Theatergoers got a disheartening reality check this week when producers of Broadway’s “Jagged Little Pill” announced that the hit musical would not reopen following several scrapped performances.
In a statement issued Monday, producers Vivek J. Tiwary, Arvind Ethan David and Eva Price cited the rapidly spreading omicron variant of the coronavirus as the reason for the show’s sudden closure.
“We are dismayed by what appears to be another substantial public health crisis, and – due to the detection of multiple positive COVID-19 cases within the company – need to prioritize the health and safety of the cast, crew, and entire team working on ‘Jagged Little Pill,’” they said. “In light of the extreme uncertainty ahead of us this winter, and forced to choose between continuing performances and protecting our company, we’ve made the difficult decision to close our doors.”
“Jagged Little Pill,” which opened on Broadway in 2019, uses songs from Alanis Morissette’s 1995 album of the same name to relay a 21st century parable about mental health, sexuality, racism and addiction. The show earned glowing reviews and went on to receive 15 Tony Award nominations, winning two.
The musical had been dark since Friday, when producers said a “limited number” of cast members within the company had tested positive for COVID-19. Performances were initially set to resume on Tuesday.
The announcement makes “Jagged Little Pill” the first major Broadway casualty of the omicron surge. In November, the comedy “Chicken & Biscuits” also closed early due to COVID-19, and last week, the Radio City Rockettes scrapped the remainder of their Christmas performances after multiple company members tested positive. Shows such as “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” and “Aladdin” have also announced Christmas week cancellations, but they’re set to return later this month.
Sadly, it’s the kind of plot twist theatergoers were hoping to avoid after last year’s devastation. Like “Hamilton,” “Dear Evan Hansen” and other hits, “Jagged Little Pill” had only just resumed performances this fall following an unprecedented 18-month closure intended to curb the initial spread of the coronavirus. Collectively, the shutdown of all 41 Broadway theaters led to an estimated loss of $35 million per week.
Fans of “Jagged Little Pill,” however, can take solace in the fact that plans for future productions will be announced “in the new year,” according to the producers’ statement. Additionally, Tiwary, David and Price said they “intend to find a way” to remount the show on Broadway “once the current crisis is past.”