It was among the first local theater troupes to get back on the stage in Northern Virginia after an unwanted, pandemic-fueled hiatus lasting more than a year.
But COVID’s omicron variant has caused Dominion Stage to pull the plug, for now, on its planned next production.
With cases of the frequently benign but highly contagious omicron COVID variant surging throughout the local community, including some breakthrough cases among the fully vaccinated cast, leaders of the troupe decided to reschedule their production of the Stone-Age musical comedy “Firebringer” to a later point in 2022 as conditions allow. The show had been scheduled to open Jan. 21.
“These [breakthrough cases] happened at a critical time in our rehearsal schedule – just weeks from opening night. We were well on our way,” said Michael Page, the director of “Firebringer.”
“Some actors are recovering, and with the omicron variant being so easy to catch, the chance of others coming down with it is extremely high,” Page said. “There are no ensemble parts where someone could potentially step into a larger role. Better to postpone the show than have it run without enough rehearsals or have to cancel performances.”
“In many professional companies, understudies can step in when an actor in a key role cannot perform,” Dominion Stage president Matthew Randall said. “But understudies are rare in community-theater productions.”
“Firebringer” is slated to be Dominion’s first musical production since “Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson” in early 2020, just weeks before COVID arrived in the U.S. But the troupe already has two COVID-era productions under its belt, having produced the drama “The Bluest Eye” in August and the comedy “Five Women Wearing the Same Dress” in November. No cases of COVID were reported among performers, production staff or audience members.
Starting with “Firebringer,” proof of vaccination was to be required of audiences in another public-health step.
Refunds for tickets already purchased will be offered, or tickets can be traded for new performance dates when they are determined.