McCollum’s move, which will allow production to stop paying salaries and most other expenses, is a new Broadway response to Omicron’s push, but has a parallel in London, where Andrew Lloyd Webber has has closed its new musical “Cinderella” for at least seven weeks. (It is slated to reopen on February 9.)
“Ms. Doubtfire,” like all Broadway shows, has been hit by the coronavirus pandemic. The production, in development for years and capitalized for $ 17 million, had only had three premieres in March 2020 when Broadway closed; it was closed for 19 months before resuming premieres in October, then opened in December, supported by a nearly $ 10 million grant from the Small Business Administration.
The show open to lukewarm reviews – and a pan in the New York Times – but sales were promising nonetheless, McCollum said, until the Omicron variant, which was detected in New York City just days before opening, caused a spike in cases coronavirus. (The Broadway League has stopped reporting box office revenue on a show-by-show basis, making it difficult to track a production’s highs and lows with precision.)
As coronavirus cases spread among Broadway workers, “Mrs. Doubtfire ”had to cancel 11 performances during the normally lucrative holiday season, continuing to pay workers while losing all box office income. And then, McCollum said, the show, like many others, faced a high number of consumers canceling their tickets at the last minute due to security concerns, confusion over what was still open and difficulties. to comply with the vaccination rules. (“Mrs. Doubtfire” is a family show, so she is particularly affected by the evolving mandates of immunization for children.)
“You ask me to plant a sapling in a hurricane,” McCollum said.
As long as “Ms. Doubtfire” is open, her expenses are approximately $ 700,000 per week, whether or not the performances actually take place, as employees are paid even if a performance is canceled. And expenses have increased recently due to the increase in testing, as well as the additional costs associated with maintaining a show when staff members test positive.