Ogunquit Playhouse Executive Artistic Director Brad Kenney Announces
Cancelation of the 2020 Season
By Bobby Franklin
I have been reviewing shows at the Ogunquit Playhouse since 2014, and have been attending performances since well before that. The Playhouse has aways held a special place in my heart with its wonderful staff, incredible productions, and the warmth of all who are involved which includes all of its supporters.
The Playhouse is as much a part of Ogunquit as the ocean. Brad Kenney has been nothing short of spectacular since taking over as Executive Artistic Director in 2005. Not only has he brought in the best talent and productions, he has also built a community around the Playhouse that is nothing short of a very large and happy family. I know this has to be very hard on Brad and is a time of great sadness for him and all those involved with the Playhouse.
While I know he is on the ropes right now, with the support of the Ogunquit Playhouse Community Brad will bring the lights back on next year and soar to new heights.
Please considering sending a contribution to help them weather this storm. This is a difficult and sad time for the theatre community, for Ogunquit, and for our nation. We will get through this.
Statement from the Ogunquit Playhouse:
Following guidelines released this week by Governor Janet Mills in response to the reopening of Maine’s businesses, and responding to the safety challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic and COVID19, Ogunquit Playhouse has announced that it will halt productions on all scheduled 2020 shows at its historic theatre and cancel its 88th season. Ogunquit Playhouse has not gone dark for a season since World War II.
Ogunquit Playhouse leadership reached the difficult conclusion that it must cancel its highly anticipated lineup of shows slated for its stage this season, with the hope of moving them to a future season. The decision comes after weeks of careful deliberation, extensive revisions to the season’s budgets and show schedules, and thoughtful health and safety planning to protect staff, crew, volunteers, visiting artists and patrons.
The historic non-profit theatre relies on the sale of tickets for 80% of its operating budget, and the cancellation of the 88th season will have a profound financial impact on Ogunquit Playhouse. Despite drastic cost-cutting measures, the Playhouse will incur financial damages exceeding $3 million. Its focus now will turn to raising funds to ensure the financial viability of the Playhouse and to carrying on its mission.
“Our commitment to the health and safety of our staff, artists, and audiences is our top priority. Although this decision is difficult and heartbreaking, we understand its necessity and are willing to do our part to stop this pandemic. Although we have cancelled our main stage productions, we will continue our mission of providing artistic content—in many new ways this year, while also focusing on raising needed funds and planning for an extraordinary 2021 season. Everyone at the Playhouse was excited and honored to be presenting these exceptional titles this season. Our hearts are with all the artists, actors, craftspeople, our seasonal staff and crew, who are severely impacted by these upheavals to their professional lives and livelihoods. While the months ahead still hold much uncertainty, it is our mission to be here for future generations and to preserve this beloved historic theatre, and we will do just that. Ogunquit Playhouse has weathered many storms for nearly a century and together we will emerge from this crisis, and look forward to brighter days, when we gather again at the Ogunquit Playhouse,” stated Bradford Kenney, Ogunquit Playhouse Executive Artistic Director.
This closure also disrupts the surrounding business community that depend on the theatre as a major economic driver in the region. Over 120,000 ticket buyers visit the Playhouse each season, and in turn patronize regional restaurants, hotels, and retail establishments.
Public support in this time of global health and economic crisis will help ensure that Ogunquit Playhouse continues to share transformative and entertaining shows, new works and world premieres on its historic stage for future generations.
For more information on how to contribute and to stay connected during the coming year, visit www.ogunquitplayhouse.org.
About Ogunquit Playhouse: Ogunquit Playhouse, is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization listed on the National Historic Register. Its mission is to produce world-class performances, and new works, and preserve the historic playhouse for future generations. The theatre is located on Route One in Ogunquit, Maine and produces the finest Broadway shows each season. It also produces an annual holiday show at The Music Hall in Portsmouth, NH in late November and December. Follow Ogunquit Playhouse on Twitter (@OgunquitPH) and on Facebook (facebook.com/OgunquitPlayhouse) for behind-the-scenes info, photos and fun throughout the season. For more information visit www.ogunquitplayhouse.org.