the indefinite status of the closure of New York’s other businesses. LCT and the Roundabout have the money and subscriber base to absorb the economic shock caused by the shutdown, but two commercial productions have already folded in the wake of the news: Martin McDonagh’s Hangmen with Dan Stevens and the revival of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? starring Laurie Metcalf, both of which were yet to open on Broadway. The status of the Tony Awards, which would typically take place in early June after all of the major Broadway productions open in March and April, is unclear.
In addition to postponing its major shows, the Roundabout also announced its other scheduling plans. It will present Jiréh Breon Holder’s …what the end will be, scheduled to run this spring Off Broadway, in 2021; Dave Harris’s Exception to the Rule, scheduled to play the Roundabout Underground this spring, will also be moved to spring 2021. The Roundabout is still planning to go ahead with the rest of its announced 2020–21 season, including a revival of 1776 next spring.
“Our desire is to provide certainty and confidence to our artists, staff and audiences that we will come back from this hiatus with a full season,” Roundabout’s artistic director and CEO Todd Haimes said in a statement. “We are committed to the future of the theatre and its long-term sustainability in this crisis. Moving planned productions to dates certain in the fall protects the health and safety of everyone while ensuring employment for our staff and artists, creating clarity for our subscribers and donors, and providing a clear production timeline that allows everyone — on stage and off — to strategically plan to support the beautiful work coming to our stages in 20-21.” During the shutdown, Roundabout says that it is also building remote-learning programs and working to provide subscribers and ticket holders “the opportunity to experience” 72 Miles to Go…, which closed early for the shutdown, digitally.