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The Season is Canceled, But the Show Must Go On: Winter Park Playhouse Artistic Director Talks Theater During the Pandemic

Photo: Kyle Head
Photo: Kyle Head

The Winter Park Playhouse announced this week it has canceled its 2020 season. All six previously scheduled musicals will now run from January through December 2021. 

90.7 WMFE spoke with artistic director Roy Alan about their new normal during the pandemic. 

Read excerpts from the conversation below. 

Tell me about the decision to cancel the 2020 season. 

Well, it's a very difficult time for all theaters right now. Everybody is closed down. Broadway is closed down. At one point Broadway was going to go back in September and then they pushed it back to January now. And we tend to follow what they do in New York. We take their lead.

What's been the response from frequent audience members? 

They are very positive responses. A lot of people have said, 'thank you for being leaders in the community and thinking of our safety before your dollars'.

How will next year's season feel and look different? 

Even before we come back, we're looking at doing some virtual entertainment during the fall. Possibly some cabarets that people would be able to purchase a ticket and then get a one-use-only code to be able to view it online for a few days.

What can fans look forward to in January? 

The first one starting in January "A Grand Night for Singing" is a tribute to all of the music of Rodgers and Hammerstein. We did the show about ten years ago in our small space, in our first theater that we opened. And it was a huge hit. The music is gorgeous. The arrangements are amazing.

How has the pandemic changed the way the theater does business? 

Some of the good things that have happened is that people are really coming to us and saying, 'thank you for being who you are and running your business the way you do. And caring so much about us as individuals and about us as people'.

Listen to the full conversation by clicking on the clip at the top of the page.

Danielle Prieur covers education in Central Florida.