Actor Jodie Comer halted today’s matinee of Broadway’s Prima Facie due to New York City’s bad, smokey air, telling audience members she was having difficulty breathing.
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An audience member tells Deadline that today’s show began 10 minutes late, only to have star Comer attempt to begin the show only to announce from the stage that she couldn’t breathe sufficiently to continue with a performance. When the curtain lowered, an announcement asked audience members to stay seated until a final decision was made as to whether to cancel the matinee or proceed with an understudy.
A spokesman for the show tells Deadline that, following the pause, understudy Dani Arlington is set to go on for Comer in the role of Tessa.
According to the audience member, Comer was about three minutes into her performance when she coughed, paused and called out to the stage manager, “I can’t breathe in this air.”
By the time the announcement was made that Comer would not return to the stage this afternoon, much of the audience had left their seats, apparently to get new tickets for a future performance or for refunds.
On Twitter, some audience members expressed confusion. “We came to see Jodie Comer,” writes one. “She started show. Had to stop for air quality. Now want us to see understudy. What is refund policy? Exchange? We came and paid high price to see Jodie.”
Earlier today, the Writers Guild of America paused picketing in New York City due to the poor air quality caused by Canadian wildfires. The National Weather Service issued an Air Quality Red Alert for the New York area, the worst air quality in decades. Flights out of New York’s LaGuardia Airport have been halted.
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