Local Theatre Performances Canceled, Postponed Amid Coronavirus Fears

UWS musical 'Company,' Duluth Playhouse musical 'Spamalot' among canceled productions

SUPERIOR, Wis. – All Broadway shows have been canceled for the next month because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Now, local theatre performances are being canceled and postponed at universities and other venues in the Twin Ports.

Theatre performances require months of work from dozens of cast and crew members.

Because of COVID-19, current productions are shutting down, some before they’ll ever be seen by an audience.

The University of Wisconsin-Superior musical, Company, was scheduled to open March 27th.

“In my many years of professional theatre and being here twenty years, I have never canceled an entire run of a show,” said theatre professor Cathy Fank.

But cancel the show is exactly what university administration and the theatre program decided to do.

“We wanted to make sure that everyone was safe. And this was the right decision,” said Jeff Madison, the stage director of Company.

Madison says his cast had rehearsed for three-and-a-half hours a night since early February.

When the cancellation was broken to them Thursday night, it was an emotional scene.

“I won’t lie, there were a lot of tears,” said Fank. “But then they got up and did a tribute to the play they have worked on and they closed it out by singing and dancing.”

The show was supposed to be the first of a four-year collaboration between the UWS music and theatre programs.

Even though it will no longer be performed publicly, Madison says he has a profound appreciation for everybody’s work.

“On one hand, we didn’t finish the race, but we ran most of it and we ran it together,” he explained. “And as heartbreaking as it is, all that work wasn’t gone to waste, we just didn’t get to share it.”

Meanwhile, the University of Minnesota Duluth has announced all March performances by its School of Fine Arts have now been canceled.

“Given the fact that the theatre involves gathering people in very close quarters and large numbers of people, they thought it was best to go ahead and cancel instead of potentially putting people at risk,” said UMD Chancellor Lendley Black.

University administration is meeting regularly and is keeping in touch with state and federal officials.

They will monitor how things develop before making a decision to cancel or move forward with April and May events.

The Duluth Playhouse has postponed multiple performances over the next month, including Monty Python’s Spamalot at the NorShor Theatre.

Staff tell us tickets sold to the productions will be honored at later dates, which are yet to be determined.

Playhouse patrons can also donate tickets back to the theatre, exchange them for another upcoming performance, or request a refund.

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