It is, indeed, a whole new world.
The producers of the hit Disney musical Aladdin have decided to put the genie back in the bottle. They called off a Friday night performance after breakthrough cases of COVID-19 were reported in the show’s company. Shows are canceled through Oct. 12, according to the Associated Press.
Aladdin marks the first pandemic-related closure on Broadway since the heralded reopening of shows beginning in late summer. (Springsteen on Broadway opened earlier.) Aladdin, which is at Disney’s crown jewel New Amsterdam Theater on 42nd St., opened on Tuesday but was shut down Wednesday when regular testing spotted breakthrough cases. The footlights were back up on Thursday, but, as the AP put it, “Friday proved too much.”
Dr. Blythe Adamson, an epidemiologist working with Disney Theatrical Productions, released a statement noting that a 12-day break provides ample time for those with breakthrough cases to recover, and for any other potential breakthroughs in the company to be identified. Her suspicion is that the current, multiple infections stem from a single exposure to a positive case, she said.
The CDC states that people with breakthrough cases, meaning COVID infections that occur despite vaccination, are “less likely to develop serious illness.” Vaccinations “work well against the Delta variant [of COVID-19], particularly in preventing severe disease and hospitalization.”
Aladdin, with music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Howard Ashman, Tim Rice, and Chad Beguelin, and a book by Beguelin, is based on the 1992 animated film of the same name, which is loosely (extremely loosely) based on One Thousand and One Nights. It first opened on Broadway in March 2014 at the 1,700+ capacity, 117-year-old New Amsterdam Theater. It is reportedly the ninth-highest-grossing show in Great White Way history. Though nominated for five Tonys (and in all the big categories), only James Monroe Iglehart has won one, garnering Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical for his role as the Genie.
The same day Aladdin announced its decision to go dark for 12 days, the Broadway League extended its current coronavirus protocols through the end of the year. All patrons over 12 must be vaccinated, all patrons under 12 must be tested, and everyone must be masked for the duration of a show.
Refunds for Aladdin ticket holders are available at the point of purchase, according to Playbill.com.
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