NEW YORK — The show must go on — and so will the masks for “The Minutes.”
The Tracy Letts-written drama isn’t going along with the updated mask protocols for Broadway theaters starting this weekend.
Producers of the play announced Thursday that audiences will be required to continue wearing masks throughout the production’s run. The final performance is scheduled for July 24 at Studio 54.
Despite The Broadway League announcing that masks will be optional at all theaters beginning July 1, production spokesman Jeffrey Fauver confirmed the decision was at the request of company members.
Earlier this month, six of the 11 cast members of “The Minutes” were reportedly stricken with the virus. “Unfortunately we can’t confirm or comment on the health status of members of the company,” Fauver commented when asked about the validity of the illnesses. “I can say that no performances have been canceled due to COVID.”
The Jeffrey Richards-produced show becomes the second production to extend the mask mandate through their closing nights. “American Buffalo,” also produced by Richards, will finish its run at Circle in the Square July 10.
New York City’s COVID positivity rates have seen an uptick in recent weeks, with daily cases in late June reaching 3,412. According to the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the test positivity rate hit 10.05%.
“As the optional mask policy takes effect in July, there may be unique situations which would require the audience, or some of the audience, to be masked,” Broadway League President Charlotte St. Martin said Thursday. “The health and safety of our cast, crew, and audience will continue to remain a top priority.”
Written by and starring the two-time Tony Award-winning “August: Osage County” playwright, “The Minutes” opened April 17 for a 16-week limited engagement with a cast including Jessie Mueller, Austin Pendleton and Noah Reid.
The Pulitzer Prize-nominated play premiered at Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theater in 2017. The storyline centers on the inner-workings of a city council meeting in the fictional town of Big Cherry.