After much consideration and taking direction from the federal CDC, Maine CDC, Bowdoin College, and the Town of Brunswick in regard to the Covid-19 crisis, Maine State Music Theatre (MSMT) is saddened to announce the cancellation of its 2020 summer season.
For 62 years, MSMT has been an integral part of summer in the Midcoast, providing the public with Broadway-caliber performances that celebrate the magic and value of musical theatre, lift the collective mood of the region, and contribute to its shared economic health.
“The excellence of our history and all of the amazing people that have come before us to create this theatre weighs heavily on us at this time,” said Artistic Director Curt Dale Clark. “We are the current shepherds of MSMT and are responsible for protecting all that has transpired in the past. That said, we also have a responsibility to the present and the future. There is simply no path to safely execute our season while protecting our patrons, employees, and the Brunswick community.”
While other theatres might be able to reschedule shows for a future date, MSMT doesn’t have that option. The theatre only has access to the Pickard Theater on the Bowdoin College campus from June through August.
The timing of this decision also involves the uncertainty of when the Maine Center for Disease Control will deem it possible for the 200 performers, technicians and designers to begin production rehearsals under one roof, which typically starts in May long before the audience of 600 per show start attending performances in June.
“While we won’t have some of the production costs associated with producing shows on our stage, the preparation for these shows began a full 10 months ago,” explained Clark. “Meaning much of our yearly budget has already been spent with no means of earning the income we rely upon both for this year and for the upcoming 10 months of preparation for 2021.”
As a result of the lost revenues the cancellation brings, Clark hopes patrons will consider making a tax-deductible donation of their 2020 tickets or an additional charitable gift to support the MSMT Lifeline Fund – set up specifically to sustain the theatre during this challenging time.
Patrons with tickets to summer shows are asked to fill out the Ticket Return Form at www.msmt.org to expedite ticket donations and refunds.
After working through this unprecedented decision, which Clark admits will also be very hard on the many partner organizations and businesses that both support MSMT as sponsors, but also which benefit from the 60,000 plus theater-goers each summer, the theatre will turn its energy to the exciting 2021 Season planning already underway, with hopes of announcing the season line-up in late June.
MSMT is also implementing plans to help and give back to the community, including making masks for Mid Coast Hospital’s CHANS Home Health & Hospice patients and other local service agencies. MSMT is dedicating two employees for a limited time and recruiting volunteers to help with the project.
“We are very fortunate to have a network of talented volunteer stitchers to help us,” said Clark, “and we are so happy to be able to help.”
MSMT will continue to give up-to-date information on its social media channels and website at www.msmt.org