Coronavirus causes entertainment industry to pause


Courtesy: The Wall Street Journal

Maggie Smith

Updated March 13, 2:55 p.m.

Broadway has been shut down, music festivals have been postponed and late-night shows are being taped without audiences or are being canceled altogether.

Broadway shows have suspended all performances through April 12. People with tickets for performances during this time are urged to contact their points of purchase to get refunds and exchanges. The show closures come at one of the busiest times of the Broadway season. The industry is ramping up to the annual Tony Awards which are currently scheduled to be held on Sunday, June 7. Charlotte St. Martin, the president of the Broadway League, commented on this major shut down.

“Our top priority has been and will continue to be the health and well-being of Broadway theatregoers and the thousands of people who work in the theatre industry every day, including actors, musicians, stagehands, ushers, and many other dedicated professionals,” Martin said.

As Broadway shuts down so do shows with live audiences. Producers of “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert,” “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee,” and “The Daily Show” announced they would begin taping without a live studio audience beginning March 16. The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” and “Late Night with Set Meyers” are suspending production completely beginning the week of March 16 and are scheduled to go into hiatus starting March 23.

Ellen DeGeneres posted on Wednesday about how the coronavirus is effecting her show. “For now, I’ll be shooting my show with no studio audience,” she wrote. “To everyone who was looking forward to coming, I’m so sorry. But I’m doing this for the health of my fans, my staff & my crew.”

Friday evening, Ellen tweeted an update to her previous statement and informed people that her show is suspending production until March 30. “We just want to take every precaution to ensure that we do our part to keep everyone healthy,” she wrote.

Scheduled tapings of “Jeopardy” and “Wheel of Fortune” are also to be taped without studio audiences. “Jeopardy” host Alex Trebek, who has stage 4 pancreatic cancer, is at a higher risk and the measure was taken partly as a precaution for his health.

It has also been announced by Goldenvoice, the organizers of Coachella and Stagecoach, that both music festivals are to be postponed due to similar concerns about the outbreak. Both events have been pushed back from April to October.

On March 12, Disney confirmed that three of its biggest releases of the year, “Mulan,” “The New Mutants,” and “Antlers,” are to be postponed out of an abundance of caution. Disney did not set a new release date. The Chinese and European premieres of “Mulan” had previously been delayed as well.