Suncoast theatre companies makes changes to upcoming season

Suncoast theatre companies makes changes to upcoming season
(Source: Associated Press)

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - The novel coronavirus pandemic has changed our daily lives and will continue making changes for the foreseeable future.

Asolo Rep in Sarasota announced Friday that due to public safety concerns it will adjust its 2020-21 season. The theatre has postponed their season opener BILLY ELLIOT: THE MUSICAL, originally scheduled to open November 21, 2020. The theatre has scheduled BILLY ELLIOT to be the fall musical opener of its 2021-22 season.

“The show would require a long rehearsal period starting in October for twelve school-aged children,” said Producing Artistic Director Michael Donald Edwards. “With schools uncertain of their own openings and rightfully limiting activities of all kinds, we felt we should not bring these young artists into our theatre.”

The theatre also announced the cancellation of Ken Ludwig’s THE THREE MUSKETEERS, originally scheduled to open in early January.

For those who bought season subscriptions, Asolo Rep will automatically hold the funds for the two cancelled performances “on account” so that those credits can be used for additional tickets to shows in this season or toward a subscription for the 2021-22 season. Subscribers will also have the option to donate the cost of the tickets to the theatre or receive a refund.

Asolo isn’t the only company making changes. Venice Theatre put together a COVID-19 task force to determine what precautions the theatre would need to take upon reopening. Although the theatre remains closed at this point, the reopening task force has completed its recommendations which were approved by the theatre’s board of directors last week.

Venice Theatre’s Producing Executive Director Murray Chase says, “We look forward to when we are able to return to experiencing the joy of live theatre together. However, the safety of our audiences, staff, and volunteers is utmost in determining exactly when to reopen. Our benchmarks for reopening safely are two weeks of continued decrease in local COVID-19 cases and a positivity rate of 3-4%.”

Theatres are also seeking crowdsourcing and continuing fundraising. Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe cancelled all performances like other theatres but they are asking for the support of art patrons around the Suncoast. For 24-hours on August 28, Give 8/28 will virtually drive support of nearly 400 Black-led and Black-benefiting nonprofit organizations with the goal of raising $250,000 nationwide for causes that directly impact the communities they serve. You can join the cause here!

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