EVERETT — Amid show cancellations due to COVID-19, Village Theatre has announced the postponement of its 2020-2021 season.
The lineup will still be “Mamma Mia!,” “Hello, Dolly!,” “Deathtrap,” “Making Tracks” and “Ain’t Misbehavin” — but the timeline is at the mercy of the pandemic.
Village Theatre at Everett Performing Arts Center must wait until Snohomish County is OK’d to enter Phase 4 of the governor’s reopening plan to commence with next season.
The 2020-2021 season was originally scheduled to run November through July in Everett, but because of COVID-19, the soonest Village now expects to hold performances here is June 2021.
“Because singing is a ‘super spreader’ of droplets carrying the virus, social distancing of audience members is not enough to keep everyone safe, including performers,” said Village Theatre spokesman Frank Stilwagner in a news release. “Other performing arts groups have come to similar conclusions.”
The season kicks off with the fan favorite “Mamma Mia!,” a jukebox musical filled with ABBA hits.
When Sophie is due to be married, she wants her dad to walk her down the aisle. The only problem is she doesn’t know who he is. After inviting all three of her mom’s old boyfriends to attend the wedding, things heat up at their already sizzling Grecian getaway.
The title of the musical is taken from ABBA’s 1975 chart-topper “Mamma Mia.”
Another fan favorite, “Hello, Dolly!” will follow. The smash hit is based on the play “The Matchmaker.”
Strong-willed Dolly is the ideal matchmaker — she has marriage on her mind, and a recipe for love in her pocket. But she may have met her match when a grouchy half-a-millionaire enters the scene, looking for the perfect bride.
“Deathtrap,” Broadway’s longest-running comedy thriller, is the next in line. The play was written by the author of “The Stepford Wives.”
A hit playwright, Sidney is out of ideas and would kill to get back on top. When he receives a script from a former student, he realizes he has a guaranteed success in his hands. With the tantalizing prospect of taking it for his own, no one can predict where the dark events of the night will go.
“Making Tracks,” a favorite from Village Theatre’s 2001-2002 season, opens next.
The story follows a young Asian-American as he experiences his family’s six generation struggle to find a voice in America, inheriting the spirits of those who came before him. For this production, the musical’s team will revisit the script to update and acknowledge the injustices and conversations in the U.S. today.
The season concludes with “Ain’t Misbehavin’,” the winner of the 1978 Tony Award for Best Musical.
Not only is this musical a celebration of jazz icon Fats Waller, but it also pays homage to the black musicians of the Harlem Renaissance from the 1920s to the 1940s. Featured songs include “Honeysuckle Rose,” “I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter,” “Black and Blue,” and, of course, “Ain’t Misbehavin’.”
Season tickets for all five shows are $130-$390. Go to www.villagetheatre.org/everett/subscribe.php or call 425-257-8600 for more information. Performances will be 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturdays and 2 and 7 p.m. Sundays at Everett Performing Arts Center, 2710 Wetmore Ave., Everett.
Three musicals canceled this season
Three musicals from Village Theatre’s 2019-2020 season have been canceled because of the pandemic. This includes all performances of “Hansel & Gretl & Heidi & Günter” and “The Wedding Singer,” as well as the last two weeks of “She Loves Me.”
“They might appear in a later season, but we’re not looking to bring them back in lieu of doing the season we’ve announced,” Stilwagner told The Daily Herald.
Subscribers may donate the value of their tickets back to Village Theatre or receive a credit on their account that may be applied to the 2020-2021 season. Call the box office 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday at 425-257-8600 to go over your options.
Season ticket holders for 2020-2021 shows will have their order automatically updated to reflect next season’s postponement. An email has been sent to all subscribers that further explains these changes.
176 staff laid off or furloughed
Perhaps more painful than canceling three shows, Village Theatre has had to lay off or furlough 176 employees because of COVID-19.
Nineteen staffers are working reduced hours and 10 are operating on salaries reduced by 10 to 30%, with higher-paid positions taking larger percentage pay cuts.
This the first time in its 41-year history that Village Theatre has undergone layoffs.
“It’s very sad,” Stilwagner said. “We’re all going through a mourning period right now. We really want to be producing theater — that’s why we all do what we do — actors, directors, designers, costumers.”
Although the Everett Performing Arts Center is shuttered, Village Originals and Village Kidstage are still up and running.
Village Originals has supported the development of more than 150 new musicals, including “Next to Normal,” “Million Dollar Quartet,” “It Shoulda Been You,” “Desperate Measures” and “Lizzie.” Employees are working remotely to prepare for the next Festival of New Musicals, which has been postponed to 2021.
Village Kidstage — which serves more than 5,000 students per year — has moved online with Zoom classes and camps for youth ages 4 to 20. With the launch of “Zoom into Summer,” Village Theatre has served 565 students so far, with a month of classes still on the schedule. Go to www.villagekidstage.org for more information.
Stilwagner said the staffing and salary cuts were made so the theater company can be viable when it’s safe to start producing again. He said they’re all thankful to the 18,000 subscribers and 210,000 or so in the audience per season who continue to offer their support — and are banking on the fact that Village Theatre performances will return.
“The theater is not going away,” Stilwagner said. “We’re going to be there, we’re going to be read to open, and we’ll be as strong as ever when we can.”