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Holiday Celebrations and Shows Retreat as Omicron Variant Surges

FOH Staff • News • January 4, 2022

NEW YORK – Earlier in 2021, hopes were high that the Covid-19 pandemic would ease its grip and allow for a full return to New Years festivities like the countdown in New York’s Times Square. But with a surge in the Omicron variant affecting live event performers and crew, along with the population in general, celebrations had to be scaled back considerably.

In Times Square on Dec. 31, a crowd of about 15,000 fully vaccinated and masked revelers gathered, far fewer than the 50,000-plus that might have attended, but an improvement on a year prior, when vaccines were just beginning to reach the arms of the American public and Times Square was closed to in-person revelers.

At the same time, just like the “flightmare” scenario for holiday air travel, a significant percentage of Broadway and concert events had to be nixed in a bid to curb the spread of Covid infections.

Curtailed NYC shows included Radio City Music Hall’s Christmas Spectacular with the Rockettes (on Dec. 17) and other seasonal favorites like The Nutcracker, staged by the New York Ballet. And recently postponed or canceled Broadway shows include Mrs. Doubtfire, Come from Away, Jagged Little Pill, Waitress, Ain’t Too Proud and Thoughts of a Colored Man.

Backstage Covid infections last month also disrupted other New York productions. The Dec. 18 Saturday Night Live show, staged without an audience, had to nix a performance from musical guest Charli XCX.

Elsewhere, concerts featuring Evanescence, Lil Nas X, Coldplay, Doja Cat and Dan + Shay faced Covid-related disruptions recently. Other acts forced to cancel due to Covid last month included Megan Thee Stallion, the Jonas Brothers and Brett Eldredge. And other recently postponed or canceled concerts include The Flaming Lips’ NYE cave shows, LCD Soundsystem’s Brooklyn Steel residency,  iHeartRadio’s Dec. 19 Y100 Jingle Ball show in Orlando, the Dec. 30 Capital One Beach Bash in Miami with Harry Styles and Khalid and David Lee Roth’s residency show in Las Vegas.