When Broadway closed its doors on March 12 due to the coronavirus pandemic, The Great White Way saw closures and rescheduling that would mark the longest shutdown in history and create a monumental economic impact.
Now, Hugh Jackman’s Broadway comeback of “The Music Man” has rescheduled preview performances and the opening night until April 7, 2021 and May 20, respectively, according to an announcement by producers Scott Rudin, Barry Diller and David Geffen on Wednesday. Rehearsals will begin on February 8, 2021.
Other shows did not make it, with “Beetlejuice,” “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf,” and “Hangmen” shutting their doors. Postponements include “Birthday Candles,” “Caroline, or Change,” “Flying Over Sunset,” “How I Learned to Drive,” “MJ” and “Plaza Suite” with Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker. The closures could cost as much as $500 million, according to analysts.
For “The Music Man,” Jackman will still star as con-man Professor Harold Hill, who travels to River City and convinces local musicians to buy uniforms and instruments from him in order to start a band. River City librarian Marian Paroo (Sutton Foster), who catches on to his plan, becomes Hill’s love interest, and Hill is forced to choose between love or money.
The preview performances of “The Music Man” were originally set for Sept. 9 2020 with an opening for Oct. 15 of this year.
“We’re obviously profoundly disappointed to be unable to start rehearsals for ‘The Music Man’ as scheduled. But safety is safety, and it has to take precedence over every other consideration – for both our audience and for our company,” said Rudin in a statement.
“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.”
Jackman expressed his excitement to portray Hill on The Great White Way, reprising a role that earned Robert Preston a Tony award for best actor in a musical in 1957. “The Music Man” won an additional four Tonys including best musical, and the original cast album held the number one spot on Billboard charts and stayed on the charts for 245 weeks. It also won the first Grammy Award for best original cast album.
“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,” said Jackman in a statement. “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!”
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