Will the Show Go On This Summer for Upstate Theatres?

A Round-Up of Scheduled Summer Shows and Fall Openings!

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While many major arts organizations have shuttered their entire programming slates until Fall due to the Covid19 pandemic, a handful of theatres in the Upstate are crossing their fingers – but certainly without delusion – that the virus may go in remission in late summer.

And as a result of major cancellations, next year’s seasons may look very similar to this current season.

With Broadway shut down until the fall, The Peace Center’s entire touring network has canceled Donna Summer, Margaritaville, CATS, Jesus Christ Superstar and more. Audiences will have to click their ruby red slippers more than a few times in hopes that Wicked will still be in play in September. However, Boz Scaggs is still scheduled to perform in the great hall on July 26, and outdoor concerts are on the website for the TD Stage as early as June 20.

Greenville Theatre may still salvage The Producers this summer , though Guys & Dolls is still listed for September on their website. And Centre Stage is holding out hopes for its marvelously-cast 9 to 5: The Musical on July 16th, with Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story nowlaunching their fall season on September 10th, and Godspell being resurrected for the 2021-2022 season. Both organizations are regularly producing content on social media, and Centre Stage has even set up a sister page Centre Stage At Intermission.

Abbeville Opera House will launch The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe on July 31, and Foothills Playhouse in Easley plans to open August 13-30 with The Wizard of Oz.

Spartanburg Little Theatre is hedging is bets on Heathers: The Musical on August 14-23 at the Chapman Cultural Center, a 500-seat theatre. And the big-budget sure-fire hit Sister Act (the original 2020 spring show) now opens the company’s 75th season in September, along with the re-scheduled gala A Night at Studio. SLT does perform virtual concerts every weekday with other groups at the Chapman Cultural Center including Ballet Spartanburg and Spartanburg Philharmonic.

Proud Mary Theatre Company in Spartanburg is prepared, “if conditions and sentiment allow,” to open Sordid Lives by Del Shores August 14-23 in the Solomon Gallery (formerly the sanctuary) at the Artists Collective Spartanburg, at a fraction of capacity with social distancing guidelines.

“Everyone involved in this project is aware that Tammy Wynette may or may not perform this summer,” said Sandy Staggs, Artistic Director, referring to the character Brother Boy, played by Leslie Jordan in the film, and Spartanburg actor Scott Waddell in this production. “The safety and well-being of our cast, team, staff and patrons always overrides any performance decisions.”

Proud Mary Theatre also produces biweekly readings of new play in its Brand Spanking New Play series and will open season four in October for the 20th anniversary production of The Laramie Project.

The Mill Town Players have scrapped all theatrical programming until October 16 with opening of the Southern comedy The Red Velvet Cake War. More info is available at www.milltownplayers.org

Glow Lyric Theatre axed its entire 10th anniversary summer season (Aida, Tosca, and Showboat) until next July, but is quite active on social media with Glow Online, a series that features three different weekly programs- a Vlogcast, a Live Reunion show streaming on Facebook, and of course, the extension and continuation of our Tues/Thurs Couch Concerts.

“We are hoping that these new programs will help our audiences stay connected to Glow now and through the summer, since we’ve postponed our season,: says Jenna Tamisiea Elser, co-founder of Glow. More info can be found at  https://glowlyric.com/glow-online/

The Market Theatre Company is ready to start rehearsals of Matilda at a moment’s notice and has shifted other high-profile shows such as Mamma Mia! to 2021 and Putnam Spelling Bee, A Streetcar Named Desire, and 24 Hour Musical are in TBD status. However, SHAKESPEARE IN THE PARK has been tentatively scheduled for September 17-20. Some spots for SUMMER CAMP may also be available at  www.markettheatre.org/camp.

“We are dedicated to producing all of these shows, as they were carefully selected to bring joy, entertainment, and artistic quality to our stage. Although the timeline may change dramatically from what we originally envisioned, we will be back as soon as possible!” The Market said in a statement on Facebook.

The Warehouse Theatre halted production during Hedwig and the Angry Inch, and has since had to cancel 100 Saints You Should Know and Appropriate, in addition to the entire Upstate Shakespeare Festival season of Othello and Love’s Labour’s Lost. The Warehouse rebounds on September 18 with The Taming, the company’s second excursion into playwright Lauren Gunderson.

Greenwood Community Theatre was forced to pull the plug on Emerald City and The Wizard of Oz and is closed until further notice.

The Flat Rock Playhouse has shifted almost its entire 2020 season to 2021. Electric City Playhouse has also canceled all three of its remaining 2019-20 shows and is now focused on assembling a stellar 2020-21 season. Likewise for Clemson Little Theatre, which is returning on September 6 with Four Weddings and an Elvis.

Gaffney Theatre is conducting Virtual Summer Camps for now and hoping to re-schedule its The Odd Couple (Female Edition) with Lori Lee and Jada Lashay Bell in the fall.

College theatre seasons have been entirely eliminated or shortened to approachable works with smaller groups and possibly no audiences. While others such as Furman have announced titles and a “flexible” calendar plan with alternates in place.

In addition, a group of community theatres have banded together as the Curtains Up Coalition to support theatre work in your community and provide virtual content.

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