Theater-canceling breakthrough cases have officially begun in Portland.
For the first time since vaccinations became readily available, and in-person performances returned to area stages, a positive COVID case has forced a local company to temporarily go dark.
Portland Center Stage announced on its website and social media platforms this afternoon that it was scrapping the last three showings of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time because a fully vaccinated person involved with the company had tested positive for the virus.
“Our highest priority is always the health and safety of every cast, crew, staff, and audience member in the theater,” the post stated.
The discovery canceled the 2 and 7:30 pm performances scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 23, as well as the final show at 2 pm Friday, Dec. 24.
Ticket holders can request a refund, credit for a future show that will not expire, or a tax-deductible donation to PCS.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time Curious Incident at PCS has abruptly shut down due to the pandemic. The production opened in March 2020, ran for one week, then ended once the state-mandated lockdown was implemented.
The company’s artistic director, Marissa Wolf, brought the play back this fall, once again tapping Jamie Sanders for the lead in this production after he last appeared in her Kansas City staging of this Tony Award winner. The raw emotion he brought to initial performances as a 15-year-old autistic boy determined to track down the person who killed his neighbor’s dog was at once tender and haunting.
This cancellation may be a sign of what’s to come for theater in the Pacific Northwest during the next four to six weeks.
A growing number of Broadway shows in New York City have already succumbed to breakthrough cases as the Omicron variant sweeps across the area, forcing multiple date cancellations or complete closures, including Hamilton, Aladdin, The Lion King, Jagged Little Pill, Thoughts of a Colored Man and Waitress. The Rockettes also won’t be kicking their way into the new year. The long-standing Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular was called off after that company experienced several positive coronavirus tests.
The mystery, then, of who murdered the titular canine in Curious Incident may remain for those who won’t get to see the final shows of the year. But if Portland theater winds up experiencing another temporary dead period, we all know the culprit: COVID-19.