Playhouse Stage postpones remainder of summer productions to next season

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Playhouse Stage Company has announced the postponement of the remaining productions in their 32nd Season in light of complications and regulations around the COVID-19 pandemic. The company had previously cancelled its July production of Evita, and is now postponing productions of Matilda: The Musical, set to play at Park Playhouse in Albany, as well as Pippin and Alice in Wonderland, which were scheduled to play at Cohoes Music Hall. The schedule for the company’s 33rd Season, which will include these postponed productions alongside new titles, will be announced in July.

“Our hearts are heavy in delivering this news,” said Owen Smith, producing artistic director of Playhouse Stage. “We don’t just build a set, but rather create an entire theatre from scratch in Washington Park each summer. As the season has drawn closer, it is clear that we will not have the time we need to accomplish that task effectively, and we remain sensitive to the continued need for social distancing as well,” said Smith.

This will mark the first summer in 32 years in which the company won’t bring free musical theatre to Albany’s Washington Park. Playhouse management informed Mayor Kathy Sheehan of their planned postponements last week.

“It’s very unfortunate that Park Playhouse cannot bring free musical theatre to Washington Park for the first time in 32 years due to COVID-19,” said Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan. “The City’s and Park Playhouse’s main priority continues to be ensuring the health and safety of our residents and our community, and we look forward to the day where we can once again come together to enjoy the arts at the Lakehouse.”

Smith noted that the Playhouse is reviewing options for streaming or presenting public screenings of past musical productions. In addition, a dynamic alternative for the company’s summer education programs has been developed.

“While we may not be presenting public performances, we still intend to provide our students with an enriching summer theatre experience,” Smith noted. “Without the need to spend time rehearsing for a show, we can go even further in our educational process, focusing on the core theatrical techniques that will set these talented young performers up for future success.”

This summer’s camps will move online. The Playhouse’s 12-person summer faculty will provide interactive instruction in a wide variety of theatrical mediums, with each student receiving private voice lessons and multiple hours of song and monologue coaching each week.

“We are thrilled, this year, to give our students access to some of the biggest names on Broadway and in the entertainment industry through exclusive master classes,” Smith said.

This includes Tony Award-nominees Rob McClure (BeetlejuiceMrs. Doubtfire) and Laura Osnes (CinderellaSouth Pacific) teaching masterclasses, as well as an industry Q&A with Albany native and three-time Tony Award-nominee Carolee Carmello (Parade, Sweeney Todd). More than 15 Broadway artists have been engaged by the Playhouse.

“While this summer may look different than most,” Smith noted, “we are confident that we will continue to provide students with the best summer theatre experience that the Capital Region has to offer. Beyond that, we truly can’t wait to announce our next season, and get back on stage as soon as possible.”

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