Op/Ed: “For Many of Us, This 2019-2020 Season is Over”

KCRep: Dana Omar & Kyle Hatley in FRANKENSTEIN/Photo credit: Don Ipock

“On Thursday, March 12 at 10:43 a.m., the bottom fell out of my world. As the publicist for many of the pinnacle performing arts organizations in Kansas City, I joined with countless others within the arts community trying to make sense of Mayor Lucas’ proclamation forbidding gatherings of 1000 or more people. Is 600 still too many? Surely 250 won’t count. But with each subsequent proclamation, it became readily apparent that for many of us, this 2019-2020 season is over. Let me be clear: I, and everyone I work with, stand in complete support of these proclamations. His leadership and initiative are exactly what we need right now to help keep us healthy and safe. Our challenges arose as we all struggled to make the very difficult decisions in the days ahead. Decisions which now include:

*Kansas City Broadway Series has postponed all performances of Fiddler on the Roof and Aladdin.

*Kansas City Repertory Theatre has canceled its OriginKC New Works Festival world premieres of Frankenstein: A Ghost Story and Legacy Land as well as its final production of the season, Noises Off!

Dancers Whitney Huell, Liang Fu, and Lamin Pereira in Petal. Photo credit: Ali Fleming.

*Kansas City Ballet has rescheduled New Moves and canceled its spring program, Celts, and closed its school and the Bolender Center for Dance and Creativity.

*Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts has postponed several of its Kauffman Center Presents concerts and National Geographic Live Series and closed its building.

*Kansas City Symphony announced it is suspending all performances through May 10.

*Carlsen Center announced the cancellation of all performances through April 5.

*Lyric Opera of Kansas City canceled its last two performances of Lucia di Lammermoor and its final season production of The Shining.

*Heartland Men’s Chorus has postponed its spring performances of Smitten with Britain.

*But—in a rare bit of good news—Park International Center for Music is planning to simulcast a performance by concert pianist Behzod Abduraimov.

Mershon & McDonald: The spring arts season grinds to a halt. Photo by Ellen McDonald

My heart breaks when I think about all those performances that we won’t be able to
experience. Just when we need it the most. As we all struggle to wrap our heads around this ever-evolving new world, many are asking how they can help. It’s been deeply moving to hear so many Kansas Citians want to do what they can to help the artists and the arts survive. So, a few things to consider:

*Take care of yourself. Yes, wash those hands and practice social distancing. We need you, all of you: patrons, artists, staff behind the stage and in front of the theater.

Lyric Opera of Kansas City: Lucia di Lammermoor, Sarah Coburn/Photo credit: Karli Cadel

*If you have a ticket to a performance, ball, gala or other special event, please consider donating your ticket back to the arts organization. Ask anyone in the arts: ticket revenues are our lifeblood and every donation matters. Check with the arts organization about how best to make your donation.

*Many have had to cancel or reschedule their balls/galas or other fundraising events and are working to create them online. Nothing like a virtual auction to find some great bargains while supporting the organization. Kansas City Ballet’s The Black & White Soirée and KCRep’s The Cast Party Gala are working to create a virtual auction. Check with the arts organization for more details.

*And most importantly, come back. Come. Back. To. The. Theater. When this pandemic is all over (and yes, this too shall pass), we need to see you back in your seats. We will have something amazing to show you.”

—Ellen McDonald reps many of the metro’s arts organizations—including Carlsen Center, Kauffman Center, Kansas City Ballet, Kansas City Broadway Series, Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Heartland Men’s Chorus, Lyric Opera of Kansas City and Park International Center for Music, among others.

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