Al Pacino is obviously not worried about endearing himself to New York’s theater critics. On Thursday, a press rep for the staged reading of “Salome” on Broadway called to inform critics attending the Saturday night performance that there was a “significant chance” that Pacino wouldn’t be showing up.
Critics were given the choice of rescheduling. But with two other Broadway shows — “Gyspy” and “Enchanted April” — also giving press performances over the weekend, it was a particularly inopportune time to expect last-minute scheduling changes. The Saturday-night perf was one of only three choices given to critics in the first place.
No specific reason was given for Pacino’s absence from what was presumably a heavily sold performance. (In the event that Pacino misses performances, the show will not perform.) Illness seems an unlikely explanation, unless of course it’s a previously scheduled one. Maybe stars get those.
Later in the day, publicist John Barlow called to say that Pacino would be going on after all.
“There was a possibility that a pre-existing commitment would take him out of the show on Saturday, so in consideration of the critics’ needs I felt it best to offer them the chance to see another performance,” he said.
In fact, it’s been a bad week for name players on Broadway. Bernadette Peters, headlining “Gypsy,” missed four performances due to illness. She struggled through the weekend performances before canceling the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday shows. Peters was back onstage Thursday night, just two nights before critics were invited to review the show.