Capital Region theatres cancel summers shows due to pandemic

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CAPITAL REGION, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Some local theatre companies have announced they have to cancel summer performances due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Park Playhouse in Albany has announced their summer production of the Andrew Lloyd Weber and Tim Rice rock opera, Evita, has been cancelled.

“We still hope that we’re going to have a summer season at the park. We still hope to do Matilda and maybe even run it longer than we originally planned,” Producing Artistic Director, Owen Smith, told News10, “that being said though, Evita was meant to be our big professional show.”

There’s the obvious issue posed by filling Washington Park’s amphitheater if the public health crisis persists through the summer. But, additionally, the show gets worked on for months before it takes the stage, and rehearsals can’t happen right now.

“We can’t do it because of these social distancing and public gathering guidelines,” Smith explained, “so it was just the right choice for us.”

Park Playhouse has offered free amphitheater seating for years, relying heavily on donations from the community and ticket sales for premium seats. Ticket sales had not yet gone live for Evita, but for Opera Saratoga, a company also cancelling summer performances, they’re asking a favor of their ticket holders.

“We employ over 100 people seasonally during the festival,” Lawrence Edelson, Artistic and General Director of Opera Saratoga told News10, “artists from around the country, technicians, artisans, and they rely on this income. It’s their livelihood.”

Opera Saratoga is offering refunds for the cancelled summer performances, but hope people will think of the future of the arts and convert their ticket into a donation.

“When people donate their tickets back to us, it goes directly into the hands of the artists,” Edelson explained, “and I think it’s really important for people to remember, because it’s those artists that are going to enrich our lives once all of this is over.”

Smith from Park Playhouse echoes the sentiment that, in these times, we need the theatre to uplift us, and provide us with an escape.

“When this crisis is over, we need places like Opera Saratoga,” Smith said, “like Playhouse Stage company, that are there to serve the very real need in the community for cultural engagement.”

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