BRUNSWICK, Maine — Maine State Music Theatre announced Tuesday that it has canceled its 2020 season due to the coronavirus pandemic and the challenges it presents.
"There is simply no path to safely execute all that needs to transpire while
protecting our patrons, employees, and the community," Artistic Director Curt Dale Clark wrote in a release.
The theater, now in its 62nd year, presents Broadway-caliber performances to more than 65,000 patrons each year and employs more than 240 people, according to the release.
"We have heard from many about the ramifications of cancelling our season and the impact it will have on the town of Brunswick, midcoast Maine, and the state of Maine as a whole, and yet we feel that given the unknown and potentially disastrous possibilities in front of us we have an ethical obligation to protect the community," Clark wrote. "The [Maine] Center for Disease Control has clearly stated that large public gatherings will be the very last things allowed to come back. This community – Brunswick, Topsham, Bath, Harpswell, Freeport, Portland and all points Maine – as well as the many tourists who join us each summer have given us so much. It is our responsibility now to look out for them."
But Clark said the summer season generates nearly 80 percent of the theater's income, much of which has already been spent. In addition, costume rentals, which typically bring additional revenue, have ceased because other theaters have also canceled performances.
As a result, Clark wrote, "the only way we can produce our 2021 season and sustain MSMT for future generations is if we retain much of our current season ticket sales revenue in addition to securing additional funds."
"This summer – for the first time in our long history – the world will not allow our collective artistic endeavor but we will come back and MSMT will reward your continued loyalty next season in the biggest and best possible fashion," Clark wrote.