Jodie Comer was forced to end a matinee showing of her Broadway play Prima Facie early after she was unable to breathe due to wildfire air blowing into New York City.
Comer, 30, said the air quality was preventing her from breathing before she was assisted off the stage by a stage manager around 10 minutes into Wednesday’s show, eyewitnesses told Variety.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams has urged millions of residents to remain indoors as hazardous smoke from Canadian wildfires has bellowed in from across the border.
Huge swaths of the nation from the Northeast to the Great Lakes are braced for several more days of smog, while Canadian officials continue to grapple with over 400 wildfires.
A thick, nicotine-yellow haze shrouded the famous Big Apple skyline Wednesday, while the city briefly became the most polluted in the world as its Air Quality Index score soared past 200, which is deemed ‘very unhealthy’.
Jodie Comer was forced to end a matinee showing of her Broadway play Prima Facie early after she was unable to breathe due to wildfire air blowing into New York City
Yankee Stadium pictured on Wednesday afternoon, at the time of writing a decision has yet to be made on the fate of tonight’s game
The smoky haze begins to descend on the Washington monument in the nation’s capital
More than a dozen US states and over 100 million people are under air quality alerts, as health experts warn breathing the fog can be as damaging as smoking six cigarettes. Nanoparticles from the smog are so small they can penetrate the lungs and bloodstream, with side effects including irritation to the eyes and throat alongside breathing problems.
The smoke issues have threatened a slew of Major League Baseball games scheduled for Wednesday night including the White Sox at the Yankees and the Tigers at the Phillies.
Around 4pm, Yankees officials announced that their game has been canceled and that the two teams will square off in a double header at 4pm and 7pm tomorrow.
The Phillies game is scheduled to start at 6pm.
The Toronto Blue Jays will close the roof at the Rogers Center for their game tonight with the Houston Astros. Some Blue Jays fans were angry that the roof was open for Tuesday night’s game amid the air quality concerns.
‘All New Yorkers should limit outdoor activity to the greatest extent possible. Stay inside, close windows and doors, and use air purifiers if you have them,’ Mayor Eric Adams said at a Wednesday press conference.
Adams had been due to attend an event honoring Oscar-winner Robert De Niro at the Tribeca Grill as part of the Tribeca Festival
Public libraries in the Big Apple closed early at 3:30pm due to the weather. Outdoor activities for public schools were also shelved. A fireworks event in Coney Island was canceled as was the opening of the 45th annual Celebrate Brooklyn! concert series.
A sheet of smoke from the wildfires first descended on New York on Tuesday before thickening throughout the afternoon, leaving those in Manhattan unable to see the New Jersey skyline across the Hudson River.
People walk in Times Square as Manhattan is shrouded in haze and smoke
A man attempting to take a photograph amid the haze
The Manhattan skyline shrouded in smoke on Wednesday afternoon
At the time of writing, the smoke has not forced the cancelation of Governor’s Ball, the music festival scheduled to take place this weekend.
‘We’re closely monitoring the air quality with weather experts and are in close contact with city officials. As always, the health and safety of New Yorkers is our top priority. At this time, the festival is continuing as planned. We are hopeful that conditions will improve in the coming days and are looking forward to a great weekend!’ a festival representative told Pitchfork.
The music festival, headlined by Kendrick Lamar, Lil Nas X and Lizzo, is scheduled to take place at Flushing Meadows Corona Park on June 9 – 11.
New York Governor Kathy Hochul said in remarks that she’s hopeful that the smoke will have cleared by the weekend.
Software giant Google has told all employees on the East Coast to work from home. New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy shut all state offices at 3:30pm. At least three school districts in the Garden State have canceled their activities.
Baltimore-area schools have followed suit and canceled any outdoor activities scheduled for Wednesday.
As well as sending New Yorkers inside, air quality alerts were also introduced in states including Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Illinois, Virginia and the Carolinas, according to the National Weather Service.
Forced to end early: Comer, 30, said the air quality was preventing her from breathing before she was assisted off the stage by a stage manager around 10 minutes into Wednesday’s show
Jodie has been receiving massive praise for her one-woman show Prima Facie, a role she originated at the Harold Pinter Theatre in London before bringing it to Broadway.
On Tuesday night the role earned her yet another trophy for her work at the Drama Desk Awards.
The British actress, 30, won Outstanding Solo Performance for Prima Facie, in a role she originated at the Harold Pinter Theatre in London before bringing it to Broadway.
Unlike the Tony Awards, the Drama Desk Awards honor not just Broadway performances but also off-Broadway and off-off-Broadway.
This year, for the first time in its history, the Drama Desk Awards opted to make its acting categories gender neutral – or in its preferred parlance, ‘gender free.’
In her category, Jodie beat out David Greenspan for Four Saints in Three Acts Jessica Hendy for Walking With Bubbles Anthony Rapp for Without You and Tracy Thorne for Jack Was Kind.
She has also received a Tony Award nomination for the same part, competing against Jessica Chastain in A Doll’s House, Jessica Hecht in Summer, 1976 and Audra McDonald in Ohio State Murders in her category – ahead of the awards ceremony on June 12.
Jodie has been receiving massive praise for her one-woman show Prima Facie, a role she originated at the Harold Pinter Theatre in London before bringing it to Broadway
Prima Facie marks Jodie’s West End and Broadway debut. Speaking to CBS News this week, Jodie explained: ‘I’ve spoken very kind of publicly, honestly, about the fact that I auditioned a lot for theater and a lot of the feedback was, you know, the fact that I wasn’t classically trained, hadn’t been to drama school.’
‘That was a kind of hindrance. So, then I got sent this one-woman play written by Suzie Miller to be on the West End. I was just like, wow, it just seemed like such a gift.’
When asked if she expected the impact that the play, and her performance, would have, she replied, ‘No, no, I think we were all really taken aback by it, actually.’
‘But I remember when we did the first preview in London – and this was the first time performing in front of an audience – a lot of it was crying, like very audibly and very quite loud and unashamed, and very guttural.’