As COVID-19 cases fueled by the highly transmissible omicron variant continue to surge, entertainment specials and events are once again getting canceled or postponed during the fall and winter months.
World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has urged the public to cancel upcoming events due to the threat of omicron.
“An event canceled is better than a life canceled,” Tedros said.
Here are entertainment events that have been canceled or postponed as a result of the surge.
The rise of the omicron variant also comes as Hollywood’s awards season is set to begin.
Academy Awards’ Governors Awards
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has postponed its annual Governors Awards due to a rise in COVID-19 cases and the omicron variant. The event, one of the Academy’s annual ceremonies leading up the Oscars, had been scheduled to take place Jan. 15 in Los Angeles.
In a statement, the Academy said “made the difficult decision to change our plans” given the uncertainties around the variants. “We feel this is the best and safest decision for our honorees and guests. Rescheduled plans will come at a later date as we continue to prioritize the health and wellbeing of all those involved.”
Samuel L. Jackson, Liv Ullmann and Elaine May have been tapped to receive honorary Oscars at this year’s Governors Awards, while Danny Glover is set to get the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award. Due to the lockdown, the 2021 Governors Awards were canceled entirely and the two Hersholt honorees, Tyler Perry and The Motion Picture and Television Fund, were presented were their awards during the April 25 Oscars show.
Critics Choice Awards
The Critics Choice Association has postponed its annual Critics Choice Awards due to mounting public health concerns regarding COVID-19 and the increased prevalence of the omicron variant.
“We have collectively come to the conclusion that the prudent and responsible decision at this point is to postpone the 27th Annual Critics Choice Awards,” the association said in a statement. “We are in constant communication with LA County Public Health officials, and we are currently working diligently to find a new date during the upcoming awards season in which to host our annual gala in person with everyone’s safety and health remaining our top priority.”
The decision to postpone the awards show is a contrast to a previous statement from the association, which stated the Critics Choice Awards would be held with “the strictest and safest protocols,” such as “mandatory proof of vaccination, negative PCR tests 48 hours in advance, proper social distancing and masking requirements.”
Originally scheduled for Jan. 9, 2022, the Critics Choice Awards was set to be hosted by Taye Diggs and Nicole Byer. The ceremony honors prominent works and figures in the film and television industries. Films such as “Belfast,” “West Side Story,” “Dune” and “The Power of the Dog” are nominees this year, while actor Halle Berry is the recipient of the women’s advocacy SeeHer award.
Palm Springs International Film Awards and Film Festival
The Palm Springs International Film Awards has been canceled by event organizers. The awards ceremony was expected to take place in person on Jan. 6, 2022, at the Convention Center in Palm Springs, California.
Stars who were expected to attend the ceremony included directors Jane Campion and Kenneth Branagh, actors Kristen Stewart, Jennifer Hudson, Lady Gaga, Andrew Garfield, Jessica Chastain, Penélope Cruz and the casts of “King Richard” and “Belfast.”
“We are taking this action due to the recent spike in COVID cases and out of an abundance of caution to ensure the health and safety of the honorees, patrons, and staff,” said a statement from the Palm Springs International Film Festival. “The Palm Springs Film Awards are one of the largest events in the film world with 2,500 guests and more than 1,000 staff in the room.”
The Palm Springs International Film Festival (slated for Jan. 7-17) has also been canceled, organizers announced in a statement. The in-person event will return in 2023.
Palm Springs typically holds a prime position on the festival circuit calendar, held in early January to precede the Oscar nominations voting deadline.
New York Film Critics Circle
The New York Film Critics Circle has postponed its 2022 awards ceremony, originally scheduled for Jan. 10, according to Variety.
“Out of safety concerns for our award winners and our members, we’ve made the decision to postpone our dinner,” NYFCC chair Stephanie Zacharek told the outlet. “But rest assured, we’re going to find a way to celebrate the accomplishments of our winners in the coming months. Even in the midst of an uncertain time, we see this as a positive step forward.”
The beginning days of the COVID epidemic wreaked havoc on the 2020 film calendar, delaying movies for months and in some cases a whole year, and the omicron variant is again ruffling Hollywood’s plans.
The Sony superhero film, starring Jared Leto as the Marvel comic-book character Michael Morbius (a scientist with a rare blood disorder turned into a vampire), has been pushed from a Jan. 28 bow to April 1.
“Morbius,” which also features Matt Smith, Jared Harris and Tyrese Gibson, has now been delayed six times since its original July 10, 2020 release date.
Giorgio Armani cancels Milan show
The fashion designer announced Tuesday he was canceling his Giorgio Armani and Emporio Armani men’s fashion shows in Milan this month along with his Prive haute couture show in Paris because of the soaring coronavirus cases in Europe.
“As the designer has expressed on many occasions, the shows are crucial and irreplaceable occasions but the health and safety of both employees and the public must once again take priority,” the Armani statement said.
The decision makes Armani the first major designer to pull out of the Milan men’s previews for fall/winter 2022-23 scheduled for Jan. 14-18. In a statement, the fashion house said the decision was “made with great regret and following careful reflection in light of the worsening epidemiological situation.
Live tapings of shows that often film before a studio audience have postponed episodes amid the rise in COVID-19 cases.
‘Late Night With Seth Meyers’
Seth Meyers announced on Twitter Jan. 4 he would be canceling his show for the rest of the week after testing positive for COVID-19.
“The bad news is, I tested positive for COVID (thanks, 2022!) the good news is, I feel fine (thanks vaccines and booster!),” Meyers tweeted. “We are canceling the rest of the shows this week, so tune in next Monday to see what cool location we will try and pass off as a studio!!!”
‘Wendy Williams Show’
While the show’s host has been absent from her seat for all of this season due to health concerns, the show itself will be on hold while COVID-19 cases break record highs in New York City.
The show announced Dec. 21 that live episodes would continue on Jan. 10 instead of the originally planned Jan. 3 date.
“Due to the growing number of new COVID-19 cases and to ensure a safe return for our crew members and staff, ‘The Wendy Williams Show’ will now return with new live episodes on Monday, January 10,” the show announced on Instagram. “We continue to observe all relevant New York City health and safety protocols, and wish everyone a happy and healthy holiday season.”
‘Nick Cannon Show’
The “Nick Cannon Show” announced similar news Dec. 21, writing on Instagram the show would continue their live tapings on Jan. 10.
New York City Ballet
Remaining performances of “The Nutcracker” ballet have been canceled due to positive tests for coronavirus, the New York City Ballet announced Dec. 28.
The famed ballet by George Balanchine, a staple of the winter performing arts season in New York, was scheduled to present performances through Jan. 2 at Lincoln Center’s David H. Koch Theater.
“While New York City Ballet had hoped to resume performances this evening, we have made the decision that continuing to perform at this time would not be in the best interest of the NYCB community, whose health and safety is our number one priority,” NYCB Executive Director Kathy Brown and Artistic Director Jonathan Stafford said in a statement. “We are extraordinarily proud of everyone who safely came together to present 30 beautiful performances of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker in recent weeks, and we are also very grateful to the thousands of people who attended.”
Vaccine restrictions had limited audience members to those old enough to be vaccinated or to younger children with a negative PCR test.
Ticketholders for canceled shows will be able to receive a full refund or make a tax-deductible, charitable donation to the ballet in the amount of the value of their tickets.
The ballet company has performed “The Nutcracker” every year but one since its 1954 premiere. Last year’s shows were canceled because of the pandemic.
Miami Jingle Ball
iHeartRadio’s annual Jingle Ball 2021 tour was cut short this year. The Miami leg of the tour, scheduled for Dec. 19, has been canceled due to COVID-19 outbreaks, Y100 Miami announced on social media.
“Due to the increased transmission of the new Covid-19 variant and to further minimize any potential risks, as a precautionary measure and for the safety of our staff, talent and guests, we have made the decision to cancel tonight’s IHeartRadio Y100 Jingle Ball,” iHeart said in a statement.
The show was originally scheduled to feature Doja Cat, Megan Thee Stallion, Jonas Brothers, Black Eyed Peas, Saweetie, Monsta X, Anitta and more.
On Jan. 2, “Mrs. Doubtfire” producer Kevin McCollum announced the musical would take a hiatus from Jan. 10 to March 14, planning to resume performances on March 15 at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre.
McCollum said the show would have to close permanently if it didn’t take “drastic, pro-active measures” due to challenges from the omicron variant of COVID-19.”
He continued: “Out of concern for the potential long-term employment of everyone who works on Mrs. Doubtfire, and the extended run of the show, we have decided that following the January 9 performance, the production will close for nine weeks, returning on March 15.”
“Mrs. Doubtfire has been in development for six years. We are doing everything in our power to keep the virus from prematurely ending our run on Broadway. By taking this break we can afford to launch an extended run starting in March,” McCollum said.
‘Jagged Little Pill’
As Broadway struggles to keep curtains up, COVID woes are forcing longer shutdowns for some productions — and the permanent closure of “Jagged Little Pill.”
“Jagged Little Pill” announced Dec. 20 that it would not be reopening following a closure that was set to end early last week. It was the second show to directly blame COVID for closing; the first was “Chicken & Biscuits” in November.
The musical “Waitress,” which opened on Broadway in 2016, closed permanently after members of its company and crew tested positive for COVID-19, the show’s official Twitter account announced Dec. 23. The musical was originally scheduled to run through Jan. 9.
“This is not how we wanted to finish our run but (we) are so grateful to every fan and theater-lover who visited the Diner these past few months,” reads the tweet.
Sara Bareilles, who composed the musical and starred in a leg of its performances, tweeted that the closure was “a gut punch of the highest degree.”
“Thank you for everything,” she continued. “This cast. This company. This community. May we all be so lucky. Forever I love you.”
‘Thoughts of a Colored Man’
The play “Thoughts of a Colored Man,” written by Keenan Scott II, has also ended its Broadway run early.
Producers Brian Moreland, Ron Simons, Diana DiMenna, Kandi Buruss (“The Chi”), Sheryl Lee Ralph (“Moesha”) and Samira Wiley (“The Handmaid’s Tale”) shared the news on Instagram: “We are heartbroken to announce that performances have ended for Thoughts of a Colored Man as of Wednesday, December 22.”
“We have tried our hardest to safely navigate the current, unfortunate health crisis, but ultimately we are unable to continue under the unfortunate conditions of Covid exposure in the city and country,” read the caption, alongside a photo of the cast on stage.
“While this is not the outcome we had hoped for, being part of this historic season on Broadway has been the greatest privilege of our lives,” the producers said in a statement. “The theatre industry’s great return is about so much more than the success or failure of any single production. As a community, we remain undeterred, unflinching and unstoppable.”
Ticketholders to canceled performances will get a refund.
‘Is There Still Sex In The City?’
Writer and star Candace Bushnell tested positive for COVID-19 Dec. 21 right before she headed onstage – and the producers have said the show, which premiered Dec. 7, cannot continue. A national tour remains in the works, plus an international one.
The Rockettes announced Dec. 17 that the Radio City Christmas Spectacular would end early.
“We regret that we are unable to continue the ‘Christmas Spectacular’ this season due to increasing challenges from the pandemic,” a statement on the Rockettes’ website read. “We had hoped we could make it through the season and are honored to have hosted hundreds of thousands of fans at more than 100 shows over the last seven weeks. “We have loved bringing back this cherished tradition that helps usher in the holiday season in New York City and look forward to welcoming fans back to Radio City Music Hall in 2022.”
For a full list of Broadway shows that are postponing performances amid the COVID surge, click here.
Contributing: Pamela Avila, Ryan W. Miller, Adrianna Rodriguez, Brian Truitt, Edward Segarra, USA TODAY; Ilana Keller, Asbury Park Press; Brian Blueskye, Ema Sasic, Palm Springs Desert Sun; Associated Press