LOS ANGELES: Center Theatre Group has announced the postponement of its 54th season (previously referred to as its 2020-21 season) until April 2021.
“It is with great sadness that we have reached a point where it is simply impossible for us to envision safely returning to the Ahmanson, Taper, and Douglas until spring of next year,” said artistic director Michael Ritchie in a statement. “Since we first announced our closure during the initial wave of the pandemic, we have been tirelessly working through every possible scenario for reopening, all the while ensuring that the health and safety of our audiences, artists and staff were our top priority. Ultimately it became clear to us, and to many touring productions scheduled to play the Ahmanson, that there is no way to be certain that such safety could exist earlier than next year.”
The season was scheduled to see productions of The Lehman Trilogy, Dear Evan Hansen, Les Misérables, and Hadestown fill out the early season lineup of CTG’s Ahmanson Theatre. Those productions have been postponed. New dates for the CTG production of Slave Play, which was to be the regional premiere of the Jeremy O. Harris Broadway debut, as well as the remainder of the Taper Forum and Douglas Theatre seasons, have not been announced, though the expectation is for both seasons to resume in spring 2021.
The adjusted season is slated to open with To Kill a Mockingbird (April 29-June 6, 2021).
Next will be Come From Away (June 9-20, 2021), with book, music, and lyrics by Irene Sankoff and David Hein. The production, directed by Christopher Ashley, will have a shortened run from its previously announced close date of July 4, 2021. Kelly Devine will handle the musical staging.
The Prom (July 6-Aug. 8, 2021), with book by Bob Martin and Chad Beguelin, music by Matthew Sklar, and lyrics by Beguelin, will take the stage next. Casey Nicholaw will direct and choreograph.
The final production with new dates in place will be Ain’t Too Proud—The Life and Times of The Temptations (Aug. 11-22, 2021), with book by Dominique Morisseau and music and lyrics from the legendary Motown catalog. Des McAnuff will direct and Sergio Trujillo will choreograph. Like Come From Away, Ain’t Too Proud will see a shortened run from its previously announced Sept. 5 closing date.
Reopening on April 29, 2021 will mean CTG will have been dark for 56 weeks. According to their release, the extended dark period will result in losses of approximately $40 million in ticket revenue and it has led to a 65 percent cut in CTG’s operating budget. The percentage of full-time staff on furlough will also increase from 50 percent to 60 percent of pre-pandemic staffing being furloughed as a result of the dark period.
CTG has launched the Art Goes On: Emergency Giving Fund to collect donations to support the organization, with the theatre’s board matching all donations up to $500,000 (deadline of June 30). CTG is also committed to continuing online programming, including digital courses serving students, artists, and adult learners.
“I could never have imagined such an extended period where Los Angeles would be without the ability to gather as a community and experience the transformative power of theatre,” said Ritchie in his statement. “This is painful not only to hundreds of our staff members and artists, but also to the tens of thousands of Angelenos we proudly serve each year, both from our stages and throughout our communities. We are continuing to find hope and inspiration in our online programs, which include virtual education initiatives and our Art Goes On Project, with more to come. I am confident that we can return safely to the stage with this new schedule and, should health officials become more optimistic about a safe timeline to resume large gatherings, we will work as quickly and safely as possible to return to the stage sooner.”