Weston Playhouse cancels summer season Intends to bring back three major productions in 2021

Susanna Gellert: ‘There are no simple answers.’ photo by Roxxe Ireland

By Cynthia Prairie
©2020 Telegraph Publishing LLC

The Weston Playhouse has canceled for the foreseeable future its summer theater season as well as all special events and concerts planned for the playhouse in downtown Weston and the nearby Walker Farm.

Susanna Gellert, the executive artistic director of the Weston Playhouse Theatre Company, announced Thursday that because of the Covid-19 pandemic, “The mandated guidelines necessary for keeping us safe and healthy have a deep impact on our theatre company and our role as a community arts center.”

“There are no simple answers,” she said in a statement, “We have had to come to grips with what this means for our summer season of plays and musicals.”

She said that the decisions were made with the safety of the theater patrons and the Weston community “foremost in mind.” She added that the concern extended to the WPTC’s “full-time staff and the dozens of artists” who perform in its season lineup.

WPTC began canceling events with in mid-March, with a concert by Upstate on March 14.  In an interview with The Telegraph at the time, Gellert said she was hoping to reopen for the Walker Farm concerts of Bob Stannard & Those Dangerous Bluesmen on April 18  and the Vermont Symphony’s Jukebox Quartet on April 24. But at the time she said she would re-evaluate.

The official theater season was to begin in mid-June  — as it usually does with a children’s performance. This year was Seussical at Walker Farm. It was to be followed in late June by Ring of Fire, the Johnny Cash story in music, at the Playhouse. In early July, Tiny Beautiful Things would have been performed at Walker Farm.

The much-anticipated Harvey Fierstein/Cyndi Lauper musical Kinky Boots had been set for late July through mid-August at the Playhouse. At around the same time, Songs for Nobodies, a one woman show highlighting the works of Judy Garland, Patsy Cline, Billie Holiday, Edith Piaf and Maria Callas was to take over Walker Farm and run to late August.

Steel Magnolias was to be performed at the Playhouse beginning Aug. 20. And An Iliad was set to round out the season performances on weekends at Walker Farm.

In the meantime, Gellert announced, Ring of Fire, Kinky Boots and Steel Magnolias would all be part of the 2021 season.

She also said that during the pandemic hiatus, the WPTC team will be working to develop new musicals and plays, concerts and events featuring Weston artists, with a close eye on reopening the Playhouse doors once the Covid-19 threat has passed.

As a press release stated, “For 84 years, Weston Playhouse Theatre Company has flourished as a home for exceptional theatre. Born during the Great Depression, it has withstood floods, fires, times of war, and hurricanes.”

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About the Author: Cynthia Prairie has been a newspaper editor more than 30 years. She has worked at such publications as the Raleigh Times, the Baltimore News American, the Buffalo Courier Express, the Chicago Sun-Times and the Patuxent Publishing chain of community newspapers in Maryland. She and her family moved to Chester, Vermont in 2004.

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