Radio City Music Hall Cancels Four Rockettes Christmas Shows

On Friday, a week before Christmas Eve, all four performances of Radio City Music Hall’s enduring Christmas show starring the Rockettes were canceled because of what the company described as “breakthrough Covid-19 cases in the production.”

The show, “Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes,” became the latest to be upended by a rash of coronavirus cases among cast and crew members, as the virus has surged in recent days in New York.

The Madison Square Garden Entertainment company, which produces the show and owns the theater, made the announcement in a statement Friday morning just after the first show of the day had been expected to begin. The producers said in the statement that they would “make announcements about future shows as soon as possible.”

The decision comes as Broadway has had to endure a raft of cancellations unlike any in its history. Several shows, including “Tina,” a jukebox musical about Tina Turner, “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” and “Hamilton” have all had to cancel at least one performance in recent days. On Thursday, six of the 32 current shows canceled performances, including “Moulin Rouge!,” where many patrons were already in their seats when the decision was made.

In a sign of the increasing level of concern over the Omicron variant, the Metropolitan Opera on Wednesday became the first major performing arts institution in New York to unveil a booster mandate: Beginning Jan. 17, all employees and audience members eligible for booster shots will be required to show proof that they have received them in order to enter the opera house.

At Radio City, some company members have for several weeks expressed concern about the Covid-19 protocols in place for workers. All the employees for the “Christmas Spectacular” must be vaccinated. But the theater had not required employees to be tested for the virus. And under the Music Hall’s policy, masks were recommended but not required for artists, cast and crew members. And not all audience members were required to wear masks, as they are at all Broadway shows.

Management at the Music Hall has said the protocols it has had in place were completely safe, and that they were developed in conjunction with health and safety experts, and have been used successfully at a roster of shows in the venue since late summer.

Michael Paulson contributed reporting.

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