DOWNTOWN — A performance of acclaimed director Mary Zimmerman's "The White Snake" at the Goodman Theatre was abruptly halted and then canceled Sunday night after the lead actor was injured during the show.
The play based on the Chinese myth, which began in previews Saturday, had just gotten underway and was running for less than a half-hour when the lights came on in the theater while an actor was still onstage.
"Ladies and gentlemen, we've had an emergency," an announcer said. The announcer told the actor to leave the stage.
About 15 minutes later, the announcer said "we've had an injury and we are trying to assess our situation. We will let you know."
The show was finally canceled shortly after that when the theater announced "we are not able to continue." Theater officials said patrons could contact the box office Monday about getting tickets to another performance.
The next performance is scheduled for Wednesday. The play is scheduled to continue through June 8.
It is unclear where the injury took place; nothing appeared amiss on stage during the performance before it was halted.
On Monday, Goodman spokeswoman Denise Schneider confirmed that lead actor Amy Kim Waschke was "injured in the first 20 minutes of the show.
"The nature of Mary Zimmerman's work, there's a great deal of physicality and choreography," Schneider said. "What she's doing is not simple. She took a break to ascertain whether it would be prudent to continue with the show" — but decided with the stage manager not to go back on.
While officials wouldn't confirm the nature of the injury Monday, Goodman staff said after the show that Waschke had suffered a leg injury.
Schneider said Monday that Waschke was "still under a doctor's care." Officials were unsure whether she would return in time for the next show Wednesday or whether another cast member would fill in.
According to the playbill, Waschke, a Seattle native, was making her Goodman debut after she appeared in several shows in New York.
She had appeared in previous versions of "The White Snake" in Oregon, California and New Jersey. She's also appeared in "Law & Order SVU."
The play is based on a Chinese story that "has fueled hundreds, possibly thousands of versions," the playbill states. A 2010 version performed by Opera Boston, "Madame White Snake," won the Pulitzer Prize for music.
Sunday's performance, which featured elaborate costumes, props, music and some comedy, is Zimmerman's interpretation.
"It is one of the most captivating works by one of our most visionary artists," Goodman Artistic Director Robert Falls said.
Zimmerman directed "The Jungle Book" at the Goodman last year and has overseen numerous shows in Chicago and elsewhere, including "Metamorphoses," which won her the 2002 Tony award for best director.
Contributing: Jackie Kostek