Everybody’s, a popular Brooklyn-based Caribbean American magazine, said on Monday that it was postponing Oliver Samuels’ “Crazy But True” play in the United States amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“As a result of the rapid and deadly spread of coronavirus disease, Everybody’s has postponed the performances of the new Oliver Samuels play, ‘Crazy But True,’ scheduled during the last two weeks of May and early June,” said Herman Hall, the magazine’s Grenadian-born publisher. “The health of our patrons and the public comes first.”
Hall said performances in New York City – the boroughs of Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn – and in the states of New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Maryland are “on hold.”
“We cannot give new dates and venues until the COVID-19 becomes manageable and normalcy returns to public life,” he said.
“Fans who paid for Oliver tickets during the Christmas-New Year season to be sent as gifts and organizations that gave deposits for group sales, if you wish, we will return your payments or hold the payments,” he added.
Before announcing the postponement of “Crazy But True,” Hall said the magazine alerted “several cherished Oliver fans and patrons of Caribbean comedy-theater.”
“Why postpone in March when the play is in the end of May and early June?” Hall said many queried. “Here’s the answer: We do not want to sell tickets and then postpone the performances.
“Why wait until the government makes it mandatory to postpone events, especially when the venues are educational institutions?” he asked. “Preparation for Oliver Samuels annual plays classified as off-Broadway shows begins in November, when we apply to the union representing Broadway and film actors for labor approval.
“By December, application is sent to the US Immigration Services seeking work permit,” Hall added. “If or when it is approved around Feb/March in the US, it is then sent to the US Embassy in Jamaica to interview the cast before issuing the work visa, which takes another month or more.
“By April approximately 80 percent of expenses have been paid, such as insurance, venue rentals, airline, hotel, immigration, set building, promotion and advertising,” he continued. “Nobody knows if in May/June the COVID-19 will be raging, thereby forcing more governors to declare a state of emergency. It is far better to postpone the play now rather than later.”
Hall said Everybody’s magazine has been presenting Caribbean cultural events for 42 years in US northeast.
He said venues include Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center, The Theater at Madison Square Garden, the then Roseland Ballroom, Radio City Music Hall, Town Hall on Broadway, Prudential Centers in Boston, and Newark and Lehman Center for the Performing Arts.