A new Broadway production of “Macbeth,” determined to keep going even as cast members continue to test positive for the coronavirus, came up with an unusual solution Thursday night: The director went on to replace an absent performer.
The director, Sam Gold, played the role of a Scottish thane named Lennox, as well as another role played by the same actor. He stepped in because all of the show’s understudies were already onstage, filling in for other absent actors.
The production, starring Daniel Craig and Ruth Negga, is scheduled to open on April 28, which is the deadline to qualify for this year’s Tony Awards. That will make “Macbeth” the last show to open this season.
But the play has faced serious coronavirus challenges throughout its preview period.
“Macbeth” got through only three performances when, just half an hour before the curtain was to rise on April 1, a cast member tested positive for the coronavirus. The show canceled that performance, and the next day Craig, too, tested positive.
The show wound up being closed for 11 days, restarting on April 12. On Thursday night, the house was sold out. When another member of the cast tested positive, Gold took to the stage himself to prevent having to send all those ticket holders home.
A similar rescue happened last December, when Keenan Scott II, the writer of “Thoughts of a Colored Man” stepped in to save a performance of that show after several actors tested positive for the coronavirus.
“Macbeth” is the ninth production directed by Gold on Broadway over the last decade. In 2015 he won a Tony Award as the director of the musical “Fun Home.”
“Macbeth” is also one of four productions that has been forced to cancel performances by the coronavirus this month. The play “Plaza Suite” resumed performances Thursday (although one of its stars, Sarah Jessica Parker, remains out until Saturday); the new musical “A Strange Loop” held its delayed first preview that same night. The musical “Paradise Square” remains shuttered, and is planning to restart performances on April 19.