This Week on Broadway for March 15, 2020: Coronavirus Closes Broadway

Peter Filichia, James Marino, and Michael Portantiere talk about the suspension of Broadway shows during the Coronavirus outbreak in the US, what it means for the Broadway community, and how it may affect the Tony Awards. We also review Girl From The North Country, Unknown Soldier @ Playwrights Horizons, The March Birthday Show! Famous Songs by Famous People @ 54 Below, Cambodian Rock Band @ Signature, and Making Gay History: Before Stonewall @ NYU.


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Peter Filichia | [email protected] | Facebook
PETER FILICHIA is a playwright, journalist, and historian with a number of books. His columns appear at Masterworks BroadwayBroadway Select and many other places.

James Marino | [email protected] | Twitter | Facebook

Michael Portantiere | [email protected] | Facebook
MICHAEL PORTANTIERE is a theater reviewer and essayist. He is the founder and editor of He is also a theatrical photographer whose photos have appeared in The New York Times and other major publications. You can see his photography work at

Notes and links for the podcast.


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Coronavirus closes Broadway through April 12, 2020


Under the direction of Governor Andrew Cuomo, Broadway shows in New York City will suspend all performances immediately in support of the health and well-being of the theatregoing public, as well as those who work in the theatre industry. Performances will commence the week of April 13, 2020.

“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,” said Charlotte St. Martin, President of the Broadway League. “Broadway has the power to inspire, enrich and entertain, and together we are committed to making that vital spirit a reality. Once our stages are lit again, we will welcome fans back with open arms so that they can continue to experience the joy, heart, and goodwill that our shows so passionately express every night.”

Those holding tickets for performances through April 12, 2020 should contact their point of purchase for refunds and exchanges.

The Broadway League will continue to closely monitor the evolving coronavirus situation on behalf of the Broadway community and make decisions as circumstances require, in accordance with guidelines from the CDC and state and local health officials.

For further information, please visit

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Broadway Contracts

Force majeure is generally intended to include occurrences beyond the reasonable control of a party, and therefore would not cover:

Any result of the negligence or malfeasance of a party, which has a materially adverse effect on the ability of such party to perform its obligations.

Any result of the usual and natural consequences of external forces.
To illuminate this distinction, take the example of an outdoor public event abruptly called off.
If the cause for cancellation is ordinary predictable rain, this is most probably not force majeure.
If the cause is a flash flood that damages the venue or makes the event hazardous to attend, then this almost certainly is force majeure, other than where the venue was on a known flood plain or the area of the venue was known to be subject to torrential rain.
Some causes might be arguable borderline cases (for instance, if unusually heavy rain occurred, rendering the event significantly more difficult, but not impossible, to safely hold or attend); these must be assessed in light of the circumstances.
Any circumstances that are specifically contemplated (included) in the contract—for example, if the contract for the outdoor event specifically permits or requires cancellation in the event of rain.

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MP: Girl From The North Country @ the Belasco Theatre, 111 West 44th Street

After critically-acclaimed, smash-hit runs at The Public Theater, The Old Vic London, and in the West End, Girl From The North Country, written and directed by celebrated playwright Conor McPherson, with music and lyrics by the legendary Bob Dylan, brings its rousing spirit to Broadway.

Girl from the North Country stars Todd Almond as Elias Burke, Jeannette Bayardelle as Mrs. Neilsen, Caitlin Houlahan as Kate Draper, Robert Joy as Dr. Walker, Marc Kudisch as Mr. Burke, Matt McGrath as Reverend Marlowe, Luba Mason as Mrs. Burke, Tom Nelis as Mr. Perry, Colton Ryan as Gene Laine, Jay. O. Sanders as Nick Laine, Austin Scott as Joe Scott, Kimber Elayne Sprawl as Marianne Laine, and Mare Winningham as Elizabeth Laine.

Girl From The North Country is set at a guesthouse where a group of wanderers cross paths. Standing at a turning point in their lives, they realize nothing is what it seems. But as they search for a future, and hide from the past, they find themselves facing unspoken truths about the present.

Girl From The North Country is produced on Broadway by Tristan Baker & Charlie Parsons for Runaway Entertainment, Steven Lappin, Sony Music Entertainment/Sony ATV, David Mirvish, Len Blavatnik, The Dodgers, Eric & Marsi Gardiner, Dianne Roberts, John Gore Organization, Nederlander Presentations, Inc., Tommy Mottola, Independent Presenters Network, Rod Kaats, Diana DiMenna, Mary Beth O’Connor, Barbara H. Freitag, Patrick Catullo, The Old Vic (Artistic Director, Matthew Warchus; Executive Director, Kate Varah; Producer, Georgia Gatti) and The Public Theater (Artistic Director, Oskar Eustis; Executive Director, Patrick Willingham; Mandy Hackett, Director of Public Theater Productions), with Aaron Lustbader serving as Executive Producer.

PF: Unknown Soldier @ Playwrights Horizons, 416 West 42 Street

February 14, 2020 – March 29, 2020
Book and Lyrics by Daniel Goldstein
Music and Lyrics by Michael Friedman
Directed by Trip Cullman
Choreographed by Patrick McCollum

Cleaning out her grandmother’s home, Ellen Rabinowitz discovers a mysterious photograph of an anonymous soldier, tucked away in a box of keepsakes. And so begins Daniel Goldstein and Michael Friedman’s sweeping, elegiac musical about a woman’s journey to unearth the secrets buried in her family’s past. Spanning three generations, Unknown Soldier unravels a delicate tangle of family lore, as Ellen chases the extraordinary story that unlocks her history — and charts her future.

Kerstin Anderson — Lucy Lemay
James Crichton — Male Ensemble
Zoe Glick — Lucy Rabinowitz/Young Ellen
Emilie Kouatchou — Female Ensemble
Erik Lochtefeld — Andrew
Jay McKenzie — Male Ensemble
Jessica Naimy — Female Ensemble
Estelle Parsons — Lucy Anderson
Margo Seibert — Ellen Rabinowitz
Thom Sesma — Doctor
Perry Sherman — Francis

Scenic Design : Mark Wendland
Costume Design: Clint Ramos and Jacob A. Climer
Lighting Design: Ben Stanton
Sound Design: Leon Rothenberg
Projection Design: Lucy Mackinnon
Hair, Wig, and Make-up Design: J. Jared Janas
Orchestrations: Michael Friedman and Marco Paguia
Music Director: Julie McBride
Music Coordinator: Tomoko Akaboshi
Production Stage Manager: Lisa Ann Chernoff
Assistant Stage Manager: Ben Freedman

The Clock as a musical?

In Process: Daniel Goldstein on Unknown Soldier
Unknown Soldier February 14, 2020 – March 29, 2020 Mainstage Theater
Remembering Michael Friedman
Join us as we celebrate the life and legacy of
our family member, Michael Friedman: 1975-2017.

MP: The March Birthday Show! Famous Songs by Famous People, March 8, 2020 @ 54 Below

What do Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, Celine Dion, Nat King Cole, Elton John, Lady Gaga, Aretha Franklin, James Taylor, and Liza Minnelli all have in common? They were all born in March! This unique concert event will feature the songs made famous by these iconic Broadway, Hollywood and Recording stars who were born in the month of March. And not just them: Diana Ross, Carrie Underwood, Neil Sedaka, Rex Harrison, Karen Carpenter, and more were also born in March! And if you were born in March, we’re going to celebrate you, too at The March Birthday Show! Famous Songs by Famous People Born This Month!

Come hear great music performed by wildly talented Broadway and nightclub stars handpicked by the creator, writer, director, and host of the show, NYC impresario, Scott Siegel. He has created more than 400 major concert events all over the world, including producing, writing, and directing shows for Michael Feinstein. Siegel is perhaps best known as the creator, writer, director, and host of Town Hall’s signature series, Broadway by the Year, which celebrates its 20th Anniversary Season in 2020.

Ben Jones (Musical Theater/Symphony/Opera Star)
John & Matthew Drinkwater (54 Sings Broadway’s Greatest Hits)
Sophie Rapeijko (54 Sings Broadway’s Greatest Hits)
Allison Semmes (MoTown: The Musical)
Jenny Lee Stern (Forbidden Broadway, Rocky: The Musical)
Gabrielle Stravelli (Multi-Award Winning Vocalist)

PF + JM: Cambodian Rock Band @ The Irene Diamond Stage at The Pershing Square Signature Center, 480 West 42nd Street

Cambodian Rock Band by Residency 5 playwright Lauren Yee and directed by Chay Yew, presented by Signature Theatre (Paige Evans, Artistic Director; Harold Wolpert, Executive Director)

The production runs February 4 through March 15, 2020 with a February 24 opening night on The Irene Diamond Stage at The Pershing Square Signature Center (480 West 42nd Street between 9th and 10th Avenues).

Guitars tuned. Mic checked. Get ready to rock! This darkly funny, electric new play with music tells the story of a Khmer Rouge survivor returning to Cambodia for the first time in thirty years, as his daughter prepares to prosecute one of Cambodia’s most infamous war criminals. Backed by a live band playing contemporary Dengue Fever hits and classic Cambodian oldies, this thrilling story toggles back and forth in time as father and daughter face the music of the past.

The cast of Cambodian Rock Band includes Francis Jue as Duch, Abraham Kim as Rom/Journalist, Jane Lui as Pou/S21 Guard, Joe Ngo as Chum, Courtney Reed as Neary/Sothea and Moses Villarama as Ted/Leng/Cadre.

The creative team includes Takeshi Kata (Scenic Design), Linda Cho (Costume Design), David Weiner (Lighting Design), Mikhail Fiksel (Sound Design), Luke Norby (Projection Design), Matt MacNelly (Music Supervision) and Unkle Dave’s Fight-House (Fight Director). The Production Stage Manager is Charles M. Turner III and casting is by Caparelliotis Casting.

MP: Making Gay History: Before Stonewall @ NYU Provincetown Playhouse, Sunday, March 8, 2020 3:00PM

NYU Steinhardt’s Program in Educational Theatre presents:
Program in Educational Theatre
LOCATION: The Provincetown Playhouse, 133 MacDougal Street

Created by Joe Salvatore
Adapted from Eric Marcus’ Making Gay History

Constructed from interviews conducted by author and podcast producer Eric Marcus in the late 1980s, this new verbatim documentary theatre play brings to life the experiences of 20 early activists fighting for LGBTQ+ rights before Stonewall.


Film and Television:



Post Script:

Michael’s Music Moment:


Coming Soon: 

PF: Book review
Idiots, Heathers, and Squips by Scott Miller
New Line Theatre Artistic Director – Scott Miller
Marcelle Theater
3310 Samuel Shepard Drive
St. Louis, MO 63103

Explicit: No


I Give Away Children
Jul 19, 2018

Jessica Phillips sings “I Give Away Children” from Unknown Soldier by Michael Friedman and Daniel Goldstein. Concert for the Michael Friedman Legacy Fund – Joe’s Pub, June 4th 2018

Other Music: Memories from

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