Leadership / 01.05.22
Broadway's Understudies Come Through in Clutch During Latest COVID-19 Surge
AM New York (12/28/21) Windman, Matt
As positive COVID-19 cases forced the cancellation of theatrical performances during the holidays, attention has swung to understudies, standbys, and other backstage and front-of-house workers. In the past few weeks such "coverage" performers and workers have become the saviors of the theater community. For example, eight of the 12 roles in the Broadway musical "Come From Away" were recently filled by understudies, swings, and even a performer from the national touring company. There remain lingering misperceptions that shows have been mainly closed due to unprepared coverage players. "Covers are doing triple the amount of prep work to cover numbers of people dropping like flies, sometimes at the half hour call on testing day," said Celia Mei Rubin, who worked as a swing, understudy, and children's dance captain on the musical "Matilda." In agreement was Lauryn Ciardullo, who understudied several roles in the Broadway production of "Aladdin." "I have gone on for multiple tracks in my career without having rehearsal," she noted. "It's part of the job." Ciardullo was surprised that shows did not hire more swings upon reopening "despite the fact there is a debilitating virus still around."
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Tags: News , Broadway , COVID-19 , Coronavirus