Any fan of Hugh Jackman would be excited to see the Tony Award-winning Australian actor perform in a Broadway show, and any fan of two-time Tony Award-winner Sutton Foster would be thrilled to see her lead a Broadway show, too. To see the two veteran performers in a classic, lighthearted American musical like The Music Man was even more of a dream come true for Broadway audiences in recent weeks as the show finally started previews at the Winter Garden Theatre in New York City–but now, both Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster have tested positive for COVID-19, and the show has to close until January.
Sutton Foster announced her positive test result on Christmas Eve, giving her swing (a performer who has to memorize multiple character’s numbers and scenes, and be ready to take a role at a moment’s notice) just one day of rehearsals before taking the lead as the librarian Marian Paroo on Friday night. The actress and swing, Kathy Voytko, went from learning at noon on the day that she was playing Marian to starting her very first rehearsal as Marian just hours before the show that same night. Hugh Jackman expressly thanked Kathy for her ability to memorize a lead role and take it on entirely in less than a day, with the actor giving a heartfelt speech with an emotional tribute to swing performers at the end of the night (you can see it here in a video by Katherine Winter) when he took his bow as Professor Harold Hill and Kathy took her bow as Marian Paroo!
Unfortunately, Hugh Jackman has also just announced that he’s tested positive for COVID-19. The actor from The Greatest Showman (2017) and Marvel’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009) posted a video on Instagram, saying the following in the accompanying post: “I just wanted to make sure you heard this from me. I tested positive for covid. Mild symptoms and looking forward to getting back on stage ASAP! Sending love for a happy and healthy new year”.
Broadway’s Aladdin and Frozen shows have also had to close down due to breakthrough cases of COVID-19, with the Aladdin show having so many consistent cases that it’s had to continuously extend its closure date.