Saturday, May 25, 2024

Two Broadway Productions Close Before They Open Because of Corona Virus: “The Hangmen,” Revival of “Virginia Woolf”


Trump Virus has laid claim to two Broadway productions that would have opened for this season but now never will.

The worst news is that Martin McDonagh’s “The Hangmen,” which already a triumphant run off Broadway, has packed up and gone home. I swear, this show is jinxed. After its run with star Johnny Flynn at the Atlantic Theatre Company it was supposed to open on Broadway two years ago.

But nothing worked out. Flynn said his wife was pregnant and had to return to the UK. The play ended its run and didn’t return. This production would have starred Dan Stevens, who left “Downton Abbey” after three seasons playing Matthew Crawley. This might have been a good comeback for him. Well, maybe one day we’ll see “The Hangmen,” which I loved, on Broadway at last. The sad part is, it probably would have won the Tony Award for Best Play.

DOA is Scott Rudin’s revival of “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” starring Laurie Metcalf and Rupert Everett. I can’t say I was ginned up see another revival of this play so soon. Rudin has now developed this meme of bringing in Metcalf for the spring season, pick up a Tony nomination or win, and then close soon after. (Last year it was that Hillary and Bill thing with John Lithgow.) Now the closure happened before the show opened. This was a strange cast anyway, with Everett replacing Eddie Izzard.

The Tony Awards, meantime, are looking less and less possible for June 7th since shows are dropping out and the temporary closure of Broadway seems like it may not end on April 12th. What a mess for everyone who works on Broadway or in any form of theater and depends on it as a livelihood. But why not have the Tonys in the late fall to spur business for Christmas?

I do think the next announcement we’ll get is for “Beetlejuice,” which was going to close anyway as it was supposed to lose its theater. It will be too bad if that excellent cast and production don’t get to a farewell week. It’s hoped they’ll be back sometime soon.


Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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