‘Seven Methods of Killing Kylie Jenner’ (Photo: Helen Murray / ArenaPAL) was one of the shows scheduled for this year’s Under the Radar Festival.
As New York and the world at large struggle with the highly contagious Omicron variant of the coronavirus, The Public Theater has announced it will be canceling its 2022 Under the Radar Festival, an annual winter series devoted to the production of new works by emerging talent.
The leading, downtown Off-Broadway theater—originator of such legendary and award-winning works such as Take Me Out, Fun Home, and Hamilton—announced this cancellation on Twitter, sharing their rationale in a four-tweet thread that read, “Thank you all for being a member of The Public Theater community and Happy New Year. We are sharing the unfortunate news that we have decided to cancel this year’s UNDER THE RADAR FESTIVAL. While our robust COVID-19 protocols have created a safe environment within our theaters, multiple disruptions related to the rapid community spread of the Omicron variant — including artist and staff availability, artist and audience cancellations, major flight interruptions, and visa processing delays — have prevented a viable way to move forward with presenting UNDER THE RADAR 2022. This is incredibly disappointing, but we believe it is necessary given the continued surge and ongoing disruptions. If you are a ticket holder, expect an email from us with more info. Thank you for your understanding as we all work through the continued challenges of COVID-19 together.”
In the subsequent replies, tweets, and retweets, fans, artists, and critics were upset but understanding, knowing it was a difficult decision for The Public Theater and appreciating that the theater had its artists’ well-being in mind. Further details may follow, but the announced shows will not be livestreamed.
This cancelation seems prompted not only by COVID but by flight and visa delays, meaning it is not necessarily a harbinger for other Off-Broadway theaters’ winter shows, some of which are currently in rehearsal and are set to begin this winter. Broadway has also not made any formal cancellation announcements, though many actors and crew members have been infected with COVID as breakthrough cases lead to canceled shows and many swings taking on principal roles.