As of its final performance on Wednesday evening March 11, Frozen played 825 performances and 26 previews

By Dave Quinn
May 14, 2020 05:25 PM
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Patti Murin and John Riddle in Frozen
| Credit: Deen van Meer

The coronavirus pandemic has caused one of Broadway's biggest musicals to close early.

Frozen, Disney's acclaimed stage adaptation of the 2010 Oscar-winning animated movie, will not reopen on the Great White Way.

Producers for the show announced the news on Friday, blaming the decision on the economic fallout from the industry-wide shutdown.

They say the North American Tour will continue, and that planned productions in Australia, the U.K, Japan and Germany will all still open. "Closing the Broadway production now allows future productions of Frozen to re-purpose its costumes and scenic elements, reducing cost and waste," Disney said in a release.

Disney opened Broadway's Frozen on Mar 22, 2018. As of its final performance on Wednesday evening March 11, the show played 825 performances and 26 previews.

Original stars Patti Murin and Caissie Levy — who played sisters Anna and Elsa, respectively — departed the production on Feb. 16.  Newcomer McKenzie Kurtz and DC's Legends of Tomorrow alum Ciara Renée had replaced them, Renée making history as the first black Elsa.

Ticketholders who has purchased seats to Frozen should contact their original point of purchase for refunds.

Caissie Levy in Frozen
| Credit: Deen van Meer

Frozen is the third Broadway show to announce it is permanently closing since the novel coronavirus outbreak, and the longest-running. (The revival of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and a production of Martin McDonagh's Hangmen were both in previews).

Just on Tuesday, the Broadway League —a trade organization representing producers and theater owners — said that Broadway will remained closed through Labor Day, though that date might change depending on the outbreak.

"As we’ve been put in phase four of the governor’s plan, we felt that Sept. 6 was a reasonable distance of time for refunds and exchanges, while we fully understand that we may not be back at that time," Charlotte St. Martin, President of the Broadway League, said in a statement. "Broadway will be back when the governor tells us it’s safe to be back — we’re working closely with his office and with experts to know when that will be."

“Our top priority continues to be the health and well-being of Broadway theatergoers and the thousands of people who work in the theatre industry every day, including actors, musicians, stagehands, ushers, and many other dedicated professionals.” she previously said. “Broadway will always be at the very heart of the Big Apple, and we join with artists, theatre professionals, and fans in looking forward to the time when we can once again experience live theatre together.”

Times Square, photographed on March 16
| Credit: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty

Broadway has been dark since March 12, with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and the Broadway League shutting the theaters to help stop the spread of the global pandemic.

The shutdown is the longest in Broadway history, surpassing pauses in performances made after the events of Sept. 11, 2001, as well as the strikes in 1919, 1960, 1964, 1975, and 2003.

Since performances stopped, thousands of people in the industry have been out of work — from actors and musicians to stagehands and ushers and more. Businesses in Times Square that depend on theater patrons have seen considerable dents in their finances, too.

The 74th annual Tony Awards, which celebrates the best of Broadway, was also postponed. The annual awards show was scheduled to air live on CBS on June 7 from Radio City Music Hall.

Producers have done their best to pay staff, agreeing to an “emergency relief agreement” to help support unionized employees. Several stars, like Rosie O’Donnellhave also been raising money for The Actor’s Fund — which provides services including emergency financial assistance to a wide-array of those employed by the industry (not just actors).

The Richard Rodgers Theatre, home of Hamilton, photographed on March 13
| Credit: Roy Rochlin/Getty Images
The TKTS Booth in Times Square, photographed on March 13
| Credit: Noam Galai/Getty Images

New York City is currently the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak. As of Thursday afternoon, at least 192,394 cases have been identified — more than any other anywhere else, according to a New York Times database. 19,815 people have died.

Many theater stars working in current shows have revealed they’ve tested positive for coronavirus since the shutdown. Among those sick were Plaza Suite director John Benjamin Hickey, Moulin Rouge! star Aaron Tveit, Company actor Matt Doyle, and Come from Away‘s Chad Kimball.

There have been heartbreaking losses to the theater community as well. One of the most prolific playwrights, four-time Tony winner Terrence McNally, died from coronavirus-related complications in March at the age of 81. Later that month, accomplished stage actor Marc Blum died at 69 from the virus. Adam Schlesinger, the Tony-nominated songwriter (Cry-Baby) who was penning the score to a number of Broadway-bound musicals, died in April at the age of 52, also from COVID-19 complications.