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Warren Gerds/Critic at Large: One year later in area entertainment: The land of the missing

Critic At Large

At least 1,031 productions scratched

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – A year ago this week, the coronavirus COVID-19 shut down live entertainment.

By my count for Northeastern Wisconsin, at least 1,031 productions and at least 3,291 public performances never happened since March 12, 2020. That doesn’t count club, casino or other engagements, so my numbers are mere shadows of the true clout.

Audiences missed oh so much.

People would have loved to see “Jimmy Buffet’s Margarittaville” or Reba McEntire or the Milwaukee Symphony or Art Garfunkel or Cher or many, many other name acts and events that were set in the region.

I most missed seeing the imaginative handiwork of local groups.

In the wings was The Machickanee Players of Oconto presenting “The Diary of Anne Frank.” A teenage girl’s story from 1940s Amsterdam, Holland, still resounds today.

I wanted to see another take on the infectious songs of ABBA that audiences love. Fond du Lac Community Theatre was in line to let go with “Mamma Mia!” one of the more popular shows in our region.

Box in the Wood Theatre Guild of Shawano was going to see how the quaint “up north” of “Almost, Maine” echoes on its similar turf.

Abrams Spotlight Productions was headed for a great big stretch, taking on the grit and grandeur of “My Fair Lady.”

Wolf River Theatrical Troupe of New London aimed to touch humor and heartstrings with “Steel Magnolias,” which is really about a brother’s love.

Theatre Z of greater Green Bay planned to take audiences back to Rome of the 1600s and an amazing female artist, Artemisia Gentileschi, in “It’s True, It’s True, It’s True.”

I was especially looking forward to seeing my favorite musical, “The Music Man,” which eventually is coming back to Broadway. I was eager to see how Oshkosh Community Players marched to “Seventy-Six Trombones” while blazing away with the “think system” of playing music.

I was eager to see many, many more shows in our talent-rich region.

But so many productions and performances never saw the light of day and became a daunting toll I keep track of in a weekly column on what shows lie ahead.

Impossible to count are all the people affected.

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