Theaters across the state close doors due to coronavirus concerns
Editor’s note: Coronavirus concerns could result in events being canceled. Please call ahead to confirm any activity you are planning to attend.
Even as this is being written, events keep changing. However, it is certainly unprecedented that just about all the theaters in Connecticut are postponing or canceling productions and or entire seasons. That Broadway closed was a shock across the theater world, since the only time it shut down in recent history was after 9/11. However, when Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York restricted the number of gatherings, the theaters decided to restart productions the week of April 13. That is what has been reported to date.
So many theaters and actors are saddened by the changes being made. Hardships are felt across the theater spectrum. Be sure to check theater websites or phone the venue before setting out.
ACT (A Contemporary Theatre of Connecticut) of Ridgefield was excited about staging “Nickel Mines,” a brand-new musical, and was deep into rehearsals, when ACT informed theatergoers that “it is with great pain and deep regret” that the cast and crew who have been working hard on the show, had to cancel.
The Ridgefield Theatre Barn of Ridgefield has postponed its opening night of one-acts plays to March 27. “Understanding the situation is fluid,” the theater will reevaluate and update information.
The Downtown Cabaret Theatre in Bridgeport has suspended all shows until further notice.
Music Theatre of Connecticut (MTC), located in Norwalk, has rescheduled its production of “Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story,” which would have opened this weekend, but because of COVID-19 will now play from May 15-31.
The Community Theatre at Woodbury (CTAW) was the first theater to announce that it was not only postponing the show which was about to open, but canceled the rest of this season. “It’s so sad when you rehearse and rehearse and the show is finally ready to go on, and you can’t go on,” said Maureen Denver, the theater’s artistic director.
Ed Bassett of the Phoenix Stage Company in Oakville said that when he heard Broadway was closing, he realized that although he wanted to go on with the show, he too had to postpone his production of “The Cayuga Canal Girls” by Laura King, which was scheduled for March 20-29. The Phoenix is one of the six theaters from across the country to be selected by the American Association of Community Theater (AACT) to produce this play as part of the AACT NewPlayFest. The Phoenix will now be suspending production until May.
Yale Repertory Theatre in New Haven has canceled the rest of its season.
Seven Angels Theatre in Waterbury had its production of “Always a Bridesmaid” on stage for performances over the past weekend. Now, the theater will postpone further production and bring back this comedy on April 16.
The Palace Theater in Waterbury is busy working with agents and hoping to reschedule touring productions. According to Frank Tavera at the helm of the Palace, “As soon I learned that Broadway closed, I knew we were going to make changes. We have a six-week embargo and hope that we will be able to have those shows like ‘Neverland’ and ‘The Jersey Boys’ rescheduled.” The CEO also said that April 30 marks that six-week period. Meanwhile tours are being rerouted and rescheduled. Everyone in the theater industry is working feverishly and hoping this coronavirus leaves as quickly as it arrived.
Landmark Community Theatre at the Thomaston Opera House had its Thomaston High School audience in attendance last Friday for “Of Mice and Men.” Jeff Dunn, general manager, said that the cast has thanked him for letting the show go on. “After 12 weeks of rehearsals, studying lines at home and work, these cast members were so thankful for being able to go on with the show. I don’t have the luxury of canceling an entire season, because our season is just starting. We will address the seriousness of the coronavirus, but we’re also trying to be optimistic.” Jeff also said that they will reevaluate during the week.
Hartford Stage, Hartford Theatre Works and Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven and other regional theaters have postponed shows or canceled seasons.
If you want to get out and see a show, please check with the theaters first. All of the theaters have disinfected, scrubbed and shampooed their theaters. They all want patrons and staff to be well.
Meanwhile, stay safe and be well.
Joanne Greco Rochman is a founding member of the Connecticut Critics Circle and an active member in the American Theatre Critics Association. She welcomes comments. Contact: email@example.com.