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Industry: Regional Theatres Prepare For Fallout From Mass Cancellations

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Industry: Regional Theatres Prepare For Fallout From Mass Cancellations

All across the country theatres are temporarily shutting their doors to prevent the spread of the virus. Regional theatres hosting everything from major titles like HAMILTON (both in Los Angeles and San Francisco) and CURSED CHILD to smaller non-profits like the Bay Area's Theatreworks are feeling the pressure. TheatreWorks cancelled their current production and their upcoming production of RAGTIME set to open next month.

Regional theatres who often rely on sales from one production to cover some costs to stage the next are dealing with the fallout of the limits on public gatherings. Major regional productions like Seattle's 5th Avenue's SISTER ACT and Chicago's upcoming production of BE MORE CHILL's sit down are cancelled indefinitely.

San Francisco's American Conservatory theatre announced it would cancel productions of Branden Jacobs-Jenkins's GLORIA and Lydia R. Diamond's TONI STONE.

Undeterred, the theatre found a streaming partner and the productions will go on for ticket buyers, but in the comfort of their own homes.

"[Audiences] will be provided exclusive access to a recording of the performance through a partner that will also allow them access to their extensive library of productions, ranging from Shakespearean classics to modern musicals and dramas. We are still working on bringing this all together, but ticket holders will receive an email from A.C.T. with directions on how to access the recording sometime next week."

Meanwhile in Portland, the FROZEN national tour, fresh off a huge west coast launch in Los Angeles has cancelled all remaining performances in the city through the end of the month. The production was expected to bring a large influx of visitors and a significant economic boost to Downtown Portland.

Portland's Mayor Ted Wheeler said the city would work to mitigate the economic losses to local businesses and a city task force would be established for that purpose.

In St. Louis the entire run of the National Tour of CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY was cancelled. Other cities cancelling national your engagements include Austin (currently home to ALADDIN), Baltimore (currently home to THE BAND'S VISIT), Columbus (currently home to MY FAIR LADY), Houston (currently home to FIDDLER ON THE ROOF), Kansas City (FIDDLER's next stop), and Orange County (currently home to A BRONX TALE).

The list is expected to grow over the coming days as a number of venues we spoke to today are currently monitoring the situation, with some currently between productions but expected to have a production begin performances in the coming weeks which may never go up on stage.

In Buffalo, performances of shows, the national tour of HELLO, DOLLY! and a local production of CURIOUS INCIDENT were cancelled. This also marked the end of the Dolly tour. Leading Lady Carolee Carmello took to social media to say "Although the ending was a surprise (thanks to virus) and tears were shed, I am truly grateful for this whole experience! What a joyous, beautiful show we brought around this country!"

Just two hours away in Toronto - Mirvish Productions is keeping things business as usual with one of just two productions of HAMILTON currently on stage in North America, down from the usual five. The company said "Like everyone, we are closely monitoring the reports of virus. We take our lead from Toronto Public Health (TPH), who are in constant consultation with their federal and provincial counterparts. At this time TPH has stated there is no evidence of community spread in Toronto."

BroadwayWorld will continue to follow this story.

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Photo: Portland's Keller Auditorium

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From This Author Alan Henry