The Broadway productions of Hamilton and Camelot have cancelled this Wednesday evening's performance due to hazardous air quality conditions in New York City from Canadian wildfire smoke. Both productions have advised attendees to contact their point of purchase for refunds or exchanges. Performances are expected to resume as scheduled June 8. Check official show websites and social handles for the latest.
This announcement comes on the heels of a number of performance disruptions today due to the poor air quality in NYC. Earlier Wednesday, during the matinee of the Broadway solo show Prima Facie, star Jodie Comer stopped her performance a few minutes in, saying she couldn't breathe and left the stage. The show resumed with her understudy Dani Arlington.
Also happening tonight: in lieu of a cancellation, the Broadway musical Shucked is performing a concert-version of the production featuring the show’s composer Brandy Clark, after several actors called out sick for reasons that, according to a report from the New York Times, are unrelated to the current air quality issues.
Off-Broadway is also seeing performance cancellations due to the situation, including Vineyard Theatre's This Land Was Made and Prospect Theater Company's Lizard Boy. The Public Theater has also cancelled their dress rehearsal and opening performances of Shakespeare in the Park's Hamlet, as the outdoor venue would expose both performers and audience members to the smoke-filled air.
Despite these cancellations, Broadway League President Charlotte St. Martin told The New York Times, "Broadway remains open this evening and most shows are set to perform." Thus far, Hamilton and Camelot are the only Broadway shows to issue cancellations, though it remains to be seen if there are more to come.
Actors' Equity Association President Kate Shindle is encouraging any actors or stage mangers who feel unsafe performing to notify the union, tweeting, "Because the wildfire smoke is so widespread and varies so much, it’s very important that someone let your business rep know if you feel unsafe rehearsing or performing, wherever you are. After regular business hours, call the emergency hotline at 888-802-5307. Our union can step in if an employer is insisting the show go on despite dangerous conditions."
In addition to the Canadian wildfires, which are the primary contributor to current climate conditions in the city, New Jersey has also recently experienced a string of wildfires with thousands of acres burning since last week. The New York area is currently under an Air Quality Red Alert as issued by the National Weather Service, which grounded flights at LaGuardia Airport earlier today. With projections indicating that air quality is likely to get worse and remain unhealthy to breathe through tomorrow, the issue could continue to cause trouble for Broadway ahead of the Tony Awards this weekend. Stay tuned to Playbill for more as the situation develops.