Subscribers to the Westport Country Playhouse just received this message from artistic director Mark Lamos, and managing director Michael Barker:
The view from our windows seems normal; spring and warmer days are arriving. But the world has been upended. And as with our personal lives, the public face of the Playhouse must pause, too.
After careful consideration of public health guidelines and with the health and well-being of our audience members, patrons, artists, and staff in mind, we have made the painful decision to postpone our 2020 season.
The curtain will not go up again until 2021, when we hope to present the originally scheduled 2020 programming: 5 mainstage plays featuring the re-imagining of Ain’t Misbehavin’, 5 Script in Hand play readings, and Family Festivities presentations for young audiences. We also look forward to once again giving the gift of time and space to playwrights, directors, and casts in our New Works Initiative.
This is a frightening and unnerving time for us all, especially for the Playhouse. We have been forced to furlough half of our staff, and plan to bring them back when it comes time produce the 2021 season.
It is our goal for their health insurance to continue without interruption. In addition, we have applied for government loans through the CARES Act. However, with no continuing revenue from ticket sales, we cannot survive unless we raise $1.6 million between now and December 31. For those who are able, please make a donation to our Survival Fund.
Those of you who have tickets to 2020 events will be receiving a separate email this week with instructions on how to donate the value of your tickets, receive a credit for future events, or request a refund.
Our stage may be dark and we must remain physically distant, but we can still be #TogetherAtHome. We are planning to stay connected, living room to living room, in the upcoming months, beginning this Friday, April 17, with our first livestream event, “Getting to Know You: A Celebration of Young Artists” with Tony Award-winning Broadway star Kelli O’Hara.
To our loyal audiences, supporters, and art makers: For nearly 90 years, the Playhouse has been dedicated to bringing theater to the stage and being a central provider to our community. Live theater is special, and we all experience it together — hearing the same words, feeling the same current when actors eyes connect, sitting in the same velvet seats. And, with your help, we look forward to another 90!