American Players Theatre cancels 2020 summer season

APT to launch play-reading series with PBS Wisconsin
American Players Theatre stage
Photo by Susan Weiand

The American Players Theatre is canceling its 2020 summer season, moving the 2020 productions to the 2021 season.

The company is hoping to produce the plays this fall if restrictions are lifted and it’s safe for patrons and the cast members, a release said.

“We worked really hard to remain flexible, because that is the only way to work these days, but it has become clear that we will not be able to produce the summer season as planned,” Artistic Director Brenda DeVita says. “This was the hardest decision of our lives. Words are at the heart of everything we do, yet I’m finding it nearly impossible to express how devastated we are as we contemplate a summer without nights in our theater in the woods. This is the only way to ensure that all of us – all of us – are back here, reunited next summer at APT.”

Managing Director Carrie Van Hallgren says 75% of the operating budget comes from earned income, so without audiences in 2020, the “financial hit to APT is simply unprecedented.”

APT and the APT Foundation is offering a dollar for dollar match up to $750,000 to encourage ticket buyers to convert the value of the tickets into tax-deductible donations.

Ticketholders can donate the full or partial value of the tickets back to the theater, keep the value on their account for use at a later date or receive a refund.

“Ironically, at a time when our need for connection and comfort and inspiration are greater than ever, we are, sadly, unable to be together,” DeVita says. “So I promise to you now, from the bottom of my heart, we will be together again. And we will sit under these stars, and we will laugh and cry and feel things together.”

To get your fill of APT while the season is canceled, they will be offering a play-reading series with PBS Wisconsin called “Out of the Woods, play reading performed and recorded live.”

The core acting company and other APT actors will be reading plays through Zoom. They will be streamed live and recorded by PBS Wisconsin. They will be free to view on pbswisconsin.org.

The will be posted at 7 p.m. on Fridays from June 5 to July 10. Some of the selections include “Julius Caesar,” “Arms and The Man” and “As You Like It.”

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