Hugh Jackman tests positive for COVID, halting performances of 'Music Man' until January

·5 min read

Hugh Jackman's got trouble and it's not just in River City. The actor announced Tuesday that he has tested positive for COVID-19, forcing the cancellation of his Broadway show The Music Man until next month.

The 53-year-old X-Men star shared the news of his diagnosis on social media, while also encouraging his followers to “be healthy” and “be kind.”

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 11: Hugh Jackman attends the UK premiere of
Hugh Jackman reveals that he's tested positive for COVID-19, which will halt performances of Broadway's The Music Man till next year. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for Warner Bros)

"I just wanted you to hear it from me that I tested positive this morning for COVID," he said in a video posted on Twitter and Instagram. "My symptoms are like a cold. I have a scratchy throat and a bit of a runny nose, but I'm fine. And I'm just going to do everything i can to get better ASAP. And as soon as I'm cleared, I'll be back on stage, heading to River City."

“So, I just wanted you to hear it from me,” he added. “Please stay safe. Be healthy. Be kind." Jackman is fully vaccinating, sharing on Instagram that he received his booster shot on Dec. 5.

According to a statement from the show's producers, preview performances will resume on Jan. 2, with Jackman officially set to return on Jan. 6. Those who'd previously purchased tickets can expect a full refund or exchange at point of purchase. The revival of the classic musical is slated to officially open on Feb. 10.

Jackman isn’t the only The Music Man cast member to have been impacted by COVID.

Last week, co-star Sutton Foster had tested positive, prompted the company’s swing, Kathy Voytko, to step in with mere hours’ notice. (A "swing" is an actor who understudies multiple parts in a Broadway show.)

During that evening’s curtain call, Jackman ushered Voytko to the stage to thank her while praising the work ethic she and other swings on Broadway display.

“Kathy, when she turned up for work at 12 could have played any of eight roles. This just happened to be the leading lady. She found out at noon today and at 1, she had her very first rehearsal as Marian Paroo,” Jackman told the audience in a video captured by actress Katherine Winter and posted to Facebook.

Jackman also referenced the many Broadway closings and pauses of shows due to the uptick in the Omicron variant across New York City.

"It's not only happening here at the Winter Garden, it's happening all over Broadway. This is a time we've never known," he continued. "This is a time we've never known. We're in our fourth preview, we're all just sort of learning, so swings and understudies have not had a chance to learn."

Indeed, multiple Broadway shows have struggled to stay up due to the surge of COVID cases.

Several shows have permanently shuttered, including Jagged Little Pill, Waitress, Thoughts of a Colored Man and Ain’t Too Proud, which announced Tuesday its final performance will be Jan. 16.

Still, despite the closures, the majority of Broadway’s productions are up and running — such as American Utopia; The Book of Mormon; Caroline, or Change; Chicago; Clyde’s; Dear Evan Hansen; and Wicked, to name a few, although many of those have had to deal with cast illnesses and cancellations.

"The drastic turn of events this week with the rapid spread of the omicron variant has, once again, changed everything," Jagged Little Pill producers Vivek J. Tiwary, Arvind Ethan David and Eva Price said in a statement earlier this month. "We are dismayed by what appears to be another substantial public health crisis, and — due to the detection of multiple positive COVID-19 cases within the company — need to prioritize the health and safety of the cast, crew and entire team working on Jagged Little Pill. In light of the extreme uncertainty ahead of us this winter, and forced to choose between continuing performances and protecting our company, we’ve made the difficult decision to close our doors."

The producers of Waitress, which closed two weeks early due to COVID, echoed equal sentiments.

"With only two weeks of performances remaining and due to positive cases of COVID detected in the company and crew at the Barrymore Theatre, the decision has been made to curtail the engagement which was scheduled to run through Jan. 9," the show’s producers posted on Twitter. "This is not how we wanted to finish our run but are so grateful to every fan and theater lover who visited the Diner these past few months."