The First Omicron-Related Theater Production Postponement of 2022 Is Here

Fuse Theatre Ensemble will slide debut showings of “The Queers” from January to March.

A late 2021 production by Fuse Theatre Ensemble. The company's first 2022 show is now postponed due to Omicron. (Rusty Tennant)

It may be a new year, but we’re already starting 2022 with some familiar news: COVID is forcing local, live performances to once again postpone.

Today, Fuse Theatre Ensemble announced it was sliding its upcoming production of The Queers due to the highly contagious Omicron variant. The announcement arrives the same day state health officials reported 3,534 new COVID-19 cases, the highest one-day total in Oregon since the pandemic began.

The show was originally scheduled to open Friday, Jan. 7, and run through Sunday, Feb. 6, at the Back Door Theater on Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard. Rather than scrap what was supposed to be the world premiere of playwright Mikki Gillette’s work, Fuse has decided to push back the show’s timeline, which will now hold its debut on Friday, March 11.

The Queers certainly isn’t the first play to be affected by Omicron. In New York City, half a dozen Broadway shows have temporarily closed or gone dark altogether due to rising infection rates and positive tests among cast members. And when the show does go on, it’s often with understudies, giving reliable but rarely seen actors their time to shine.

The Queers will be the first locally staged trans ensemble drama authored by a trans writer. Set in a midsized city in 2011, the plot follows three trans women and their entanglement with a young nonbinary couple, while exploring themes of jealousy, poverty, activism and suicidal ideation.

You can still reserve seats for the postponed run on Fuse’s website.

So far, no other companies have announced postponements, several of which are on the eve of starting new productions, including Broadway in Portland (The Band’s Visit, Jan. 4-9), CoHo Theatre (Walking the World With This Fire, Jan. 5-15), Milagro (Duende de Lorca, Jan. 13-23) and Portland Center Stage at the Armory with Artists Repertory Theatre (The Great Leap, Jan. 15 through Feb. 13).

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