Broadway Producers Of ‘American Buffalo’ & ‘The Minutes’ Call COVID-19 Vaccine “Essential” To Planned Spring 2021 Reopenings

The Broadway revival of American Buffalo, orignally set to star Laurence Fishburne, Sam Rockwell and Darren Criss, and the Steppenwolf production of Tracy Letts’ The Minutes are targeting Spring 2021 openings, though producers say the development of a coronavirus vaccine is “essential” to the plans.

Both productions had been scheduled to open during Spring 2020 prior to Broadway’s coronavirus shutdown in March. The casts have not been confirmed.

In a statement, producers of both shows (they share lead producer Jeffrey Richards), said, “It is the intent to open these plays — both powerful, funny and relevant dissections of Americana — in the spring of 2021, on the exact dates they were scheduled to open in 2020. However, we will only do so knowing that there are safeguards in place that will encourage audiences to return to the theatre, and that our government will allow us to have gatherings of more than 500 people. We, the producing team, believe that a vaccine is essential as part of that process, and we are hopeful that progress will be made in that area to ensure that artists and theatregoers will return to support this vital element of our theatrical heritage: the American play.”

The announcement comes as the Broadway League is widely expected to extend the ongoing Broadway shutdown from September 2020 to January 2021. Yesterday, producers of The Music Man, starring Hugh Jackman, and Lincoln Center Theater’s Flying Over Sunset, which features music by Tom Kitt and lyrics by Michael Korie, announced Spring 2021 start dates.

Broadway’s expected shutdown extension would also impact the planned return engagement of David Byrne’s American Utopia, which had booked a 17-week run at the Hudson Theatre from Sept. 18-Jan. 17. The Hudson is booked with Plaza Suite, starring Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker beginning March 19.

Also to be determined are the Roundabout Theatre Company’s Caroline or Change and Birthday Candles, both currently scheduled for Fall previews.

Both American Buffalo and The Minutes were two of the more anticipated plays of the 2019-20 Broadway season. Letts’ The Minutes, directed by Anna D. Shapiro, was already in previews at the time of the March 12 shutdown, with a cast including Letts, Armie Hammer, Ian Barford, Blair Brown, Cliff Chamberlain, K. Todd Freeman, Danny McCarthy, Jessie Mueller, Sally Murphy, Austin Pendleton and Jeff Still.

The show is expected to begin previews begin at the Cort Theatre the week of March 1, 2021, with a target opening night of March 15, 2021. The play’s plot revolves around a small town city council meeting, corruption, an inquisitive newcomer and a mystery or two.

The revival of David Mamet’s classic American Buffalo, directed by Neil Pepe, had not yet begun previews when the shutdown hit. The starry production, with cast intact, is now set to open at the Circle in the Square Theatre on April 14, 2021, exactly one year after its originally scheduled opening date. Previews will begin the week of March 22, 2021.

Further details, including casting, about both productions will be announced in the coming months, producers said.

The Minutes producing team is led by Jeffrey Richards, Rebecca Gold, Carl Moellenberg, Spencer Ross, Louise Gund with Jayne Baron Sherman, Elizabeth Armstrong, Blakeman Entertainment, HornosBerger, Across the River Productions, Stewart F. Lane/Bonnie Comley/Leah Lane, Kathleen K. Johnson, Emily Dobbs, Robert Flicker, Jacob Soroken Porter, and The Shubert Organization.

The American Buffalo producing team is headed by Richards, Steve Traxler, and Stephanie P. McClelland with Greenleaf Productions, Spencer Ross, Gemini Theatrical, Ted Liebowitz/Cue to Cue Productions, Brian Moreland, Brad Blume, Caiola Productions, Patty Baker, Arthur Kern, Joanna Carson, Willette Klausner, Van Kaplan, Jeremiah J. Harris & Darren P. DeVerna, Ambassador Theatre Group, Steve and Jacob Levy, Diego Kolankowsky, Morwin Schmookler, Jacob Soroken Porter and The Shubert Organization.

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