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Waitress the Musical Closing on Broadway Ahead of Schedule Due to Surge of COVID Cases

Waitress the Musical Closing on Broadway Ahead of Schedule Due to Surge of COVID Cases

Waitress is the latest Broadway musical meet its demise amid another COVID-19 surge.

After nearly 1,500 performances, the beloved show announced its abrupt cancellation Thursday, just two weeks before their limited engagement was set to conclude, revealing that members of the company and crew tested positive for coronavirus.

“We are heartbroken to announce that Waitress on Broadway will be closing effective immediately,” the musical announced in a statement on Twitter.

“With only two weeks of performances remaining and due to positive cases of COVID detected in the company and crew at the Barrymore Theatre, the decision has been made to curtail the engagement which was scheduled to run through January 9.

“This is not how we wanted to finish our run but are so grateful to every fan and theater-lover who visited the Diner these past few months. Ticket holders will be contacted and refunded by their point of purchase. Thanks for taking us to the moon!” they concluded.

Sara Bareilles, who wrote the show’s music and lyrics and has played the protagonist Jenna, paid tribute to the show after its cancellation. “This is a gut punch of the highest degree. Thank you for everything. This cast. This company. This community. May we all be so lucky. Forever I love you,” she wrote on Twitter.

Producer Barry Weissler also released a statement on behalf of himself and wife/co-producer Fran. “It has been such an honor to bring Waitress to Broadway,” he wrote. “We feel so blessed to have been able to continue playing when Broadway returned in September of this year. We are heartbroken that the COVID virus won’t allow us to finish our glorious scheduled run.”

Based on the 2007 film starring Keri Russell, Waitress follows Jenna, a waitress and pie chef in the American South who feels trapped in an unhappy marriage after becoming pregnant. She plots her way out, going for the grand prize in a pie contest.

Ciara Renée opened up to PEOPLE earlier this week about her run as Jenna, leading the Broadway run’s final cast, which was made up of all Black leads for the first time in the show’s five-year history.

“I’m playing a real person, and there is a different sort of skill set required to do that as opposed to playing the magical, mystical minority that I’ve done many times,” she said.

Renée, 31, is no stranger to abrupt Broadway cancellations, after her run as Elsa in the stage musical adaptation of Disney’s Frozen was cut short due to the onset of the pandemic in March 2020.

Broadway has been hit again in recent weeks, with the producers of Jagged Little Pill announcing Monday that the show will not reopen, after they initially cancelled several shows due to a surge in positive COVID-19 cases in its company.

Ciara Renee and Joshua Henry

Ciara Renee and Joshua Henry
Credit: Matt Murphy

HamiltonAladdinThe Lion King and MJ, the Michael Jackson musical, have called off performances through Christmas. Additionally, Harry Potter and the Cursed ChildFreestyle Love SupremeMrs. DoubtfireAin’t Too Proud to Beg and Tina: The Tina Turner Musical have cancelled shows.

It’s not just Broadway that’s been impacted, as Radio City’s Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes also went dark for the remainder of the season due to a surge in cases.

RELATED VIDEO: Waitress Is Celebrating a ‘New Broadway’ with All-Black Lead Cast in Its Final Weeks

Cases of COVID-19 are on the rise in the United States and around the world as the delta and omicron variants continue to spread at rapid rates. On Friday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 43 people across 22 states were identified as having the omicron variant in the first eight days of December.

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