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Warren Gerds/Critic at Large: Coronavirus putting the hurt on Northeastern Wisconsin arts entities


Messages are telling

Message on theater marquee in Sturgeon Bay. (Third Avenue Playhouse)


The people who entertain and elevate Northeastern Wisconsin through live performance are frustrated.

Their feelings ooze through messages they have been sending to patrons – and anybody who will listen – by way of emails and individual websites.

Every entity has had to toss out its schedule because of the invasion of the coronavirus COVID-19.

Each decision causes a ripple in a pond – radiating and affecting scores of people putting on a production and then scores and likely hundreds and sometimes thousands of people who would have come to see the production.

Now, take all the entities and put their ripples together in one pond, and that water is awash with angst, agony and sorrow.

Door Shakespeare notes “this unique and untested time” in telling of a shuffling of its season in Door County.

Echoing many others, Daddy D Productions show troupe of Green Bay “cares deeply about the safety and security of our patrons, performers and venues, and is ‘on-board’ the effort to contain the spread…”

… “as we all try to navigate these times together” Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra says, in essence continuing the sentence…

… that could go on with Birch Creek Music Performance Center of Door County saying, “We are hopeful with everyone taking precautions, COVID-19 will have run its course before our season begins…”

… and perhaps end with Birder Studio of Performing Arts and Birder Players of De Pere saying they “hope wherever you are in the world you are safe, you are healthy and you know we stand ready to bring the joy of entertainment back to your life when the time is right.”

Messages come one after another:

“In the hardest of times, we look to one another to find new sources of resilience and inspiration,” says Third Avenue Playhouse in Sturgeon Bay.

“The arts are ‘ground zero’ of the resurrection of spirit and community,” says The Grand Oshkosh. “When the crisis is over, our role is to be ready to lead the celebration, to provide the opportunities for us to be together again… even as we are prepared to ‘wait out’ the summer if needed.”

The Weidner Center for the Performing Arts in Green Bay says, “(Like) so many of you, we are now in the midst of quiet. And waiting… But mostly we will be preparing and waiting for your return.”

The Forst Inn Arts Collective of Tisch Mills says, “It is difficult to predict when the situation will change sufficiently for us to freely open our doors again…  it is hard to know where the other end of the journey lies.”

Rogue Theatre of Sturgeon Bay says, “We truly miss being on stage and performing for our audiences.”

Capitol Civic Centre in Manitowoc says, “Our curtain is down for the time being. We’re all facing challenges, many of these being unprecedented. However, there is solace in the fact that we are in good company in doing what is necessary for the public good.”

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