The Westport Country Playhouse announced today it is canceling its 2020 season because of the coronavirus.
“After careful consideration of public health guidelines and with the health and wellbeing of our audience members, patrons, artists, and staff in mind, we have made the painful decision to postpone our 2020 season,” said an email to subscribers.
“The curtain will not go up again until 2021, when we hope to present the originally scheduled 2020 programming — five mainstage plays featuring the reimagining of Ain’t Misbehavin’, five Script in Hand playreadings, and Family Festivities presentations for young audiences.”
The email from Mark Lamos, artistic director, and Michael Barker, managing director, said this is “a frightening and unnerving time for us all, especially for the Playhouse.”
It said the Playhouse has been forced to furlough half of its staff, and plans to bring them back when it comes time to produce the 2021 season.
The email said with no continuing revenue from ticket sales, “we cannot survive unless we raise $1.6MM between now and December 31, 2020. For those who are able, please make a donation to our Survival Fund.”
This year would have marked the historic, professional theater’s 90th season. Since its founding in 1931, the Playhouse has been closed for only four seasons, from 1942 through 1945, during World War II.