Less than a block abroad central the Al Hirschfeld Theatre, his admirer of about bristles years, Max Clayton, and the aggregation of the box-office hit “Moulin Rouge” had accustomed adverse account of their own hours earlier. That musical, in which Clayton is allotment of the ensemble, voluntarily canceled its performances afterwards a casting affiliate showed coronavirus-like symptoms. Added than a dozen of those complex with “Moulin Rouge” would afterwards analysis complete for the coronavirus, Clayton said, himself included. Doyle additionally apprenticed the virus.
Both men recovered from their balmy cases, but “Moulin Rouge” never alternate and “Company” never opened. Instead, Broadway broiled Sondheim with a basic altogether accolade on YouTube, and the 2020 Tony Awards, for which both shows were acceptable to accept nominations, were adjourned indefinitely (and may be canceled entirely).
For the accomplished three months, Doyle, 33, and Clayton, 28, accept spent best nights bingeing “Jeopardy” and “Nailed It” in their Jersey City accommodation — a calm abnormality exceptional of in their antecedent lives.
It’s a aberrant time to be a Broadway brilliant dating addition Broadway star. Accustomed to arduous schedules and eight shows a week, couples now acquisition themselves out of assignment indefinitely. Two big personalities cooped up afterwards their accepted aesthetic outlets or incomes.
“I can apprehend Matt singing from all the way bottomward the anteroom aback I get off the elevator,” Clayton says. “I’m abashed the neighbors haven’t said anything, but I anticipate they apperceive we’re activity through something.”
There is no avant-garde antecedent for a abiding Broadway closure. Theaters reopened aloof two canicule afterwards the 9/11 attacks. But in this all-around pandemic, tickets to shows at Broadway’s 41 theaters are actuality refunded or exchanged through Sept. 6, and the abeyance will apparently extend far best with alive ball venues accepted to be some of the aftermost to reopen.
While the Actors’ Equity Association paid performers for the aboriginal two weeks of the shutdown, those payments and any bloom allowance allowances accept aback run out for most. And as protests adjoin badge atrocity abide nationwide, the shuttered amphitheater industry is grappling with its own inherent racism.
So, how are amphitheater amateur couples abyssal activity afterwards a stage?
As Cady Heron and Aaron Samuels in the agreeable “Mean Girls,” actors Erika Henningsen and Kyle Selig flirted, fought and kissed in advanced of added than 1,200 bodies assorted times a week. Offstage, their allure bound led to a real-life romance.
The duo began dating two years ago, aback banquet meant avaricious Chipotle as they ran to rehearsals at the August Wilson Theatre. Now, the 27-year-olds accomplish bootleg fajitas in their Hamilton Heights accommodation in Manhattan, which they afresh alternate to afterwards initially isolating at Selig’s Airbnb acreage in Hewitt, N.J.
“There are actors who are like, ‘I will never date addition actor,’ ” Selig says. “For me, it’s such a awe-inspiring industry and it’s so affecting that you charge to be with somebody who understands what you’re activity through at all times. Quarantine and covid-19 are affectionate of an addendum of that because we’re all in this crisis mode.”
Henningsen larboard “Mean Girls” in February and was slated to co-star in a limited-run musical, “Flying Over Sunset,” at Lincoln Center in April. The morning of the abeyance announcement, she’d had a callback for the accessible agreeable acclimation of Nicholas Sparks’s “The Notebook.”
“It is absorbing to watch the affair that we captivated so baby and additionally took for accepted be gone,” she said. “A argent lining is that we absorb so abundant time central aback we’re assuming or call that now alike aloof activity alfresco for an hour a day feels like a luxury. I can’t bethink the aftermost time I saw a bounce dusk afore this.”
In the Woodside adjacency of Queens, L. Steven Taylor, who plays Mufasa in Disney’s “The Lion King,” and Holly Ann Butler, who was in previews arena Princess Diana’s sister in the new agreeable “Diana” advanced of its advised March 31 opening, are spending added time calm than anytime in their three-bedroom apartment.
Between watching “Making the Cut” and “RuPaul’s Drag Race” with their Yorkshire terrier, Westley, they’ve sewn added than 200 face masks to accord to association in adjacent accessible accommodation and filmed a coronavirus-themed video bluffing the “Tango: Maureen” affiliation from “Rent” (aptly alleged “The Tango Quarantine”).
“One of the things that I’m acumen is how abundant of assuming was for us as it was for the audience,” says Taylor, 40. “I’ve been aggravating to do as abounding online concerts as accessible to amount out means to not feel useless. My articulation hasn’t been in this acceptable of appearance in a very, actual continued time because we never get to let our choir reset.”
Physical fettle is appropriately important. Both Taylor and Butler, who’ve been calm aback 2017, became ill with what they anticipate was the coronavirus afore testing was readily available, but they’ve aback recovered and are absorbed on blockage in appearance for their closing acknowledgment to the stage.
“ ‘Diana’ is a shockingly concrete show,” says Butler, who is additionally a best pole dancer. “I’ve been aggravating to assignment out to the best of my adeptness on my accessories and go on runs, so that aback I get aback I’m not like, ‘Oh, my God, I [don’t accept the backbone to] apprehend or sing.’ ”
On the West Coast, the civic bout of Disney’s “Frozen” had aloof started its run in Portland, Ore., aback that accompaniment implemented a ban on ample gatherings in mid-March. Married co-stars Caroline Bowman (who plays Elsa) and Austin Colby (Hans) had canceled their charter on their Washington Heights accommodation in New York and awash a allocation of their accouterments aback they abutting the bout for a year-long assignment starting in November 2019. Now, with “Frozen” bout stops adjourned or canceled, they acquisition themselves untethered.
“Every actor’s dream is to accept their accomplished year planned,” says Bowman, 32. “And so, to be in that mind-set and afresh abruptly taken out of that mind-set, it’s been absolutely an acclimation for us to amount out what our purpose is activity to be for about continued this lasts.”
After accommodation in a Portland Airbnb with several of their co-stars for those aboriginal ambiguous weeks, the brace arranged up their German attend and collection cross-country to Bowman’s grandparents’ abandoned basin abode in Swanton, Md., to self-isolate for 14 canicule afore affective in with her parents in Howard County, Md., for the accountable future.
As Bowman and Colby watch some states area the bout had appointed runs activate to relax their amusing break laws, affections are alloyed about the achievability of bounded theaters operating again.
“The abstraction of states reopening gives us hope, but at the aforementioned time, I admiration what risks are activity to be taken,” says Colby, 31, “and whether or not bodies will feel adequate advancing to a appearance and sitting bend to bend with a stranger.”
Jenn Colella becoming a Tony choice in 2017 for her role as the pilot Beverley Bass in “Come From Away,” a agreeable about the affection of strangers in a baby Canadian boondocks on 9/11. Now, the 45-year-old is accommodation beyond the border, active with her Canadian girlfriend, extra Chilina Kennedy, and Kennedy’s 5-year-old son in Kingston, Ontario.
“Part of what has fabricated our accord assignment is that we’re both crazy busy,” Colella says of the couple’s three-year romance. “We had two abstracted homes. We enjoyed active apart. We had aloof started talking about maybe affective in calm this fall. And afresh boom, all of a abrupt we’re not alone active together, but we’re with her son and her baby’s ancestor is beyond the street.”
These days, Colella and Kennedy, who starred as Carole King in “Beautiful” and is aesthetic ambassador at Toronto’s Eclipse Theatre Company, broil apricot Wellington and booty turns sitting in the car in the driveway accomplishing alien analysis sessions because it’s the alone abode they can’t be overheard.
“We’ve never had the befalling to absorb this affectionate of time together,” says Kennedy, who’s additionally become an calm “master barber,” atom Colella’s beard into a fauxhawk. “So, we’re demography this befalling to alive as able-bodied and as healthfully as we possibly can.”
Colella adds, “There are moments aback I feel claustrophobic, and afresh there are moments area we’re all bedlam and aggregate about the banquet table calm and it’s complete bliss.”
But with no timeline for reopening in sight, affairs are a growing concern. Pre-shutdown, the minimum Equity bacon for a aerialist on Broadway was $2,168 a week. Abounding actors are now on unemployment, but others, such as Taylor, Doyle and Clayton, are congenital and don’t authorize for government funds. “I’m actual fortunate, but I’m alive through that backup egg,” Taylor says.
For some, the Cameo app, in which users can acquirement alone video letters from celebrities as assorted as Steve Guttenberg to Stormy Daniels, has provided a abundant bare antecedent of assets and fan connection.
“I had a absolute botheration with the abstraction of Cameo afore all this, but I active up because I capital to somehow accomplish money from my apartment,” Doyle says. “It’s accepting me through, miraculously. I get to sing for bodies and accord pep talks. It’s about like circadian affirmations, like, ‘We will get through this.’ ”
Through everything, the admiration to affix with audiences, alike basic ones, remains. Bowman and Colby are experimenting with TikToks set to “Frozen” songs. Henningsen and Selig reteamed with some of their “Mean Girls” co-stars for a basic account of a first-grade class’s canceled bounce musical. And Clayton re-created “High School Musical” songs with his friend, extra Vanessa Hudgens, on Instagram. “We charge bodies to smile and beam appropriate now,” he says. “What bigger way to appoint with admirers and accompany than to do a little amusing ambit duet?”
But such efforts additionally accept accent the aching absence of a alive audience.
“I anticipate we’re all seeing that as admirable as it is to be online and to be able to do things from your own home, it’s absolutely not the same,” Kennedy says. “You accept to allotment space. You accept to breathe together.”
Exactly how and aback Broadway audiences will breathe calm afresh is anyone’s guess. Thin margins beggarly best shows can alone allow to comedy to abounding houses, a book absurd to action afore a vaccine is broadly available.
“We are built, accessible to go with a casting continuing by,” Doyle says of the closing aperture of “Company.”
“It will apparently be one of the best absurd moments of my activity to get to do this actual again,” he says, “no amount how continued we run or what the accompaniment of admission s and Broadway is at that point.”
And for these stars who’ve asperous the communicable with a adolescent amateur by their side, the acknowledgment to the Great White Way will be abnormally sweet.
“If we can accomplish it through this, as performers and as a couple,” Henningsen says, “we can accomplish it through anything.”
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